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Localised Globalities and Social Work: Contemporary Challenges
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent global and structural transformations, a West-centric development agenda and the triumph of neoliberal politics have led to destructive consequences for many local communities and individual life chances. The global dominance of the West-centric development agenda, with its roots in the colonial past, has created uneven developments and an unjust world in which Western countries continue to gain advantages and increase their prosperity. Although a minority elite in many non-Western countries share the same interests as Western countries and their global organs, the majority of people in these countries are suffering from increasing socioeconomic inequalities. As a result of the dogmatic belief in a singular and West-centric modernity and its practices, many problems are considered to be the result of non-Western countries’ inabilities to complete the project of modernity in accordance with Western blueprints. This has also influenced social work as a global and modern profession. Social problems are often individualised and the reasons behind many inequalities are increasingly related to non-Western people’s individual shortcomings and traditional cultural backgrounds. In Western and non-Western countries equally are the neoliberal structural and institutional transformations ignored and social problems of individuals and families defined as a matter of wrong and deviant actions and choices.

The main objective of the dissertation, which is constituted of four articles and an overall introduction and summary, is to examine the consequences of recent neoliberal globalisation based on the belief in a single and West-centric modernity and development agenda and their consequences for social work facing increasing global inequalities. The following research questions have guided the work: ‘How can social work play an effective role in combating social problems and otherisation, marginalisation and increasing inequalities in a globalised world?’, ‘How does the global development agenda function within the local arenas of social work?’, ‘Are development projects improving people’s life chances in local communities in non-Western countries?’, ‘How informed and responsive are social workers towards the global context of local problems?’

The work is based on a qualitative design using qualitative content analysis for analysing data collected through interviews, participant observations and official documents. The results show that irrespective of where and in which context social problems are appearing, since local problems often have global roots, a global perspective to local problems should be included in every practices of social work in order to develop new methods of practices in an increasingly globalised field of work. Destruction of local communities, forced migration from non-Western countries, and marginalisation of people with immigrant background in Western countries should not be considered only as local problems, but also as problems with their roots in global structural inequalities which reproduces global social problems with local consequences.

It is argued that social work should consider the dilemmas and problems connected to the taken for granted West-centric theories, understandings and practices of social work in order to develop new methods of practices for combating social problems, marginalisation and increasing inequalities in a globalised world. Such a position includes practicing multilevel social work, social work in global alliances beyond the division of East and West, and mobilisation against neoliberalism and the retreat of the welfare state. This requires critical standpoints against the relationship between the global context of the neoliberal ideology and practices in a Western-dominated and postcolonial world and the daily practices of social work.

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2014. , 124 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 177
Keyword [en]
globalisation, global social problems, glocalisation, multiple modernities, neoliberalism, social work, West-centric development
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-21587ISBN: 978-91-87557-30-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-21587DiVA: diva2:705444
Public defence
2014-03-28, F214 Campus Östersund, Östersund, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Localised Globalities and Social Work: Contemporary Challenges
Available from: 2014-03-17 Created: 2014-03-17 Last updated: 2015-04-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Beyond empowerment: Changing local communities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond empowerment: Changing local communities
2010 (English)In: International Social Work, ISSN 0020-8728, E-ISSN 1461-7234, Vol. 53, no 3, 393-406 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article critically analyses empowerment projects in a local community in southern India and explores the shortcomings of development projects aimed at changing living conditions of marginalized people. It is argued that international social work should move beyond established empowerment theories and practices and include combating structural barriers in an emancipatory manner.

Keyword
development; emancipation; empowerment; social work; southern India
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-11632 (URN)10.1177/0020872809359867 (DOI)000277535800008 ()2-s2.0-77952395715 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Localised Globalities and Social Work: Contemporary Challenges
Available from: 2010-06-10 Created: 2010-06-10 Last updated: 2017-08-14
2. Fishing for development: A question for social work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fishing for development: A question for social work
2012 (English)In: International Social Work, ISSN 0020-8728, E-ISSN 1461-7234, Vol. 55, no 4, 504-521 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores the consequences of the European Union’s fishing agreements with a few African countries for individuals in local communities. The empirical results show that European fishing in African waters has destructive consequences for local fishing communities and leads to increasing migration from fishing communities to Europe where immigrants are facing increasing discrimination. It is argued that social work should consider new global transformations and build global alliances in order to fight against structural inequalities and improve individual life chances.

Keyword
Africa, development, Europe, fishing agreements, migration, social work
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-14957 (URN)10.1177/0020872812436625 (DOI)000305707700005 ()2-s2.0-84862731995 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Localised Globalities and Social Work: Contemporary Challenges
Available from: 2011-12-13 Created: 2011-11-29 Last updated: 2017-08-14
3. Social work beyond cultural otherisation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social work beyond cultural otherisation
2013 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 3, no 2, 159-167 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Globalisation, increasing inequalities and marginalisation create new challenges for social work as a global profession and research arena. The recent global socio-economic and structural transformations have reinforced otherisation of non-western peoples and the use of the old colonial discursive repertoire of ‘Us’and‘Them’. This paper argues that culturalisation of social problems creates obstacles for the development of new methods and practices in social work.

Keyword
culturalisation; otherisation; social work; Sweden
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-19969 (URN)10.1080/2156857X.2013.834510 (DOI)
Projects
Localised Globalities and Social Work: Contemporary Challenges
Available from: 2013-10-03 Created: 2013-10-03 Last updated: 2015-10-16Bibliographically approved
4. Local Reactions to Global Problems: Undocumented Immigrants and Social Work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Local Reactions to Global Problems: Undocumented Immigrants and Social Work
2014 (English)In: British Journal of Social Work, ISSN 0045-3102, E-ISSN 1468-263X, Vol. 44, 35-52 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines the tensions between the Global Statements of Ethical Principles of Social Work influenced by the Universal Declarations of Human Rights and related international conventions and the social work practices with undocumented immigrants in Sweden. The paper is based on a comprehensive study of working practices with undocumented immigrants in the framework of the Swedish social care system, where municipal social workers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) actors have been interviewed. The material was complemented by participant observations. The empirical results show how globalisation, migration and social problems of undocumented immigrants increasingly challenge the national basis of social work and create tensions between national laws and practices guiding the Swedish welfare services and the Global Statements of Ethical Principles of Social Work. The lack of adequate working methods and legal frames makes it possible for social workers and NGO actors to make informal alliances with other actors for the improvement of undocumented immigrants’ living conditions. It is argued that the national basis of social work should be reformed in order to include global conditions of local social problems and realise itself as a human rights profession.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford Journals, 2014
Keyword
Globalisation, migration, neoliberalism, social work, Sweden, undocumented immigrants, West-centric development
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-21585 (URN)10.1093/bjsw/bcu042 (DOI)000338132500003 ()2-s2.0-84902676401 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Localised Globalities and Social Work: Contemporary Challenges
Available from: 2014-03-14 Created: 2014-03-14 Last updated: 2017-06-30Bibliographically approved

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