Special interest group

Social Work and the More-than-human (SWMTH)



Tina Wilson MSW, PhD (she/hers)
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Arts | School of Social Work
The University of British Columbia Canada

https://socialwork.ubc.ca/profile/tina-wilson/ | https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9528-4768

Dr Heather Lynch

Senior Lecturer, MSc (Social Work) Programme Lead

Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, United Kingdom


Description, Aims and Scope

This Special Interest Group convenes and supports transnational scholars working on the ways in which the more-than-human, broadly defined, challenges human-focused social work research, education and practice. In different ways the Covid-19 pandemic, environmental emergency and human-made technologies each generate political and economic instabilities that amplify existing inequalities between humans, but also between humans and non-human life. These events and phenomena draw attention to the potential harms of the human exceptionalism embedded in modern social and political thought, and they evoke new philosophical questions that challenge state-anchored professional social work to imagine beyond our traditional scope of research and practice.

The Social Work and the More-than-human (SWMTH) SIG provides a forum for research engaging more-than-human topics as a means to support the development and exploration of ideas and fields of research not yet common in social work. Intentionally transdisciplinary, we tune into questions of discipline, and to the influence of state and university on established social work problematics to raise new questions about our traditional objects and methods. More-than-human research topics include but are not limited to:

- Built environments and infrastructures

- Material world, objects

- Nature, natural environments

- Non-human life

- Technology, data, information

- Time, space, place


Our guiding questions include:

  1. How are more-than-human developments affecting social work?
  2. What challenges do these developments pose to the research and practice of social work?
  3. What conceptual and methodological approaches might help social work engage with the more-than-human?


As a new SIG, our initial aim is to develop a membership base and identify shared interests. More broadly, we aim to strengthen transnational and cross-institutional collaboration among scholars working on social work and the more-than-human, broadly defined. Please do get in touch if you are interested in any of our thematic areas.



Donna Jeffery, Associate Professor, Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria, Canada

Dorothee Hölscher, Lecturer & BSW Program Advisor, School of Health Sciences and Social Work, Griffith University, Australia

Lauri Goldkind, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University, USA

Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Stephen A. Webb, Professor of Social Work and Assistant Vice Principle of Community and Public Engagement, School of Health and Life Science, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK

Verena Fisch, PhD Student, School of Health and Life Science, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK

Vivienne Bozalek, Honorary Professor at Rhodes University and Emerita Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Western Cape, South Africa


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