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Ostravská univerzita

Philosophy / History of Social Work in Europe

Prof. Dr. Juha Hämäläinen, Kuopio

a) The importance of the field

The diversity of social work represents a great challenge for social work research, education and practice in the rapidly internationalizing and globalizing world. This challenge can be met successfully only with a deep philosophical and historical understanding of the characteristics of a particular country - and welfare regime – including the specific traditions of welfare systems and the position and role of social work within them. Research into the philosophy and history of social work strengthens this understanding through analyzing the conceptual and genealogical fundamentals of the traditions of social work. This kind of research contributes to the theoretical self-conception of social work which is necessary for the development of social work as a modern professional system, a scientific discipline and a research-based activity. The development of social work as a modern social system depends on its intellectual capacity based on this kind of theoretical self-conception.

Issues within the philosophy of science, political philosophy and the general theory of social action play an important role in the philosophy of social work. Philosophical analyses are closely connected with the history of concepts of social work, but also contribute to the history of social work as a professional social system and social work practices in individual countries. There are several specific areas in practical social philosophy dealing significantly with the theoretical self-conception of social work, for example the philosophy of family, educational philosophy, the philosophy of law, and the theory of human rights. In addition to this, issues of philosophy of science are of great importance for the development of the science of social work.

b) Activities in the field

Research and teaching activities in the theoretical self-conception of social work, the history of concepts of child welfare in Finland, the philosophy of family, the philosophy of science and of social work science, and methodology of comparative research of social work.

c) Activities in the year 2008

  • To analyze the diachronic and synchronic approaches in comparative research of social work.
  • To access country-specific studies about the history of concepts of child welfare in Europe.

Updated: 29. 03. 2017

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