International Summer University in Social Work 


Social workers are frequently given assignments that encompass paradoxical requirements: the goals of action may include help and control; assistance and citizen participation; individual coaching, collective action and social justice.

Social work seems to carry dilemmas at its core. Ethical dimensions of social work practice are not only present in the one-to-one support relationship with the beneficiary. They can also be found within the rules that structure professional intervention: laws, ethical standards, professional deontology or common sense can sometimes be paradoxical.

The ethical dimensions of social work are defined, in part, by the breadth and diversity of the professionals’ social constructs, by the multiple references that underpin their own values and their perceptions of what constitutes a good life.

Ethical dilemmas also surface in the way social workers enact their mission in the public arena, through political and social actions.

The 2016 Summer University participants will be invited to reflect on the ethical aspects of their own profession.

The seminar keynote address will focus on the relationship between life- course and ethical dilemmas. The impact of lifecourse on the ways in which social workers cope with ethical dilemmas will be examined through three fields of intervention: child protection, addictions and undocumented immigration.

The references underlying the ethical dimensions of social work will be addressed through presentations, workshops, and visits as well as individual and collective exercises.

Participants will discover and use a range of concepts or paradigms, such as autonomy, care ethics, theory of recognition, responsibility.

The place currently given to ethical dimensions and dilemmas will be discussed, especially with regard to the process of the institutionalization of ethics, the role played by ethics in the definition of assignments given to social work professionals, as well as the use of ethics in the public arena.