Name and affiliation of the Convener:
In recent years, issues of social justice and human rights came on top of the social work agenda, due to profound transformations of welfare states worldwide. These transformations are still ongoing and are a fundamental challenge for social work. Benefit cuts, an emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability of service-users, governments withdrawing from the social domain, reduction of social services such as social care, social housing, primary care, etc. all have a tremendous impact on the role of social work to fulfil its mission of being a ‘human rights profession’. According to the global definition, principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are indeed central to social work.
The general aim of the SIG ‘Social Work: Social Justice and Human Rights’ is to provide a forum to bring together those with areas of interest in issues related to social justice and human rights. Various approaches of social justice and human rights have been developed in the field of social work. The SIG has a particular but not exclusive interest in the Capability Approach, since it can offer a framework for concrete action by transforming general principles of social justice and human rights in practice. Additionally, the Capability Approach has the potential to bridge the frameworks of social justice and human rights.
Since human rights and social justice are often discussed at the level of policy and practice, insight from a research perspective on how both frameworks are applied in the daily practices of social work remains underdeveloped. The SIG ‘Social Work: Social Justice and Human Rights’ aims to be an academic platform to share ideas, experiences and insights on the importance of human rights and social justice for social work research. The SIG also aims at sharing experiences and ideas on research methodologies to investigate and analyse a ‘human rights-based’ and ‘social justice-based’ approach in social work.
Provisional list of initial members:
At the ECSWR 2019 in Leuven, the SIG ‘Social Work: Social Justice and Human Rights’ will be launched with the organisation of a SIG-symposium. As of that date, the SIG will organise an annual meeting at the ECSWR-conference.
Some members of this SIG have put forward a Manifesto that calls for embedding human rights in the curricula of social work degrees. An article was published on this issue, that can be retrieved here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02615479.2018.1554033?journalCode=cswe20.
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