Bogdan LešnikEditor's notes - Pg. 359
The present issue is somewhat more abundant than usually; this is the consequence of the big project treated in it — the international project of community mental health studies — training for psychosocial services, nicked (after the foundation which financed it) »project Tempus«. The studies have finished, but the project is continued in developing a community mental health network. The extensive work that has been done is reflected in the papers which are mainly evaluations of the study programme and more or less unanimously admit that it has achieved two mammoth tasks: it educated a group of people for community mental health work and stimulated, if not produced, a number of projects in this and related fields. The contributions have been written by the »insiders« of the studies who treat their subjects from their respective standpoints. Lack of time and space prevented two significant perspectives, the psychiatric and the feminist one, to take part in it; they will be published in subsequent issues. The studies were coordinated by Vito Flaker (now coordinator of the network project), and in view of the work that had to be done it is not surprising that he is also prevailing as the author of papers. In the first one, Towards the ordinary of the uncommon, he argues that social work can serve as the synthesis of different conceptual frameworks; the synthesis in action, we might add, for it is characteristic of theoretical conceptualisations that they do not easily let themselves be synthesised without a residue, which may lead us to anti-theoretical, intuicist attitude, or to theoretical simplicities. The author, however, distinctly states that for him, the synthesis is relevant on the level of action which of course is of central import in social work. This is also evident from his Vision of the services for people with long-term psychosocial distress, which calls for resolute political work. In the paper he wrote with Vesna Leskošek, they consider the impact of community mental health studies on social work in the field of mental health and conclude that with the Tempus project, social work in Slovenia has firmly stepped into this field. A well informed associate of the project, Shulamit Ramon, in her contribution finds two noteworthy projects in the field of social work in Slovenia: work with refugees and the community mental health studies. Justin Bateman's evaluation report is also very commendatory, though it does not avoid critical statements where necessary. The only student of the programme who has contributed to this issue is Jelka Škerjanc. Her paper reads like a report of a person whom J. Bateman talks about: a person who has found in the Tempus group support and a network for her existing endeavours in the field of community care. Community mental health studies tutor Marjan Vončina in his paper seems to oppose the thesis that politics should be taken into account to a greater degree, and of course he is right: politics in itself is by no means inclined towards clear, transparent projects, as it has to satisfy too many heterogeneous interests and make compromises even when good practice does not benefit from them. Yet the author's alternative proposal to develop local programmes of good practice, undoubtedly has political effects which sooner or later leads to some confrontation. The studies' impact on the anthropological and gender perspectives in social work is treated by Darja Zaviršek. These perspectives are now already classical, as it is only in the light of social differences — and gender is, paradoxically, one of them — that the action called for in the field of community care can be correctly conceived. Under the heading »factography«, basic data of the project can be found, as well as the results of evaluation based on a questionary answered by the programme students. Until his death, the French thinker Félix Guattari cooperated with the programme, and in his memory we have included his text on an ancient theme, yet ever more important in modern times: on the production of subjectivity.
Vito FlakerTowards the Ordinary of the Uncommon: On the Possibilities of a Paradigmatic Shift - Pg. 361
The author presents the conceptual synthesis which emerged during the Tempus-funded programme of community mental health studies — training for psychosocial services. The basic argument in the paper is that social work as a discipline without an institutional temple makes possible the syntheses of different conceptual frameworks. It is demonstrated and further articulated in some examples from community mental health work which is critical of institutional professionalism and its orientation towards revalorisation of the social role of users. In the practice of group homes, social work is described as an art of constructing artificial yet ordinary spaces and forms of living. Advocacy shows the important role of social work in mediation amongst different experiential worlds. In care planning, the tendencies are found for radical shifts in social work (direct funding); it shows the importance of clients' own stories and of ground-level analytical tools, as well as of the proactive orientation of the social work; and in particular, it demonstrates the transformative power of social work.
Shulamit RamonSlovene Social Work: a Case of Unexpected Development After 1990 - Pg. 373
The paper places Slovene social work in the context of recent political, social, economic and cultural changes in Slovenia. The framework of social work education and social services is outlined, and two important, surprisingly innovative projects are described and analysed: work with refugees and the community mental health studies programme. In conclusion, the author outlines the importance of these two projects for the theory and practice of social work in Slovenia.
Justin BatemanEvaluation Report on Community Mental Health Studies in Ljubljana - Pg. 383
The author has made extensive consultations with the students of community mental health in Ljubljana (the Tempus project) and has drawn from them and his observations the present evaluation report. In the second part, he also critically surveys the existing community care provisions in Slovenia. His findings show that the study programme has succeeded enormously, despite some shortcomings (lack of appropriate time management being the most notable one); that it has strongly influenced the students' views as well as their practice, and that it promoted a series of new projects in the field of community care which had been virtually non-existent before.
Vito Flaker, Vesna LeskošekThe Impact of a Tempus Community Mental Health Training Programme on Slovenian Mental Health Social Work - Pg. 395
The authors' assessment is that the role of social work in mental health prior to the programme was a marginal and subsidiary one. At the same time, the project could not be conceived but for the meaningful experiences of voluntary work and action research from seventies on. Beside new concepts (e. g., normalisation, the users' and feminist perspectives, the individualisation of care) the study programme initiated a whole series of different innovative projects which are changing the scene of social work practice. The authors conclude that two new actors appeared in the field of mental health previously dominated by psychiatry: social work and the users. So this educational programme, with its broad definition of mental health and activism of its students and staff, contributed meaningfully to the changes of the social work as a whole and in particular in the field of mental health.
Jelka ŠkerjancThe Process of Self-Organizing of the People With Special Needs - Pg. 401
The contribution presents the process of self-organizing of the people with special needs and their parents on the coast region. It started at the same time as community mental health studies. The author follows the thesis that handicap is a problem of the society that is incapable to organize so as to respond to the needs of its members. Since handicap is a politically created problem, it can only be solved in this field. People with handicap will overcome it only if they take control over their lives and over the social processes that determine their position. This will be possible when they can influence service planning and have relevant knowledge and information.
Marjan VončinaThe Impact of Community Mental Health Study Programme on the Development of Social Welfare System - Pg. 409
The author discusses the impact of the Tempus study programme on the system of social welfare in the framework of changes effected by the new Law of Social Welfare. The new circumstances produced a changed role of social work in that it has to work with the consent of users. The inclusion of users, through principles of good practice, has been introduced as a norm by the very community mental health studies programme. Another important role of the studies is that its participants have succeeded to organize a number of new social welfare programmes that secure the users' say. As a possible way to asserting the values based on the users' needs, the author proposes a greater distance towards politics and the creation of innovative programmes which will respect and further develop the skills of working with people.
Darja ZaviršekOn the Times We Still Believed that the Remains of European Radicalism in Social Work Would Spread to the East - Pg. 413
The paper discusses the impact of community mental health studies on novelties in the curriculum of the School of Social Work. The impact on methodological and theoretical concepts of social anthropology is pointed out. Some theorists have used social anthropology as a theoretical model, others have stressed anthropological approach to working with people. Guest lecturers on the programme have also introduced gender perspective into Slovenian social work and established gender as an analytical category. Many have stressed »gender-blindness« as one of the essential conceptual errors of social work. Most guests have been devoted to the traditions of radical social work and critical European sciences.
Vito FlakerA Vision of the Services for People with Long-Term Psychosocial Distress - Pg. 419
On the basis of research as well as of knowledge acquired through Community Mental Health Studies programme (»Tempus« for short), the author's vision of the development of community care for people with long-term psychosocial distress rests on the following basic principles: gradual deinstitutionalisation; establishing community services with an emphasis on the use of existent and ordinary resources; enhancing users' solidarity; developing and establishing methods specific for work in the community, which originate from holistic and contextual understanding of human distress; accepting challenge and change triggered by this process; and last but not least formulating mental health legislation that is capable of comprehensive and consistent protection of the users' rights. The concrete steps, possible in the near future, are proposed: strategic planning on the national level, interdisciplinary education and training, transformation of social institutions into community services, pilot experiments in direct funding and care planning, continuing and expanding experimental community mental health services, establishing housing resources, planning service networks on the regional and local levels, and supporting users' organisations.
Félix GuattariOn the Production of Subjectivity - Pg. 427
Psychoanalyst and political activist Félix Guattari, along with Gilles Delese, one of the major thinkers of this century (Anti-Oedipus, Thousands of plateaux, Molecular Revolution ...), has been included in our program of community mental health studies. His passing away at the end of the summer of 1992 struck us hard and so, unfortunately, we were not unable to fulfill our plan of his lectures in the context of our study. In memory of a colleague who has always inspired us, the last of the founders of the movement of alternatives to psychiatry, we are publishing his lecture given in December 1986 in Cankarjev dom as part of the "Psychiatry and Citizens" meeting. At the same time, we remember his recently deceased comrade Gilles Deleuze.
REPORT ON A PROJECT
Vito FlakerCommunity Mental Health Studies - Training For Psychosocial Services - Pg. 437
The report begins with the background of the project, lists partners involved and describes the basis of cooperation. It states the goals of the project, describes the study programme and its structure, and evaluates the outcome. The project succeeded to establish community mental health as a special area in the curriculum, educated the core group of professionals in this field, initiated numerous practical projects, disseminated knowledge to the professional and lay public, introduced Slovenia to the international network of such efforts, and significantly added to the library stock on this topic. Indirecdy, it has improved the study process in the school as a whole, initiated other developments in mental health and gave an additional push to some voluntary and non-government organisations, as well as to the users' movement. Although taxing, it was a source of great satisfaction as well as challenge to most participants. It can be concluded that the impact of the project will be felt long after its termination.
Diana JermanChronology of Mental Health Studies in the Community - Pg. 445
Mojca UrekEvaluation Questionnaire for Students of Mental Health in the Community - Pg. 449
Darja ZaviršekDavid, Altea & Toby Brandon (1995), Power to People With Disabilities - Pg. 469
Bogdan LešnikEditor's notes - Pg. 271
The first in the present issue is Neil Thompson's contribution, written for the international edition of this journal, about anti-discriminatory action in social work. It continues our series on social work as a »political profession« and also introduces the other texts in this issue which deal with discrimination, in particular double discrimination. Darja Zaviršek in her essay on labels such as »handicapped people« proposes to replace it with a somewhat longer name »people who need help for independent living«. Whether a long expression will help the people not to be taken short remains to be seen, but the author presents strong arguments in favour of it. The aim of the Tanja Lamovec' discussion on mental health legislation is to influence the Slovenian law in the making to consider the needs and also the demands of the people who, for the time being, are rather its object — the psychiatric patients. It seems self-evident, but at least in this country obviously not yet a matter of general consent, that in every circumstances, therefore in case of mental distress as well, people do have their rights and freedoms, even when they need to be detained. The following contributions are rather special. Following the initiative by Darja Zaviršek and with her editorial help, they were written by students of School of Social Work. They are interesting for two reasons: first, because they present the ideas of the future professionals in social work, and second, because they deal with topics that are not very frequent in our literature, although in practice, one meets them all the time. Let us briefly survey their subjects. Violeta Irgl, in her first contribution, writes about double discrimination of the aged, and in her other contribution, she applies the »heterological method« from anthropology to social work. Suzana Kristanc writes about double discrimination of children and youngsters. Sonja Puhar's contribution on the discrimination of women in custody or prison is particularly noteworthy. Women alcoholics, too, undergo a biased treatment, in comparison with men; an article about it was written by Urša Ogrin.
Neil ThompsonPromoting Anti-discriminatory Practice - Pg. 273
This paper reviews the development of anti-discriminatory practice and explores why this is such an important aspect of good practice. It highlights a number of key issues which have played a major part in developing current approaches to understanding and challenging discrimination and oppression. The basic components of anti-discriminatory practice are explored, potential barriers to progress identified and possible strategies for promoting further development are outlined.
Darja ZaviršekPeople Who Need Help for Independent Living - Pg. 281
The essay was written after the first national conference on advocacy and help for the people with special needs, their parents, friends and professionals, which took place this April. It was the first time that the concerned people were included into such educational programme. The aim of the conference was to empower the people who are bereaved of some human rights. Of particular importance here is how they are called. Some years ago the term »people with special needs« was introduced, but today, people who need help for independent living seems more appropriate. The author argues for the new term and compares it with related terms used in the West. She also presents the mutual influencing of primary and secondary handicap and points out that users gain power, if they operate in groups with other users and not with professionals who take it away and offer charity instead of human rights.
Tanja LamovecReflections on the Changing of the Law of Compulsory Detention in Mental Health Organisations - Pg. 287
The procedure of compulsory detention is described as experienced by a user. The flaws and the gaps of the existing legislation are outlined. Specific proposals for change are made. Examples of how some more developed European countries have been trying to resolve these issues are presented. The first part of the article includes descriptions of the current practice regarding different sequences of detention. The commonest violations of the existing Law are pointed out, as well as the reasons for their being so widespread that indeed, they have become the rule. The second part deals with the more general issues which must be clarified before any new Law can be conceptualised. As a warranting measure that the new legislation will in fact be carried out in practice, independent advocacy should be made obligatory for all institutions where users are held against their will.
Violeta IrglDiscrimination of the Aged - Pg. 297
The author presents the development of discrimination, self-discrimination and re-discrimination of the aged. The vicious circle of double and multiple discrimination of the aged begins with their exit from professional activities the borders of which are socially determined. In the society that particularly values productive capacities of its members, the aged whose working abilities are actually diminished are also stereotypically ascribed dependence, uselessness and disabilities. Hence the aged themselves accept their stereotype social role and finally begin to act according to the stereotypes of old age.
Suzana KristancPeople With Special Needs and Double Discrimination - Pg. 303
The author highlights the problems of the people with special needs. On account of their being different — and the children on account of their attending a school with adjusted programme — and because of additional problems in their living circumstances, they are doubly discriminated. Included, there are the experiences and considerations of the children and others themselves. The author stresses that their choices need to be increased, and the services and rights should be ensured for them.
Sonja PuharDiscrimination of Women in the Penal Procedure and in the Execution of a Prison Sentence - Pg. 309
The research on how women endure their prison sentences is based on the analysis of regulations in the field of execution of penal sanctions, the data collected in penal institutions, and the direct communications and statements of a sample of women prisoners in the prison in Ig. The greater part of the article consists of the results of the research on the status of women enduring prison sentences and in custody, and on their feelings and experiencing penal institutions. Specific women's issues related to the execution of a prison sentence is also reviewed. The author particularly emphasises the discrimination of imprisoned women, in comparison with men, in many legal, status-related and other fields.
Urša OgrinWomen and Alcoholism - Pg. 321
The article deals with double discrimination experienced by drinking women. The woman's addiction, namely, becomes not only a legal or medical issue but also a moral one, leading to double discrimination. Initially, the significance of culture is noted, determining behaviour and influencing mutual evaluation and the notions of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. This is followed by an historic review of women's alcoholism with examples from European and non-European countries. Central, however, is the description of the characteristics of women's alcoholism and the social view of it. Examples from the interviews conducted by social work students in 1994 are presented.
Violeta IrglHeterological Thinking Method in Social Work - Pg. 329
The author presents heterological thinking method, one of the fundamental scientific methods that is far too little known and used in social work. She brings it from anthropology into social work and demonstrates the imminence of its application there. Heterological thinking method dissolves prejudices against the different and contributes considerably to understanding, accepting, respecting and non-evaluating the different by translating it into our ordinary experience. Thereby, it introduces a new quality of human relationships into social work.
Alenka StanteJocelyn Chaplin (1990): Feminist Counselling in Action - Pg. 335
Damjana MarionThe First National Conference on Advocacy and Self-help - Pg. 339
Bogdan LešnikEditor's notes - Pg. 179
The first article of the present issue is Lena Dominelli's presentation of anti-racist social work, written for the international issue of our journal. No doubt this concept is relevant in our circumstances as well. It may be said that in many respects, our social work meets very similar problems as elsewhere in Europe, i. e., as those described by the author, and that therefore, social work has many similar tasks. We do think it already fulfils them rather well but without an appropriate reflection, and we hope the article may serve this purpose. The key thesis for this concept is elaborated also by Vesna Leskošek — namely, that social work is a political profession. The author, who puts the thesis (in the form of a question) into the title of her contribution, touches the core of the matter: social work is political both because it follows (is bound to follow) the actual political solutions of the issue of its concern, and — for our present context even more importantly — because it itself has an impact on those solutions. How and to what extent it does the latter, indeed depends on the degree of political influence it can exert, but just as much also on how social work articulates the issue in its own professional framework. "Traditional values" are, as we know, a blade with two edges: on the one hand, they may serve to resist contemporary (and also more just — traditional values often oppose the principle of human rights) approaches to social issues, while on the other hand they form part of what is termed "the diversity of cultures" and sometimes offer original solutions of certain social issues. We point out this marginal, yet not insignificant dimension of Franc Hribernik's research on the reproductive capabilities of the Slovenian rural population. Our topics are frequently related in not-too-obvious ways. Thus the above statement may be said to belong to the context of sociology of culture. However, for this science to be, properly speaking, applicable, its general co-ordinates have to be established flrst, and this is precisely the subject of Milko Poštrak's contribution. There are many reasons for group work to become established in social work, and in some respects this work may be compared to psychotherapeutic one, or to be more exact, some psychotherapeutic elements are present also in social work with groups. But it is also useful for social workers to become acquainted with them for the simple reason that they may avoid certain traps inherent in such work, traps that at least some theories of psychotherapy are already familiar with. So that social workers who work in groups may only benefit from the presentation of a group work with the aged conducted by the author Andreja Grom. It is our intent to publish further presentations of group work (family therapy, self-help groups, etc.). Our series of essays written by the people who are themselves touched by various forms of "treatment" i. e., by the very users of services, continues with the essay of Boža Napret. It is almost redundant to add that these are the most relevant views on "treatments", and in this way, to return to the notion of traditional values, we deviate from the traditional relationship of helping professions to their users, that is, to the object of treatment.
Lena DominelliAnti-racist Perspectives in European Social Work - Pg. 181
The alarming increase in racist attacks and the growth of the Far Right in Europe has been aired in the European press. However, public interest in examining the way in which citizenship is being redefined by both the move to the right in European politics and the impact of globalisation has been less evident. This paper analyses these dynamics and reveals that a group of disenfranchised citizens is being created who will not have normal access to welfare — a traditional symbol of citizenship. Arguing that anti-racist social work has a role to play in identifying these forms of exclusion and addressing them in day-to-day practice, it considers how social workers can take the issue on board in their work with people of non-white European origin. Their doing so would require acknowledgement that social work is not a neutral profession, but a political one. Caring professionals will have to take the realisation of citizenship rights seriously if their work is not to feed into the disenfranchisement of significant numbers of non-European nationals residing and working legally in Europe.
Vesna LeskošekSocial Work Is not Political (or Is It?) - Pg. 195
In the past few years we have witnessed more and more critiques of the classical welfare state concept that accompany the unification of Western European states. With the breakdown of our social system and the emergence of new concepts of help for the distressed persons, this country, too, joins the efforts of finding more suitable solutions; however, in many ways they are incomparable to the developments outside our borders. Instead of proper implementation of the people's social rights, our social policy seeks more appropriate help for the people in distress. The two concepts are opposing one another, if the former is understood as respecting an individual's rights, and the latter as the right of the state to intervene when it deems appropriate. It assesses the people's problems itself, often without the consent of clients. Here we may touch upon the dependency of social work on actual social policy. If the concept of the latter depends on the decisions of the ruling political parties and if social work also depends on social policy, then social work is political at least in two senses: as being dependent on politics and as being in a position to be able and obliged to influence it.
Franc HribernikSome Aspects of Socio-demographic Status of Slovenian Peasant Families - Pg. 203
The article deals with some questions of the socio-demographic status of Slovenian peasant families in the early 90's. The research was planned on the statistical data of the population census in the Republic of Slovenia in 1991 and on the empirical sociological approach. It was mainly concerned with the following questions: what is the ability of social reproduction of the agricultural population, what are the views of the vital agricultural population on family as the basic social group, and what are their main reasons to form a family. The results indicate that family remains the central social milieu with many indispensable socioeconomic functions for the largest number of the interviewees included in the survey. In spite of the fact that the number of children in peasant families has also decreased, the agricultural population still has a higher average number of offspring in comparison with the Slovenian population as a whole. The expressed desired number of children in peasant families proves that this population has partly preserved some traditional values.
Milko PoštrakNew Perspectives of Sociology of Culture - Pg. 217
One of the most commendable tendencies in contemporary sociology is certainly its increasing tendency to inter-disciplinarity. The author initially reviews its reflections in the field of sociology of culture. Next, he places sociology of culture within the context of its mother discipline, i. e., sociology, and finds that its status there is marginalized. However, in the recent years the status of sociology of culture within the discipline has changed, parallely with the gradual reorientation of sociologists from the questions of social structures to the questions of culture. With the aid of last year's compendium on the developing perspectives of sociology of culture, the author briefly reviews some recent tendencies within sociology of culture, cites their sources and outlines their perspectives.
Andreja GromA Case of Supportive Psychotherapy of the Aged - Pg. 225
Because of a certain degree of social isolation, many aged persons are lonely even in a home, amongst a crowd. This fact and the assumption that people feel better if they can talk (also about their loneliness) have enticed the beginning of the group presented in the article. The author quotes some references on psychotherapy of the aged, and in particular on the attitudes of an aged person towards him/herself, illness, old age and the institution of "home for the elderly". She outlines some forms of group work in the home that include the small conversational group. She gives the basic data on the group and an account of two sessions. She presents the preparations and the forming of the group, the commonest themes, co-therapy and supervision. The group is in its fourth year of existence.
Boža NapretIndependent Life - Pg. 235
The author describes her experiences of stigmatisation on the basis of her progressive muscular illness. Her findings may be condensed into the conclusion that ecological self-realisation cannot succeed either independently from the others or within self-integration but only in co-operation within wider interpersonal processes and in setting boundaries to oneself. This, however, brings forth a paradox: the more we realise ourselves, the less we may be autonomous and free, for it is the other people who give us the space for our self-realisation and participate in the development of our potentials.
Darja ZaviršekTanja Lamovec (1995), Ko rešitev postane problem in zdravilo postane strup - Pg. 249
Bogdan LešnikEditor's notes - Pg. 95
This issue is introduced by a contribution, written for the international edition of this journal by Joseph Canals. He argues that anthropology be a part of the »theoretical background« of social work, and also why it should be so - what is the practical significance of teaching social workers about anthropology and what are the issues in which it is particularly important. However, the attentive reader will be able to find a lot more there. The anthropological section continues with an article by Darja Zaviršek who in a way »applies« and further clarifies some theoretical postulates of the former. The »anthropology of health« she introduces rests, of course, on the analysis of the concepts of »health« and »illness« in various cultures in which they by no means refer to the same reality; and the measures people use to soothe their pain are just as different. We may doubtlessly learn a lot from them, not only about a person's own notions of pain but also about his or her needs which result from them and which are also expressed in the local idiom. Bernard Stritih further elaborates his discussion on voluntary work, begun in the previous issue. He presents its history in this country and the circumstances in which it emerged, points out the changes that have been taking place and display many characteristics of a crisis, and analyses his experience from the therapeutic camp for children with psycho-social problems in 1975. This journal regulariy publishes Franc Hribernik's contributions on the social situation of the peasants in Slovenia. This time, he discusses unemployment in the countryside as well as its paradoxical situation in which the increase in unemployment is nevertheless accompanied by the fact that a number of jobs remain unaccepted. Relatives and carers are not always the best advocates of long-term psychiatric patients, but given an appropriate professional help they may become ones, claims the article written by Nace Kovač and Vesna Švab. They list the possibilities opened by their self-organising and describe their experience with relative and carer groups within the organisation called ŠENT Music is not only an important part of general culture but can be, as evidenced by numerous subcultures, even the organising element of certain groups. That fact alone allows us to talk about the »anthropology of music« which is one of the aims of Rajko Muršič' book The Unwordable Play of Sounds. But musical experience is also an interesting psychological phenomenon. At the crossing of those three disciplines Srečo Dragoš places the phenomenology of music which is the starting point of his (elaborated) critique of Muršič' book
Joseph CanalsThe Place of Anthropology in the Theoretical Background of Social Work - Pg. 97
The article deals with the relationship between social anthropology and social work. The two disciplines share many problems, including the theoretical crisis of social sciences. According to the author, social sciences as well as other relevant disciplines must not be considered the theoretical basis of social work but a part of its theoretical background, together with the systematisation of social workers' practical experience. The importance of understanding the social actors' views is emphasised, as is the need to understand from the inside rather than in terms of externally defined categories. The question of »the other« is considered the main focus that can articulate the use of anthropological approach in social work. Understanding from the inside and dealing with »the other« are deeply rooted in the anthropological tradition. These aims are consistent with the aim to empower client groups which is one of the main pillars of social work.
Darja Zaviršek»If you see ghosts, tell the people!« - Pg. 109
The article deals with the basic models of the anthropology of health, important for understanding mental health. The methodological framework consists of heterology, cultural relativism, the concepts of body and the sexes and intercultural research. The author points to the concepts of madness that are not sustained by intercultural comparisons, and to the analogy between a shaman-mediator and the mediating role of a nurse in the Western societies. The medical model of mental health does not take pain into account. According to risk analysis, the threat of unrecognised pain in a person within a psychiatric institution which rests on the disease model will increase the danger of self-injury. The latter may be visible or invisible in the sense of egomortification. The last part of the article is concerned with the experiences of the people who hear voices, and with various practices of dealing with voices in the world. With this innovation, the illness model moves away from the disease model and approaches the personal definitions of mental suffering.
Bernard StritihVoluntary Work in the Period of transition - Pg. 119
The beginnings of the many voluntary activities in Slovenia coincide with the time of the awakening of national awareness. Even though voluntary work helped create the foundations of the Slovenian society, some activities fell prey to the monohthism of certain ideas. In the period of transition voluntary work has been developing a new significance for the integration of social complexity. In the second part, the author presents an example of how chaotic processes can be surpassed in a very diverse group. The developmental crisis may be overcome by way of consent with regard to the rules about the transition into a new mode of activity of the group. The main functions of the rules of conduct and communication in the period of transition are to ensure the safety of all participants, to stimulate the development of new ideas and not to overtake the process of reaching an agreement about the new ways of co-existence and co-operation.
Franc HribernikSocial Security of the Unemployed - Pg. 133
The phenomenon of unemployment has become one of the most expansive and difficult social problems in post-socialist societies. Since 1987 till 1993, the rate of unemployment in Slovenia has increased from 1,4% to 14,4%. Among 130.000 registered unemployed persons less than a half benefit from social welfare. However, in spite of this the availability of contract-based or seasonal workers is insufficient, especially in agriculture. Unemployed natives refuse to take such jobs, mainly because of harsh working conditions, lesser esteem of agricultural work and lower payments in agriculture. Consequently, thousands of seasonal workers are needed in Slovenian agriculture yearly.
Nace Kovač, Vesna ŠvabRelatives and Carers as the Active Participants in Mental Health Service Users' Care - Pg. 143
The authors describe the main problems met by relatives and carers of the persons with deep psychological problems, as well as the possibilities to solve them, especially outside institutions. They particularly describe and point out the significance of self-organising and self-help in this field. The experiences in Britain and the USA are compared with the local initiatives. They also describe the experiences that resulted from working with relatives and carers within the Organisation for mental Health ŠENT and from the first national meeting of relatives and carers of the mentally ill which took place in September 1994 in Ljubljana.
Srečo DragošThe Social Aspects of Music - Pg. 149
The author discusses the possibilities of rethinking, requestioning and pointing out that which is in various ways presumed in all theoretical considerations of the phenomenon of music. He refers to the three fundamental emphases articulated in Rajko Muršič' book (presented in detail in this article), i. e.: it is not productive to limit oneself to one theory; it may be productive to step down from philosophy to anthropology when discussing music; the specificness of musical expression is precisely in the book's title: the unwordable play of sounds. The phenomenon of music may thus be approached only through the avoidance of (especially theoretical) presumptions, with a suitable method, and by taking into account the specificity of the object of our questioning. This leads us to conclude that there is no music »by itself« and that it may only be understood in terms of social interaction —which, however, differs considerably from the emphases laid by Muršič.
Bogdan LešnikEditor's notes - Pg. 3
The first issue this year is introduced by two extensive, quite different, yet complementary papers. Both deal with some key presumptions in social work Bernard Sirilih writes about voluntary work, which in spite of the reservations on the part of the authorities had began some time ago and has in that, as it were, preparatory phase reached a climax in the work with children; the author himself is one of the key participants and creators of the project. We shall have more on that in one of the future issues. Here, the author deals with some general questions of the directions in voluntary work, which should not serve the needs of the authorities but those of the clients, by preparing them to actively enter the social debate (in accordance with the ideas of Pablo Freire). The permanent task of every science is to check its own presumptions. If this is not done, there is a grave risk that it may incur, on the one hand, intuitionism (as, for instance, the notions that emerged and developed in a certain context for a certain use break with their history and become »self-understood«, or as two or more similar terms that have emerged in different contexts and for different uses merge into a non-specific »common sense« notion), and on the other hand, sheer technicism (of the kind »it does not matter how we explain a procedure, the important thing is that it works«). Both of these reductions bereave the science of the very feature that makes it a science. Srečo Dragoš deals with this problem in derivations, relevant for social work, from the field of phenomenology. Ilie enigma of creativity has been engaging thinkers for a very long time, and their explanations are often just as mystifying and vague as the notion of creativity itself It is similar to the problem of intelligence. Is it an actual (measurable or describable) feature or dimension of something or someone, or is it merely a hypothetical construct to fill the gaps in our (mis)understanding of mental and working processes (if the two can be set apart)? Milko Poštrak considers the anthropological and sociological explanations of creativity, and he, too, indicates their heterogeneity, even ambiguity. Vie next two contributions return us to the practical problems of social work Metoda Mikuljan writes about how to prepare people to old age. It is doubtlessly a problem which demands a thorough scrutiny on several levels, as it is related to the living conditions of our time in general. Developed societies are particularly familiar with it, as their way of life is very individualised, but it is even worse where the »development of society« is only partial - where a high degree of individualisation is found together with a low standard of living. The other paper in this context by Luj Šprohar describes the author's experience of losing sight. This essay, of course, is to be read »symptomally« rather than as a »case«, i. e., not as a scientific report but as a text in which the many determinants of the author's life are condensed, displaced, externalised etc. The specific deprivations on account of a certain personal condition (blindness) are intertwined with spontaneous attempts at their overcoming and compensation, and these are of particular value for our understanding of the condition. At least worth mentioning are also the following contributions from this issue: personal experiences with students on placement written by Maria Pooth, a lecturer at the school of social work in Dortmund, Germany, and a regular guest at School of Social Work in Ljubljana, and a report by Mojca Urek on the placement for the students of the School in the previous year when new regulations were applied and the placements obtained an emphasised position in the training of social workers. Finally, among the Documents, indexes of all the contributions of the previous volume are published. The leading Slovenian linguists have recently answered the question of how to introduce two-gender diction into our language, as it is evident that using only the masculine supports, on the symbolic level, the discriminatory attitude towards women (especially in public, or official, use). Our linguists (of both genders) have ruled that, first, to change that would make our language crammed and difficult to follow, and second, it is in any case unnecessary, since the masculine, used in a general way, represents both genders. If we may agree with the first - as a change of gender in Slovenian necessitates changes in almost all accompanying words such as adjectives, numerals and verbs -, we can hardly accept the second, for it contains the very reason for using both genders. What these experts for Slovenian seem to be overlooking or neglecting is the fact that every settled use has a beginning and a reason - that a language is not given once and for all, and that it may change for reasons exterior to the language. In other words: just as the feature of the masculine to represent both genders has emerged, it may also die out or change, according to its use. It would be helpful if those learned ladies and gentlemen read Milko Poštrak's paper, and in it, Wittgenstein's note: linguistic rules are arbitrary (albeit they have a history, it cannot be said that one is more lawful than another), so there is no reason to obey one more than another. This, however, does not entail that linguistic rules are unnecessary (it would make communication impossible) but we may say that the Slovenists in their response defend a certain ideology rather than the language. In any case, this joumal will continue to support the two-gender diction, even if it cannot be absolutely consequent, because it is the only hope that it will eventually settle without being too difficult or unreadable.
Bernard StritihVoluntary Work as the Site of the Formation of Generative Themes - Pg. 5
In the first part of the contribution, the author presents the practical and theoretical approaches developed by Pablo Freirá. His project of spreading literacy with the help of social workers has triggered a series of activities whose common denominators are self-activity and the development of generative themes. Both are important for the achievement of deep changes in inteфersonal relations and social communication, which in this way encompasses the lowest classes as well. If voluntary work is taken as the activity that makes possible new forms and dimensions of social debate, then the question of whether the state should mainly support the development of institutions, or should it also care for the development and the quaUty of voluntary work, is made redundant. Voluntary work is a constructive response to the numerous problems of the insurmountable complexity of a society and can contribute to the deepening of trust in one's own developmental capabilities.
Srečo DragošHow - Pg. 21
The author argues that social work as a technique (methods of help, skills) is necessary but insufficient, but as a mere technique it is dangerous. It is dangerous when we do not question the presumptions that are the basis of the technical mode of thinking which originates in the unproven difference between appearance and essence, the misleading and the true, the regular and the incidental, the important and the unimportant, the exact and the speculative. This mode of thinking originates in metaphysics and is reductive. For this reason, phenomenology explicitly challenges it. The author refers to Tine Hribar's book Phenomenology I and particularly points out the fatal change (narrowing down) of the criteria of what is true and what is false, and simultaneously exposes the range of Husserl's approach and Heidegger's critique that rehabilitates the ordinary living world. The article is concluded by rethinking the significance of phenomenology in social work at present.
Milko PoštrakThe Dimensions of Creativity - Pg. 37
The author presents a few recent writings on creativity. He briefly touches upon the historical context of the discussions on the origin and the process of creativity on the one hand and the views on recognition, valuation and measuring on the other. Also, the questions are raised about the position of an individual in the creative process (his/her intelligence, talent) and in relation to the cultural context or the social framework. The most productive - most of the quoted authors agree upon this - are the discussions that take into consideration, or apply, the interdisciplinary approach. For research on creativity cannot be reduced merely to studying mental processes (dealt with mainly by psychology) or to the environment and the social context (sociology), nor is it merely a matter of knowledge (philosophy of science, epistemology). The anthropological and the historical context are also to be taken into account.
Metoda MikuljanPreparing People to Old Age From the Point of View of Social Work - Pg. 45
Old age and ageing are objectively given, concern all humanity, every society and every individual - they cannot be avoided, but according to the scientists and experts, they may be modified (transformed) both qualitatively and quantitatively. The numerous tasks presenting themselves to the individual and the society, concerning the processes of »ageing« in the developed countries (in Slovenia as well), are becoming more and more important, acute and necessary. The purpose and the goal of social work in this field should be to prepare the people to old age, as this, too, is what a meaningful and rich living depends upon. There are many instances - some are described in the paper - proving that it is often not the case.
Luj ŠproharThe Normality of the Blind - Pg. 53
The paper discusses the distinctions between two realities, the seeing one and the blind one. The survey ranges from the description of the notion of blindness to the analysis of the symbol of the white cane to some of the author's personal experiences that crystallize the idea that the blind reality is but little different from the seeing one. The author himself has the experiences of both and analyses the differences. The conclusion is that a blind person is fundamentally the same as a seeing one, but because of the specific situations he or she has to fulfil certain wishes in a specific way. The aim of the analysis is a better knowledge of the blind reality and thus a better communication between different communities.