Bogdan LešnikEditor's Notes - Pg. 415
The answers to epistemological questions (as well as the questions themselves) derive from all kinds of sources. One of them is the cybernetic-cognitive theoretical body born from natural sciences and presented here by Lea Šugman Bohinc. The next paper, written by Gregor Adlešič, cannot be immediately placed in the epistemological frame, yet in its critique of Rawls' moral philosophy it draws attention to another important source of epistemological reflections, human and social sciences. But besides different sources, epistemology has also different definitions: from those in which it overlaps to a great measure with gnoseology (epistemology as the theory of the conditions of cognition) to those in which it critically analyses science itself (epistemology as the theory of the conditions of scientific work and thought). They can be brought together if their common field is introduced, namely, knowledge, which was extensively and very critically studied by Foucault. But this, of course, tips the scales in favour of human and social sciences, or in more precise words, the differentiation of actions and capacities deriving from knowledge turns out to be far more related to social relations than to any (other) object of scientific research. This is certainly not a place to solve key problems of science, yet they are not to be ignored, because they are closely related to the conditions of practice which are, as clearly presented by Ivan Janko Cafuta, hardly unproblematic or noncontradictory. That the themes are indeed parallel is indicated by the author's view that one of the main problems in practice is precisely weak differentiation of actions and capacities at social work centres. What an uncertain thing the so-called "applied science" is, is shown in the contribution by Tanja Lamovec. She recalls different - often contradictory - prescriptions by a variety of American experts, designed for mothers raising their children, in the past 50 years. The most serious lesson from her analysis, however, is not merely that it is necessary to think hard before applying our findings as prescriptions for users, but the fact that every such prescription, at least at the time when it is valid, seems perfectly in place, the only right thing to do, as it were, if one is "up to date with scientific findings". Even if tomorrow it will be considered altogether wrong.
Lea Šugman BohincEpistemology of Social Work II - Pg. 417
The paper logically proceeds from the contents presented in the paper Epistemology of Social Work (Šugman Bohinc 1997: 289-308), adding concepts such as interpretative activity, cybernetics of conversation, inner conversation, eigen (self, characteristic) behaviour or self-production, nontriviality and entropy, all this by drawing possibilities of their efficient use in the context of interaction of psychosocial help. The paper proposes the substitution of the habitual polarity conscious-unconscious with other metaphors which more suitably express the recursive unfolding of man's interpretative (mental) activities. It describes a method of (counselling, therapeutic, learning etc.) conversation which can more efficiently bring forth new desired interpretations of participants in conversation. The paper shows possible strategies of dealing with nontrivial systems (such as client system, professional system and other living systems) by developing hermeneutic epistemology of nontriviality.
Gregor AdlešičRawls' Theory of Justice - Pg. 441
The paper outlines the basic theoretical and methodological starting points of Rawls' theory of justice. The latter is a systematic attempt to overcome and surpass evident deficiencies in modern utilitarianism and positivism which mark the majority of moral philosophy of the late 20th century. Rawls tries to overcome them by relating his ideas to Kant's moral philosophy, but he only incorporates Kant's basic moral demands without his methodology. Rawls assumes the demand of freedom and equality to be the focal point of moral convictions in modern democratic societies, however, he does not take it as a duty like Kant but as a right and the basis of their sense of justice. Rawls founds his starting hypothesis or his conception of justice upon the method of reflexive equilibrium which derives from pragmatic moral philosophy. For Rawls, moral philosophy possesses Socratic nature; only when the chosen principles have rationally been judged by the method of reflexive equilibrium, intuitions are changed accordingly. Thus what initially seemed like grounding our political prejudices finally turns out to be a method of changing our views of justice. The author presents in detail the radical conclusions entailed by the logic of the method of reflexive equilibrium.
Ivan Janko CafutaA Few Words on Working at Social Work Centres (Mostly on the Work with Adolescents) - Pg. 449
The author describes his working field at a social work centre. He draws attention to several important problems and dilemmas he meets in his professional life. Initially, he outlines the legal framework of his professional activities, and proceeds to focus on several problem clusters. First, there is the problem of merging different, often mutually excluding roles in one person at a centre, and next, there are the questions of the protection of professional secrets, the professional profiling of workers, and the professional doctrines. Finally, he focuses on the problem of specialisation and on the need of sharper distinctions both within and outside the profession itself. He considers it insufficient that the actions of a social work centre are distinguished merely on the basis of different workers or working fields and argues that this distinction should be, in the interest of workers, followed by a sharper differentiation on the theoretical, doctrinal and structural levels.
Tanja LamovecOnly a Content Mother can be a Good-enough Mother - Pg. 459
The author presents rapidly changing, and sometimes diametrically opposed, American "experts'" advice to mothers with regard to raising their children, which have taken quick shifts in the last 50 years. She analyses the consequences of such advice for children and mothers and relates them to the dominant social climate and values. At the same time, the imagery of "femininity" has changed, producing lately the new image of a single girl that is successfully exploited in advertising. In terms of these changes, the author explains the phenomenon of popular psychological literature for women which has to a great extent replaced the traditional "soap opera". The media make possible public display of the problems that have until recently been reserved to the private sphere. Their popularity shows that they satisfy an important need of women and some men, namely, to talk about their problems and get some feedback. There is nothing wrong with public discussions on personal issues, but the question is: how come it cannot be done on the level of intimate personal relationships?
Bernard StritihM. Wais, I. Gallé, Čisto vsakdanja zloraba: Iz dela z žrtvami, storilci in starši - Pg. 469
Metoda BolePsychosocial Support to the Family: Presentation of the Project and Results - Pg. 473
Bogdan LešnikEditor's Notes - Pg. 151
The present, treble, volume of the journal (composed with the editorial help from Srečo Dragoš) presents contributions to the conference on »Social work at the Turn of the Millennium - Dilemmas and Perspectives«, organised by University of Ljubljana School of Social Work and Association of Social Workers of Slovenia (the latter was reconstituted on this very occasion and adopted its Code of Ethics, also published in this volume). What we face here, therefore, are in many ways key texts that represent the state of the profession and education for it, the state of »practice and theory« of social work, as well as their directions and tendencies which can only be verified and »attested« in their mutual confrontation and in their publication. It is our pleasure to see that the journal Socialno delo significantly contributes to the development of the profession, and not merely because it brings these confrontation to the public eye but also because it may be observed from the present contributions that professionals - including »practitioners« - actually read it which, although it sounds rather logical, cannot be taken for granted. The time of the conference is undoubtedly also the time of crossroads, manifesting itself both in the diversification of services and in more precise expectations of their users, and also the time of new opportunities for their linking up into a wider network, for which familiarity with each other is all the more important.
INTRODUCTION TO THEMATIC ISSUE
Bernard StritihTowards the Autonomy of Social Work as a Profession and a Science - Pg. 159
The beginnings of social work differ in the USA and Europe: while American social work is marked with the optimism of the pioneers, the European one is marked with the unsolvable opposition between grand ideas and practical mind. Mary Richmond's social diagnosis does is nothing like psychiatric diagnosis; it stresses the uniqueness of each individual in his/her social context. The special function of social work and the basis of its autonomy is help to the people facing social expulsion. The autonomy of social work is indispensable for the continuous development of its relations with other autonomous social subsystems. The contemporary human is self-sufficient when he/she is winning, but it is very difficult for him/her to realise his/her vulnerability, and in crisis, he/she becomes even lonelier, so that human help in spontaneous social networks does not suffice. Here, there is the need for social work, that is, for the possibilities of new points of inclusion into relational networks. Social work is not a tool for social policy but develops into a generic profession that pays attention also to learning from unintentional mistakes and lapses.
Srečo DragošFrom Aetiology to the Ecology of Margins - Pg. 169
Social work, as an activity, is by definition caught in the paradox of "borderline" sciences, centred upon what in others remains on the margin of their interest. As a profession, however, compared with those with longer traditions, it is in a marginal position regarding theoretical, structural and personnel areas. This relates to an important question of how social work will develop in the future. A rethinking the three areas in the way the author defines as ecology of margins suggests several possibilities for marginality to be benefiting. In particular, attention has to be paid to distinctions within the profession and to the relations outwards, i. e., to other systems. For this purpose, what may come handy is Parsons' scheme of four functions pointing out systemic conditions that have to be satisfied also by social work as a professional system. In the conclusion of the paper, an application of Parsons' scheme (AGIL) to social work is offered.
Danica HrovatičNon-profit Non-governmental Organisations - A New Space for Social Work - Pg. 181
Social work as a profession and non-profit NGO's as an organisational space to carry out its activities are directly related. Non-profit NGO's emerge along profit and public sectors. For social workers who have hitherto worked in public institutions, organisations of this type represent new challenges as well as opportunities of employment. The paper presents the possibilities of organising and including social work related activities, based upon initiatives from civil society and responsible individuals, within non-governmental forms: help and self-help groups, associations, institutes or independent social programmes. Non-profit NGO's face problems arising from lack of structure. There are in particular three important elements in the formation of structure: establishing partner relation with the state and the profit sector, financing by use of various resources, and an employment policy balancing volunteers and professionals. Non-profit NGO's need a structure to constitute the non-profit sector not merely as an "addition" but as an equivalent within the welfare system.
Vesna LeskošekNew Relations between the State and Civil Society - Pg. 189
In the few years since the introduction of the plural system of social care (in 1991) there has developed, along public services, a wide network of NGO programmes. They have begun to change classic social-care concepts and introduced new understanding of the relation between users and providers of services. Thus, they have influenced a change in understanding the role of professionals and of professionallity itself. Innovations in the field of social care have, as can be seen from public tenders, already become part of the system, being desirable and stimulated. Also because they are becoming the institutional norm for joining European Union. Now, however, the time has come for a new step, in particular regarding assurance of quality, good contractual relations, planning and establishing needs. Without the latter, activities will be directed mainly by organisations on the grounds of their ambitions and not by the people who need the services.
Srečo DragošSocial Conditions of the Autonomy of Users' Groups - Pg. 199
Users' autonomy means autonomy on two levels, psychological and social. The paper concentrates mainly on the second level, relating to it four theses. Firstly, Slovenia does not significantly lags behind Europe in the social field - except in the development of users' groups. This means that the environment necessary for the affirmation of user groups' autonomy is underdeveloped, since it still rather holds in than stimulates users' self-organising. Secondly, systemic autonomy of users' groups means especially independence regarding both political and expert systems, though gaining political independence has advanced in recent years. Thirdly, in distinguishing users' from expert networks, we are still in the beginning. Fourthly, co-operation between users' groups and School of Social Work as an expert institution will still be needed in the future but in a more limited scope (narrowly profiled). Therefore, it will be advisable for the users' societies to establish more intensive connections with Social Chamber of Slovenia and the newly formed Association of Social Workers of Slovenia.
Marjan VončinaAspects of Professionalisation of Social Work in Slovenia - Pg. 207
The paper initially points out the changes within the system of social care and the new value orientations which demand a reconsideration and suitable actions on the part of social workers. The changes in the system of social care have an impact upon employment opportunities for social workers, considering that their own care for the improvement of the conditions of professional work is becoming a basic social demand from the profession of social work. Next, problems faced by social workers with regard to the sector in which they are employed are distinguished: the fundamental problem of those in the public sector are insufficient regulation and ill-defined aims of social care services introduced; the fundamental problem of those in the non-governmental sector is unstable financing of programmes; and the fundamental problem of those who work in companies is the undefined role of social work in the profit sector.
Vida Miloševič-ArnoldSome Characteristics of Social Work in Slovenia (with an Emphasis on Public Sector) - Pg. 213
The author analyses the recent development of social work and the degree of its present professionalisation in Slovenia. In part, she makes use of the results of a research on professional social work in Slovenia from 1997. She points out the conception of the object of social work as practice, contemporary paradigmatic changes in social work and their application in Slovene social work. She discusses recent processes in the public sector and proposes changes that could provide social work with a better social status and thus users with better services.
Gabi Čačinovič VogrinčičSocial Work with the Family: A Contribution of Constructivism - Pg. 225
The author discusses a contribution of constructivism to the theory and practice of social work. Key terms in the profession - social work working relations, instrumental definition of the problem, participation in the problem and its solution, personal casework - gain a new meaning when related to the ethics of participation in creating a new story within the open space of dialogue. Social work is defined also as research and the co-creating of stories that provide life with a meaning; it is based on understanding, comunication, agreement, respect of uniqueness. The conditions of the formation of social work projects by dialogue are analysed on the basis of Greene's, Anderson's and Goolishian's texts.
Anica Klemenc-ŽvikartThe Models of Treating Families at Social Work Centres and Professional Dilemmas between Theory, Practice and the State - Pg. 229
The paper describes the models of decision-making regarding the assignment of children, contacts and other vital issues for the lives of children after their parents' divorce or separation, as practised at social work centres, which have the authority to make such decisions when the parents cannot reach an agreement by themselves. The questions of setting the boundaries of the profession and of the organisation of work are pointed out, in order to attain better quality and efficacy. As an important element in reaching these goals, the introduction of the concept of "first social aid" into social work practice is argued for.
Tanja LamovecContradictions of Family Care of Psychiatric Users - Pg. 233
The article discusses the contradictory nature of home care for people with long term mental distress. Contemporary nuclear family is ill suited for this task, yet tradition and the state expect families, that is, mothers, to provide continuous care. In developed countries, persons with such problems are provided with various programmes where they can spend part of their time. In Slovenia, however, such facilities are scarce and receive little support from the state. Further, some systematisation of sources of stress is attempted. To ensure survival, families develop a variety of strategies to cope with this extreme situation. Some are described and evaluated. The most important, yet seldom acknowledged, counter-action is to unburden the mother. Results of foreign research show that apart from informal contacts mothers maintain with their social network, self-help groups can relieve the cumulative effects of stress. Such groups seem to be the only opportunity for most mothers to express their needs and conflicts, to be listened to in their own right and not just as representatives of a role. The need for organised political action on the part of such families is pointed out.
Peter StefanoskiFamily, Drugs and Social Work - Pg. 249
The author discusses professional social work points of departure for practice with drug users and their families at social work centres, offering several directions. The goals and methods of treatment are not sought for in "specific characteristics" of drug users but in social work discourse and in social work methods and principles.
Vida KramžarDrugs and (Sub)Culture: The Dionysian Aspect of Sociality - Pg. 253
Analyses have often explained the problem of illegal drug use as a matter of social pathology. There is an equation between that use and socially harmful behaviour. Such moral generalisation hides that even the users realise an element of community, therefore sociality. From the standpoint of values, that sociality is disputed. However, what is at stake is a Dionysian aspect of sociality that is misunderstood from the standpoint of extreme individualism. Its pathologisation may well be an effect of that misunderstanding. The problem of illegal drug use and addiction needs to be viewed from the cultural angle; then the problem opens to a global perspective and presents itself as squeezed amongst certain models of institutional cultures. Hence, the solution means also opening up those cultures.
Vito FlakerDescription of Group Homes in Slovenia and Analysis of their Models of Living - Pg. 257
Group homes are usually defined as intermediary structures between institutional and civil life in the community. They differ as to the way they are established, their residents, the number and gender of the latter, etc. They are usually of transitory character and are meant as a step towards independence. Usually, they are in ordinary urban neighbourhoods. Some have more rules than others, but the tendency is that the style of living is created by the residents. Housework is one of the most important issues. Staff usually tries to imitate family and home life. Institutional roles and cliques seldom exist. Staff and residents understand and regulate their actions according to different models: the asylum model, the kindred therapeutic model, the handicap model, the family model, the model of housework Sisyphus, the everyday life model, the leisure model, and the self-help or self-organisation model.
Vida Slemenšek-KovačevićCategorisation of Children and Adolescents with Difficulties in Physical and Mental Development: Dilemmas - Pg. 271
The paper deals with the field of special care for children and adolescents with difficulties in physical and mental development and argues for the conception of global developmental strategy of care of the disabled and for a holistic approach to such children and adolescents. Interdisciplinary approach is particularly stressed as needed in the present and the future network of professional services, including a procedure of categorisation on the basis of exhaustive diagnostic examination and of proposing appropriate training and further treatment on the basis of the subject's particular problems and needs. She argues that the dilemmas in the field are caused by the proposals of developmental processual categorisation by way of individual and individualised programmes, in accordance with the child's development and learning abilities and with the legislative definition of the capacity of school administration to issue provisions in the proceedings of directing children with special needs.
Majda KnehtlSocial Advantages and Disadvantages of Integral Education of Children with Special Needs - Pg. 275
The paper contains a concise description of professional networks, services and participants in the process of treating and educating children with special needs, of various professional activities, and of multiple entwinement of professional relations and activities in different professional services. This area, hitherto characterised by a high level of treatment, organisation, follow-up and guidance, will be fundamentally reorganised, with respect to both contents and competencies, by the imminent educational reform. Topical dilemmas regarding practical execution of so demanding a field are outlined from the points of view of contents, organisation and financing. Two questions arise: Does integration itself requests such radical changes in the system? What is the new place of social work which, after all, has so far been very efficient in its key role.
Mirjana MajheničCare of the Aged: From the Welfare State to Self-help - Pg. 279
The welfare state has everywhere proved unable to confront and combat the growing health and social problems of the people, after the systems of traditional mutual help and solidarity fell apart. In the process of deinstitutionalisation of public services, the basic problem turned out to be power relations between users and professionals. The author analyses three coexisting models of helping the aged in Slovenia, reflecting different degrees of institutionalisation and thus of influence, initiative and dependence of the users: homes for the aged, help at home and self-help groups. The variety of self-help groups, organisations and movements are a challenge to the professionals as well as an extremely important complementary form of containing people's distress.
Pavla Rapoša TajnšekPerspectives on Social Work at Workplace - Pg. 283
First, the author discusses the critical conditions of social work at workplace in the period of economical and social transition; she presents the reasons that have led to the crisis, as well as the possibilities for (re)integration of social work into workplace on the new grounds of the strategic principles of evolutionary management. Next, she discusses the role of social work in training executives for the treatment of personal and family problems of the employees. A model is presented that distinguishes the function of control, which is part of managing, from that of help. Finally, essential contents of that training are laid out.
Dušan ZapušekModels of Social Work at Velenje Mines - Pg. 291
The most developed model of social work at workplace at Velenje Mines is help to employers or to the company itself. The paper presents the role of social worker as a counsellor to the management in decisions related to the strategic control over disability and to projects that include the measures of protection at work. The project called "Control of Disability" consists in five areas: presentation of disability control and supplementation of the subsystem of the use of pertinent legislation, prevention of disability, employment programmes, professional rehabilitation and the inclusion of the system of disability control into working environment.
Simona Žnidarec, Polona ErlahAssertivity Training - Pg. 295
The contribution is the summary of a graduation thesis that took three years of independent work and experience to complete. The authors present theoretical concepts and models on which they base assertivity training, and continue by presenting the structure of the training. They conclude with recommendations for its use.
Darja ZaviršekEvictions between Epistemology and Practice of Social Work - Pg. 309
The paper deals with sociological and social analysis of evictions in Slovenia. The author finds among them clear cases of social injustice and disrespect for international documents, signed by Slovenia, regarding the right for abode. Based on a case of eviction of a mother, single-parenting two children, processes of social exclusion are analysed. That eviction was no coincidence; it is related to accumulated social devaluations, such as ethnic origin, low economical status, weak social network. What state agencies in such cases do is not to provide support for the family but to displace them, to put them into separate institutions. The author shows the actual role of social work in such cases and indicates what it ought to be, were it autonomous.
Anka ZdovcProfessional Burnout at Social Work Centres: Research Summary - Pg. 319
The paper first presents various authors' models of burnout, the impact of various factors on the process of burnout, and methods of prevention and unburdening. Next, a research is presented that included social workers who have worked at social work centres for more than fifteen years. Its aim was to find out what is the most stressful for them, what kind of clients' distress affect them most, whether they have support, what is their degree of burnout, what are the signs of burnout. The results show that professionals at social work centres often face the problem and that its degree is high.
Nino RodeA Splitting of Theory and Practice? Analysis of Papers in the Journal Socialno delo, 1995 - Pg. 329
At present, opportunities for the development of social work are increasing, at the same time as opportunities for the inclusion of new knowledge into practice are decreasing. This is reflected in the relation between practitioners and theorists in social work. By way of text analysis, the author studied the differences in the contributions to the journal Socialno delo, year 1996, between lecturers at School of Social Work and foreign authors on the one side ("theorists"), and the authors employed in social institutions ("practitioners"). Attention was paid above all to terms from the speech on social work in general, on systematic regulation in social work and on particular areas of social work, then to definitions of clients and of work with them, and finally to the use of general concepts. Groups of authors were compared with respect to the frequency of use of selected terms. To this end, correspondence analysis was employed, whose aim is to transform a table of numeric information into a graphic form that facilitates interpretation. The analysis shows that the difference between practitioners and theorists consists mainly in the level of abstraction. Practitioners dwell more on narrow areas of work, authors from the School are more frequently engaged with theory, while foreign authors talk to a greater extent on social work in general, at the same time emphasising practice. The foreseen blockade in spreading knowledge was not confirmed; however, practitioners seldom enter discussions on social work in general, and all authors avoid discussions on systemic regulation of social work. This at least suggest a possibility of a splitting of theory and practice.
Jelka ŠkerjancSeven Levers of Empowerment of Users of Social Services - Pg. 345
Francka Premzel, Sonja MladeničThe Victim is Responsible - oh Really? Problems and Issues of Social Work in a Safe House - Pg. 349
Doris Erzar Metelko, Marinka Lampreht ŠtrosReflections on Supervision - Pg. 363
Srečko PavličInstitutions in the Field of Social Care and User Networks - Pg. 367
Nuša RobnikA Social Worker in the Company is a Consultant to a Modern Entrepreneur - Pg. 373
Vera ŠinigojSocial Care Assistance to the Family in the Field of Juvenile Delinquency - Pg. 375
Minka ŽibernaFoster Family as the Best Option for a Particular Child - Pg. 379
Irena BizjakMutual Parenthood after Divorce or Dissolution of the Extra-marital Union: Better Opportunities for Social Work with the Family - Pg. 381
Darja ZaviršekUser Networks: Power(lessness) of Users in Social Services - Report from the Roundtable - Pg. 383
Bogdan LešnikEditor's notes - Pg. 79
The present issue is mainly dedicated to an important topic, the quality of working life. The contribution has been written by Andreja Kavar Vidmar. However, to the quality of working life belongs a whole series of things that normally wouldn't be immediately related to it; amongst them are the rights of people discriminated for reasons that belong to the area of»the private« — »working life« is an excellent example of a space in which the public and the private are fused. Such a combination is the issue treated by Tanja Lamovec. »Madness« and »sanity«, both are a play of the public and the private that is difficult to determine; they are something defined as »private«, yet agencies from the sphere of »the public« are very well known to intervene if that »privacy« is on the wrong side... A similar intervention from the sphere of»the public« may be observed in the cases of the aged discussed by Jana Kambič; old age can only be »a private matter«, but it is also a circumstance for which rather »public« homes for the aged are founded.
Andreja Kavar VidmarQuality of Working Life - Pg. 81
Social work may be described also as help to the people for quality life. The quality of working life has an impact on the whole life of the employees as well as on the success of their company, it is an integral part of the integral quality of a company. It is to a great extent determined by legal norms. With a stress upon legal regulations, the paper deals with individual issues of working life, from the traditional ones such as safety at work and working time, to the resent ones such as the right of the workers to privacy and the reconciliation of working and private life. An initiative is offered to study the quality of working life in the field of social work.
Tanja LamovecUsers' Movement as a Reconstruction of Community - Pg. 121
As a starting point some reflections on the contemporary situation of users of psychiatry in various countries, including Slovenia, are outlined. There is a wide agreement that users are not properly integrated into their respective societies despite the partial success of deinstitutionalisation. A new explanation of this fact is tentatively offered. The concept of community is reviewed in some detail and the development of users-led communities is argued for. The communities established by professionals usually lack proper value orientation and growth potential and thus remain artificial pseudocommunities. Probably the most vital communities nowadays are the religious ones. Similarities among religious and users' communities value orientation, as well as with successful communities in general, are outlined. Based on the experience of Jean Vanier, some conditions of viable communities as well as the crucial problems to be addressed are presented. Signs of growth and decay of a community are pointed out.
Jana KambičInstitutional Aspects of Life in Homes for the Aged - Pg. 131
The first part of the paper presents short, yet pregnant, passages from the works on institutional care for the aged, replete with the author's own deliberations. The second part offers the findings of a research the author has conducted in such an institution. Among these, four types of residents stand out: the passive, constructive, resigned and rebellious types. To acknowledge them and take them into account may contribute to the working off of some negative elements of institutionalisation.
Vito FlakerTempus Project for the Restructuring of Mental Health Services after the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Report from Sarajevo) - Pg. 139
Komisija za Prešenove nagradePrešeren Awards of the College of Social Work for 1997 - Pg. 143
Bogdan LešnikEditor's notes - Pg. 1
The present issue is dedicated to the subject of equity. This is certainly a very paradoxical concept, for we can quickly show its ideological nature, while at the same time, without it we cannot even conceive a society worth living in. Srečo Dragoš discusses the concept as it was developed in Slovenia by Catholic authors; it seems to have been treated so »politically« that it became useless. Though Walter Lorenz in his paper (written for the international issue of this journal) does not deal with the subject itself, it does concern one of the main issues of European Union, which is not only how to »unify« considerable differences in the conceptions of justice from one country to another, but also how to make it operativefor anti-discriminative social work. From the philosophical point of view — through a critique of its idealisation — the subject of equity is approached by Gregor Adlešič. The issue is further elaborated by Tanja Lamovec in her reflection of the place occupied by social work in the general dispositive of sciences, referring to several papers published in this journal One of its most important characteristics, in her view, is its political engagement or commitment which is usually not considered a necessary condition in science, but often as a rather disturbing one. The final paper is to a great extent an innovation; it is not the first time a research conducted by students (Tanja Velkov, Alja Klobučar, Lorena Pahovič), but what seems useful is the addition by Blaž Mesec, in which he points out some typical methodological errors.
Srečo DragošEquity in Transition - Pg. 3
The substantiation of equity is not the same as its operationalisation. Thus, what is important are the different types of the realisation of equity, upon which depend the effects of this general principle on the structure of social relations. Among those types, the most significant are exchange and social equity, and in particular the relation between them. This has become the public topic in Slovenia due to the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. But because of its nebulosity the history of social and exchange equity has turned into the history of arguments among Catholic actors, which is the subject of this paper. It is evident from the comparison of how equity was understood by the official representatives of the Church before WW II and how it was applied by socialism after war that the assumptions are the same, both completely dysfunctional. Therefore with regard to the realisation of equity, Kardelj (the ideologist of the Communist Party) and Ušeničnik (a Catholic philosopher), even though ideologically apart, have more in common than, say, Ušeničnik and Gosar (a Catholic sociologist) who belonged to the same ideological camp. Why this aspect of history still carries weight is explained in the introductory part of the paper
Walter LorenzSocial Work and the Politics of European Integration - Pg. 19
Social work played an important role in the formation of European nation states by helping to stabilise the boundaries of social solidarity. European unification processes are likely to reactivate this traditional role in deciding who can rightly belong to a more integrated Europe and who can be excluded from social and political protection. Social work has to look critically at its own history, how it provided the tools for distinguishing »the deserving* from »the undeserving*, and learn to challenge the potentially racist implications of a »Fortress Europe« policy. Social work is being challenged to fully realise the critical potential contained in its various intellectual and ideological traditions which aims at insuring the civil and social rights of clients irrespective of their national citizenship. This would mean participating in the strengthening of a European civil society which recognises the value of diversity and is capable of negotiating non-exclusive collective identities while advocating equality of opportunities and rights.
Gregor AdlešičAfter or Back to Virtue? - Pg. 33
The paper surveys and criticises the basic assumptions of Maclntyre's communitarian critique of contemporary liberal »moral scandal«, that is, his historical analysis of the causes of the lack of foundations and the rationalist incapacity to substantiate the modern nihilist »emotivist« morals which is seen as bearing the chief responsibility for the vanishing of Aristotelian ethics of virtue or the morals of the common good. In view of the controversy between the latter and the procedural individualist liberal morals of equity the question may be raised as to whether it is indeed possible today to take values as the product of social practices, to substantiate the morals on a uniform common good, the individual's identity (Ego) on community as a v^hole, and social equity on the archaic Aristotelian concept of merit, as Maclntyre does. His presentation of the socalled self-contained practices and of the concept of excellence based upon them, which serves him for his merciless critique of modern utilitarianism, pragmatism and egotism, would namely seem an unacceptable idealisation, and his argument not more than badly founded historicism.
Tanja LamovecOn the Science Whose Name is not Good Enough - Pg. 43
The objective of this paper is to elucidate some basic assumptions and goals of the new discipline on which social work is based. A comparison is made between the theory of social work and psychology^, and some differences in their respective theoretical integrative level are pointed out. Phenomenological method is used to define the basic unit of observation and caution in the formation of constructions is recommended. The discipline is still new and there is no need to repeat the mistakes of other branches of social science. The scope of activities is briefly outlined and the need for the empowering approach is explained. Several articles that have appeared in the present journal in the last few years are reviewed and appeal is made for the readers to join the discussion on basic issues of theory and practice of social work.
Tanja Velkov, Alja kolobučar, Lorena Pahovič (& Blaž Mesec)The Impact of Interaction Games on Acceptance and Mutual Evaluation of Pupils - Pg. 49
The effects of social skills training, performed during the school year in two final classes of an elementary school in Ljubljana were tested using the comparison of experimental (treated) and control (untreated) groups, equalised in structure by gender, age and intelligence. At the end of the school year on all the three dependent variables, social acceptance (sociometric status), classmates' behaviour rating and perception of classmates' isolation, the ratings are lower, i. e., less favourable as at the beginning (the differences are mostly statistically significant). But after the subtraction of the differences in control groups, the pure lowering is very small (from 1,5 % to 15 % of highest possible number of points) and practically unimportant. These results are in contradiction with the expectations concerning the effect of the »games«, and in contradiction with the results of the qualitative analysis of the self-reports of the leaders of the groups, who stress the positive changes and the satisfaction of children, teachers and themselves. The possible reason of the contradiction is to be seen in the too indirect measures of the effects and in the changes in the context of measurement from pretest to posttest.