4th International Congress of the Swiss Social Work Society (SSTS)12 - 13.9.2018, Lausanne

Axis 3: Multiplication of actors and reconfigurations of social interventions

The transformations of contemporary capitalism force populations to leave the regions in which they live; these processes call into question the borders of the nation-state. This process also increases the complexity of social work as social workers have to respond – generally at the local level – to challenging issues arising from the internationalisation of social problems, the consequences of (de-)colonisation and the impact of so-called natural disasters. They find themselves in a paradoxical situation as they are simultaneously meant to promote the quality of life of social work users at the individual level and to respond to demands aimed at rationalisation, efficiency and efficacy dictated by the neo-liberal focus on management and on the bureaucratisation of practices.

Some countries regulate the conditions of practice of social work more strictly than others and tend to reinforce and legitimate its existence as a profession, while others subscribe to an approach that tends to broadly question the legitimacy of all professions. The latter trend weakens the position of social workers, reinforces modes of de-professionalization and generates the multiplication of actors in the field of social intervention. In either case, reconfigurations of practices, adjustments to existing intervention methodologies and/or the elaboration of new methods are required.

The papers submitted for this third axis must deal with the de-compartmentalisation of professional practices, the recognition of the expertise of social workers, particularly with regard to the dialectic between lay and expert knowledge.

  • Along the life course, what factors shape the subdivisions of the professional, voluntary and familial realms, the transfers of financial charges and the segmentation of the labour market in social work?
  • What forms do the collaborations that these changes imply actually take?
  • How do they become embodied in interdisciplinary and interinstitutional mechanisms?


HES-SO - Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale
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