[SGSA-SSTS & ITTS UniNE] [Hybrid] Social Work as Action Science. An international comparison on epistemiological positions.

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Date & Time
08:30 - 16:00

Event location

Breguet 2
2000 Neuchâtel



Social work can be considered as action-oriented discipline. Yet the meaning and
the implementation of such an affirmation needs to be questioned as it depends
on traditions of specific language- and approach-based scientific communities
and on historical as well as socio-and geopolitical positions. The scope of the
scientific meeting is to explore and discuss different epistemological positionings,
along four criteria: the character of the scientific premise; the object of social
work; the connection between theory and practice; the normative character of
the position.
The question of how to think about the discipline of social work also implies the
formal constitution of a discipline based on university chairs, various fields of
research and practice, as well as a collectivity of scholars. Certain experts
consider the academic development of social work as the prototype of an
innovative way of conceiving a discipline: The discipline is based on the
diversification of fields of social action, but also of conceptual and
methodological approaches as the subject of disciplinary debates. It further
connects research with practice and models of intervention for essential social
work knowledge. Finally, different types of knowledge and skills are valued.
This way to discuss social work enables the participants to perceive how the
international definition of social work and the orientation of the discipline as one
of action are making headway. Above all, it illustrates how social work itself
defines what constitutes relevant knowledge for its own field. It will become
visible, how much, drawing on a culture of dialectical discussion, a critical and
challenging view of society and appropriate interventions, social work can also
retain its militant character beyond professional narcissism.


• Kris Clarke, University of Helsinki
• Annamaria Colombo, UAS Western Switzerland
• Emmanuel Jovelin, CNAM, Paris
• Amélie Maugère, University of Montreal
• Peter Sommerfeld, Swiss Society of Social Work

In collaboration with the Commission Theory & Social Work of the Swiss Society of Social Work.


8h30 – 9h00 Welcome
9h00 – 10h30 Perspectives from Canada & USA
11h00 – 12h30 Perspectives from France & Germany
14h00 – 15h30 Perspectives from French and German Switzerland


Further informations and registration:


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