Il cambiamento del clima, la svolta della crescita, i cambiamenti demografici, la crisi mondale economica e finanziaria nonché le esigenze di sostenibilità rendono necessari degli approcci di soluzione innovativi per problemi finora sconosciuti. Autori dalla Danimarca, Norvegia, Polonia, Germania, Svizzera, Austria e Italia si occupano in questo libro di democratizzazione, innovazione sociale e partecipazione, considerando particolarmente i gruppi svantaggiati. Questo sguardo internazionale analizza due regioni geograficamente e politicamente esplosive: i paesi islamici, il Kazachistan e la Georgia.
In this article, I first want to ask what the self-made barriers of the profession to the engagement for social justice are, because there is a chance that self-made barriers can be moved away. Then I shall discuss definitions of social justice relating to the individual, community/societal and transnational level, starting with John Rawls and his critiques. And in the third part of my presentation I shall illustrate these definitions with projects on each social level realized between 2002 and 2010 in the master of social work in Berlin defining Social Work as Human Rights profession (see the UN-Manual about Social Work and Human Rights of 1992; Ife, 2001, Reichert, 2007 & Staub-Bernasconi, 2007).
Facing the different challenges of the modern world – economical, social, political, environmental – it could seem that the world stands in need of a new story, narrative or anything, that could, with the words of the late French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, bridge the gap between reality and understanding. Without such a story, we would be vulnerable to those who wish to take advantage of the chaos for their own purpose. With a new perspective on the issues, the world starts to make sense again. This is also true with regard to the problems that are faced by democracy today, and especially when it comes to the question: What is true democracy? Such a narrative has to begin with the question of how we understand the human being; or rather with the different ways that being human can be understood. The full meaning of the words crises and challenges becomes clear only on these premises. Conversely it is also true that if we propose a solution that involves a narrowing of the understanding of the human being, the solution would probably create new or even bigger problems than the difficulties they in the first place were intended to solve. This paper narrows the bridge between reality and understanding by presenting some reflections on participatory democracy understood in a general and theoretical way. And it does so by setting forward a conception of the human mind – which I call the human principle – that in some way hints at the meaning of the notion of participatory democracy and suggests a solution of the problems that this concept today implies and a possible opening for a new way forward in order to try to solve them. The paper is divided in four parts. The first and second part lay down the fundament for the human principle in participatory democracy by confronting representative and participative democracy on the issue of freedom. This principle is explained in the third part. From this principle the paper finally deduces some practical consequences as to how to realize participatory democracy.
Democracy and Social Development in the Islamic World
The events and upheavals in the context of the so-called Arab Spring have again raised the question whether Islam and (occidental) Democracy are compatible. In a review of the history the essay explores the complex and conflictual encounter between the Western and the Islamic Culture. The specifically Western concept of utopian idea has obviously no tradition in Islam. Cultural and political change is often interpreted and considered as dangerous secularism. A kind of model could be the secular vision of an Islamic state, such as Turkey. But this model became, however, recently disturbed by islamistic tendencies. The distorted perceptions – in both the Western and the Islamic World – are in fact responsible that is has not yet been any significant progress in this specific intercultural dialogue.
Language and Power in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan: A Social Work Educational Experience
The authors examine their experiences with Kazakhstani social work education. Key elements discussed include the history of Kazakhstani culture, language and family life; the view that the classroom is a microcosm of the larger society; and the role of language dominance in the Kazakhstani classroom. Three concepts from Paulo Freire’s critique of education, i.e., culture of silence, banking concept of education, and conscientização (critical consciousness) are explored as a means of supporting Kazakhstani social work students in their development of critical thinking, in finding their voice and acting on their beliefs. Finally, implications are discussed for international social work education.
From Object to Subject – Paradigm Shifts Towards User Participation in Social Work Research
The development of social work as a profession and as an academic discipline is intricately bound up with the project of modernity and therefore with the ambiguity of furthering personal liberty on the one hand and increasing the technical means of controlling and oppressing people on the other. The natural science paradigm in knowledge production bears the hallmark of this ambiguity and social work as an academic discipline needs to be safeguarded against uncritical knowledge production geared solely at increasing the efficiency of interventions. Contemporary epistemological discourses, critical of reductionist positivism and advocating instead reflexive and inter-subjective forms of knowledge production, give social work the opportunity to contribute towards socially accountable modes of knowledge production from the rich experience of its history in which both sides of modernity were featured. It can thereby gain recognition in the wider academic community and amongst professions for its leaning towards participative forms of knowledge and community building..
In today’s society, which is characterized by the pervasiveness of information, it is essential to encourage everyone to develop active competences to access the resources that are available on the Web. The active access is intended on the one hand to develop the creative, metacognitive and critical thinking skills that are necessary to manage the lifelong learning process actively, and on the other hand to implement opportunities to participate effectively in democratic life, which is essential to build a profile of active and responsible citizenship with regards to the various contexts of real and digital life. From this point of view, the access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) assumes a key role for every user, including the ones with disability problems. Through digital technologies people with any disability can improve their chances to have access to products, services and environments that may represent real opportunities to develop their life plan and, therefore, they become enabling opportunities. Consequently, this makes it even more evident that e-learning is a strategic resource to try to fill the distances represented by obstacles set by the traditional educational and informational methods. The products, services and learning paths that are characterized by Web access must be designed in order to be able to be used and managed in an open and inclusive way, taking into consideration all the different special needs of every single person. This design must go beyond the technological standards identified so far, in order to include the pedagogical and methodological aspects necessary to develop a range of courses aiming at providing everyone with opportunities for a “barrier-free” access to the available resources.
Internet, Social Welfare and Participatory Democracy
Social welfare in Poland has been changing since its transition to market economy started in 1989. Currently, over two million people benefit from a variety of social support, mostly financial aid. The dynamic development of ICT has significant impact on forms of services offered by social assistance centers. Our study conducted in 2011 and 2012 showed that the use of new ICT tools in social assistance centers is increasing. First of all, they may be used to inform customers about the possibility of obtaining cash benefits. However, communication with customers in other cases is of formal, bureaucratic, one-sided and adverse. We analysed documents located on official Web sites of social assistance centers, using the Gunning Fog Index. The language of these documents is legal and very administrative, which makes it very distant from the knowledge and skills of actual and potential social welfare clients.
Over the years, various researchers have put effort into the democracy of the society concepts (c.f. Richter 2011). But still, how democratically is the world of research actually conceived now? The present contribution follows the idea to point at democratic concepts in the present development of research in order to plead, in this way, for a meaningful expansion of democratic research structures. The development of open access, the ideas of participatory research, the appearance of open innovation, and the first attempts at research volunteering are presented here. Thereby a multidisciplinary view is taken. Finally, the relevant question it is reflected upon as to what extent concordance can be produced between the interests of society on the one hand and research activities on the other hand.
Social participation of elderly people – a qualitative study with particular focus on people with lifelong intellectual disabilities in later ages
The present article intends to illustrate a dissertation project focussing on the living experiences of people in the so-called third and fourth age, with particular regard to people with lifelong intellectual disabilities who enter old age. The sustaining assumption is that social participation of senior citizens and of people with disabilities is both meaningful at an individual level, and offers great treasure for every community in terms of social capital and social cohesion. Against this background, the overall aim is to explore participation experiences in old age by deploying a participative action research approach, which encompasses the direct involvement of social groups who still appear to remain underrepresented in social research. The outcomes of this study are expected to offer new insights in the lived realities of elderly people, with particular attention to the peculiar experiences at the intersection of lifelong intellectual disabilities, age and gender. Further, the project aims to reveal related crucial mandates arising for social work practice and social policy.
Transformative Forschung für Nachhaltigkeit – das Beispiel Biodiversitätsmanagement in den Javakheti Highlands, Georgien
“Integrative Research is commonly expected to increase likelihood of innovation due to its juxtaposition of ideas, tools, and people from different domains” (Cummings & Kiesler, 2005, zitiert in Tress et al., 2009, S. 2926). Transformative Forschung ist eine Antwort auf komplexe Fragestellungen in Forschung und Praxis (z.B. globaler Wandel, Biodiversitätsverlust). Zur Erarbeitung nachhaltiger und praxisrelevanter Lösungen, werden in transformativen Projekten die Grenzen zwischen den verschiedenen Fachbereichen (Naturwissenschaft, Sozial- und Humanwissenschaft) überschritten und die Menschen mit ihrem Wissen einbezogen, die von Problemlagen oder Veränderungen betroffen sind. Am Beispiel eines Forschungs- und Bildungsprojektes zur kulturellen und biologischen Diversität im Kaukasus soll die Frage erarbeitet werden, wie transdisziplinäre Forschung und Bildung für Nachhaltigkeit in der Praxis umgesetzt werden können.
Service User Involvement in Social Work Education – Current Discourses
In this contribution, the author briefly introduces the roots of service user involvement in teaching social work and makes some annotations on terminology. Some research and its outcomes are introduced and Webber and Robinson’s two models of service user involvement are described: the empowerment model and the outcome focused model. It is argued that they should not be seen as distinct models, but as two important factors that complement each other and that, in fact, empowerment is one aspect of the outcome. A selection of obstacles to meaningful involvement is presented and a few suggestions for further research are given. Research should focus on both process and outcome. Furthermore it is argued why professionals should value participatory research more.
All inclusive? – Vorsorgendes Wirtschaften und neue Gesellschaftsverträge
In the debate about the transformation process towards sustainability manifold eco social economic concepts are discussed. Most of them lay claim to democracy, to processes of inclusion of all who are affected. But do alternative concepts automatically lead to democracy, overcoming hierarchies, power and exclusion? Based on this question, the article discusses two eco social concepts: Vorsorgendes Wirtschaften and Small new Social Contracts. It throws the light on traps like repressive or instrumental forms of inclusion and ends with three clues for a transformative democratic way to sustainability.
Soziale Innovation, ökosoziale Ökonomien und Community Development
Dieser Beitrag setzt sich mit sozialen Innovationen auf lokaler Ebene auseinander und stellt diese in den Zusammenhang der Wachstumswende und der ökosozialen Transformation. Im Zentrum stehen integrative Ansätze, die auf die Erschließung und Erhaltung der Potenziale des Gemeinwesens und seiner Menschen zielen.
Migrantenökonomien als besondere Form der Embedded Economy
The paper is based on an on-going PhD project, which deals with the entrepreneurial activity of migrants in South Tyrol, Italy. The contribution is based on the concept of embeddedness and understands migrant economies as a particular form of embedded economies. In order to realize migrant economies as new arenas for social development, it is a significantly necessary to rethink migrants role in society. Consequently, increasing awareness of the positive part that migrants can play as self - employees could contribute to a more sensible public debate on the phenomenon. This change in perspective has some methodological consequences for the research itself as it has to be understood as a process of co-construction collocated in the personal lifeworlds.
Solidarökonomie – Ein wirtschaftsdemokratischer Gegenentwurf
Ein klares Profil, ein einschlägiger ideologischer Hintergrund oder eindeutig definierte Projekte sind im Diskurs um die Solidarökonomie schwer abzugrenzen. Dieser Artikel soll einen Überblick über die Geschichte, die Traditionen und Denkweisen, sowie pragmatische Implikationen und Anweisungen dieses bisher weithin ungreifbaren oder unbegriffenen Begriffes geben: Es soll ein Feld betreten werden, wo nicht nur ferne Theorie auf der einen und periphere Praxis auf der anderen Seite angesiedelt sind, sondern in welchem Solidarökonomie als Solidarökonomie definiert und als Begrifflichkeit festgemacht werden kann. Um in dieses Feld einzutauchen werden die Begrifflichkeiten abgeklärt und ein geschicht - licher Abriss versucht, der zur aktuellen Diskussion hinführt. Diese wird durch zwei zentrale Themen geprägt: Warum und Wie? Im Zentrum dieser Arbeit stehen somit die Motive hinter der Solidarwirtschaft – die transformatorische sowie die emanzipatorische Transformationsprogrammatik – und ein Forderungskatalog in sieben Punkten. Dieser fasst zusammen, was einzelne Autoren und Bewegungen unter Solidarökonomie verstehen. Dabei wird versucht nicht nur eine einseitige Programmatik darzustellen, sondern auch Kritik und Gegenpositionen mitzudenken. Wenngleich dieses Unterfangen weit mehr Seiten füllen könnte, soll ein klares und verständliches Bild von Solidarökonomie entstehen, um den Diskurs darüber zu vereinfachen und die Unternehmungen in der Praxis zu unterstützen.
Fare rete – Das italienische Genossenschaftswesen und die Aktualität seiner sozialen Funktion
Fare rete bedeutet, wörtlich übersetzt, sich vernetzen. Die Bildung von Netzwerken kennzeichnet die italienische Genossenschaftsbewegung seit ihren Pionierzeiten. Die Fähigkeit, sich zu vernetzen, hat den Kooperativen in Italien auch in der aktuellen Krisenzeit eine größere Widerstandskraft verliehen als anderen Unternehmensformen. Selbst bei den sich abzeichnenden sozialen und marktwirtschaftlichen Veränderungen des XXI. Jahrhunderts wird die Vernetzung von Personen – und zunehmend auch von Institutionen – einmal mehr im Mittelpunkt stehen. Der nachstehende Beitrag untersucht die soziale Aufgabe des italienischen Genossenschaftswesens von seinen Ansätzen bis in die Gegenwart und wagt einen Ausblick auf die innovativen Herausforderungen, denen sich die Bewegung in den nächsten Jahren stellen wird. Denn von den aktuellen gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen gehen Bedürfnisse aus, für die das Genossenschaftswesen mit seinem bewährten fare rete jene Antworten liefern kann, die in Idee und Praxis dem sozialen Innovationsbedarf gerecht werden.