socialnet - Das Netz für die Sozialwirtschaft

ESPANET Europe 2022

Kongress, Tagung

  • 14.–16.09.2022
  • A Wien
  • University of Vienna Department of Sociology
  • Infos beim Veranstalter
  • 350,00 EUR weitere Preise verfügbar; Anmeldungen ab 16. Mai 2022 möglich

Call for Papers

Frist: 04.04.2022

Stream 33: Social Work and Social Policy in the Welfare State

Gal, John (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), johngal30@gmail.com

Weiss-Gal, Idit (Tel Aviv University)

In recent years, the discourse on the role of social workers in the formulation of social policy has developed significantly, particularly within Europe. This is based on a growing recognition that social workers do more than just implement policies but can, and do, become policy actors. Drawing upon theories and knowledge in social work, political science, sociology and public administration, scholars have developed innovative theoretical and conceptual frameworks to understand why, when and how social workers engage in policy-related activities. They have also sought to understand the various routes that members of the profession, which is that most identified with the welfare state, take to impact social policy. These can relate to the activities of street-level bureaucrats and entrepreneurs, the role of social workers in managerial roles in state or non-state agencies, and the engagement of social workers in voluntary political activity or serving in elected offices. Much of this effort is based upon ever-more sophisticated empirical data and diverse methodologies. Alongside efforts within the profession to encourage social workers to engage in policy-related activity, this discourse is rapidly placing the policy role of social workers on central stage and is offering a solid empirical and theoretical foundation for it.
The goal of this stream is to encourage scholars from different countries and diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives to exchange ideas and conceive additional challenges in this research agenda. It is open to scholars from within social work and from other disciplines who seek to present the findings of empirical studies or to discuss theoretical or conceptual models that shed light on this type of activity.
Abstracts relating to studies on the role of social workers in the policy process ranging from the street-level, through local government, non-state welfare organizations, professional organizations, state bureaucracies and agencies and to elected or appointed officials are welcome.

Stream 35: Social Work Affecting Policy Change: Comparing Strategies and Practices of Social Workers' Policy Engagement

Kindler, Tobias (Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences)
Nothdurfter, Urban (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano), urban.nothdurfter2@unibz.it

Social work is rooted in social reform movements and has emerged from long processes of policy making creating those institutional contexts that determine the scope and content of social work practice in different welfare regimes. In this sense, social work has always been applied social policy and social workers have always been part of policy processes.
Today, the international definition of social work as well as diverse national codes of ethics stress the strong link between social work and policymaking and call upon social workers to actively engage in policy processes.
Despite this historical and ethical foundation, international scholarship on this connection is still in a nascent stage. Existing research on the role of social work in policy making has mainly been focused on the role of social workers in the street-level delivery of policies analysing their implementation behaviour and use of frontline discretion.
In line with the overall theme of the conference, this stream focuses on the role of social work in social policy making and change (also) beyond implementation and brings together contributions on strategies and practices of social workers’ policy engagement (in their professional role, as activists and citizens) in a broader sense. Papers in this stream are expected to cover one of the following questions (not conclusive):

· What expertise can social workers contribute to policy making processes?

· What strategies do social workers apply to affect policy making?

· Why do social workers engage in policy making?

· How effective do social workers participate in policy processes?

· How do different routes of social workers’ policy engagement (e.g., policy practice, voluntary political participation) influence each other?

· What role do social work professional associations play in policy processes?

· What can be learned by comparing different national policy engagement patterns of social workers?

Social Policy Change between Path Dependency and Innovation

ESPAnet's 20th Anniversary ConferenceThe pandemic, the crisis in many geopolitically diverse areas and the resulting migration flows, environmental and economic changes extend the range of social challenges to be faced by  welfare states. We can observe several paths of change and adaptations that differ across countries, territories and policy fields.


University of Vienna Department of Sociology
Rooseveltplatz 2
A 1090 Wien (Vienna)