18-20 April 2018 | University of Edinburgh

Hosted by the Post-Soviet and Post-Socialist social work SIG

The collapse of state socialism more than 25 years ago has created political opportunities and pressing social needs for social work as a new (or revived) welfare institution and a field of practice. Professional social work had no or little place in the Soviet and socialist welfare systems run and implemented solely by the state.  The (re)introduction of social work in the region has been a contradictory and non-linear process shaped by nation-building processes, global, national and local actors. The (re)emergence and development of social work indicates major social transformations in post-socialist and post-Soviet societies: (a) a shift from universal, non-discriminatory public welfare to targeted social assistance programs; (b) a move from social protection directed by the state to the civil society’s involvement in welfare provision; and (c) the development of a variety of professional practices with individuals and groups.    

We are using the terms “post-Soviet” and “post-socialist” to suggest that these two families of states share a common past and that they differ from one another. Also, these terms do not imply that there is no continuity between the Soviet/socialist past and capitalist present; these terms are used to simply mark the historical period covered by this analysis, that is, the period started in the 1989-1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. Our belief is that it is important to take a critical and reflective look at the paths and roles taken by social work in these changing societies. The new ESWRA group offers a platform for sharing knowledge, multidisciplinary methodologies, and diverse perspectives to reflect on the development of post-Soviet and post-socialist social work. New understandings will be instrumental not only for assisting the development of professional social work in a variety of post-Soviet and post-socialist contexts as well as contribute to social work theory and research methodology. 

The members of this SIG will convene for the first time prior to the beginning of the ESWRA conference Edinburgh on 18th April 2018. The purpose of the preconference is to bring together scholars and practitioners interested in social work development in post-Soviet and post-socialist countries to share their empirical research findings and methodological, theoretical, and practice and policy discussions. The preconference will include scholarly and practice presentations on social work in the post-Soviet and post-socialist contexts. It will then continue as a panel discussion of the long-term and short-term objectives of the SIG on post-Soviet and post-socialist social work and follow-up activities. We are hoping that the SIG will become an international community of scholars connected via various means of communication, such as email, skype conferences, and social media. In a long run, the SIG will also look for opportunities for other types of research projects, such as international studies, special issues of journals, and books on post-Soviet and post-socialist social work.  

Contact person: Sofia An at sofiya.an@nu.edu.kz

Date and time: 18 April 2018, 09.00-11.45; George Square Campus, room to be confirmed