Transnational Social Work

Aim and scope

Due to increasing border crossing of people, social relations, and organizations, nation states and their key institutions are being transformed as these social flows transcend national borders and connect formerly different social worlds together. Transnational processes are by no means new developments. Historically, social work was significantly influenced by border crossing phenomena. However, since the end of the last century they have considerably increased in scope and intensity as pointed out by the vast research in the field of 'transnational studies'. Social work is highly influenced by them. They affect the everyday life worlds of its clients, its services and interventions, its organisations as well as their political frameworks and create fundamental challenges for social work.

However, social work is just at its beginning in systematically reflecting and analyzing the significance of border crossing developments. At times social work is trapped by problems which are pointed out by the concept of 'methodological nationalism'. This concept refers to the naturalisation and substantialisation of the nation state and the correspondent equation of society and the nation state. This is turn runs the risk that problem definitions, categories of analysis and methods of social work are situated within the context of national borders and its organisations and institutions. As a result, it is difficult for social work to identify transnational processes and include them only to a limited degree – if at all – in social work terminology, social work practice and research strategies.

Therefore, the Special Interest Group will bring together scholars to discuss the challenges for social work of an increasing transnational world. The following questions are of major concern:

o   How do transnational developments affect social work?

o   What challenges do they pose with regard to the theoretical, empirical and practical development of social work?

o   What approaches have been developed to respond to the increasing transnational interconnectness of social work?



Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schweppe (University of Mainz, Germany) 

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schröer (University of Hildesheim, Germany)