Blaž Mesec, Liljana RihterStudents and Methodology: Follow-up of the Last Two Generations of the Professional Study Programme of Social Work - Pg. 281Keywords: quality of study, academic success, social differentiation, social justice.
The follow-up carried out among two generations of students (2003/04 and 2004/05; n = 464) from the 2nd year of the professional programme of social work at the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Social Work presents indicators of the students’ secondary schooling achievement and their first-year academic achievement within the professional programme at the Faculty of Social Work. It also includes their experiences with research activities as well as their expectations and aspirations regarding the academic subject Methodology of Research with Statistics I. The results show weak to zero correlations between the measures of their achievement at the secondary school and those of their first year’s academic achievement, even though their academic achievement at the secondary school is the sole criterion for their admission to colleges and faculties. This unexpected outcome may be interpreted as a result of the relativity of achievement measures at the secondary school and of the disregard, within the enrolment procedure, of the level accredited to secondary schools on the grounds of their students’ average academic achievement, which leads to the relative achievement being taken for the absolute one. Consistency has been found in the moderate correlations between the measures of academic achievement in the first year of study and the achievement at Methodology, which supports the view that the Faculty’s evaluation policy is appropriate. Changes in the enrolment system and a further improvement of the Faculty’s evaluation criteria are proposed.
Tomaž Deželan, Manca DrobneIdentification of the Policy on Illicit Drugs in Slovenia: The Institutional Aspect - Pg. 295Keywords: public spending on illicit drugs, drug budget, harm reduction.
Policies on illicit drug generally reflect the variety of diverse theoretical beliefs. More often than not, they can be classed between the repressive model at one end and the common-sense model based on the salutogenetic approach at the other. Our survey of the Slovenian institutional framework in the field of the use of illicit drugs, its prevention and the treatment of their consumers reaffirms frequently made observations on the domination of the public health paradigm in the field. The advanced and complex level of the public health sector coincides with the clear deficiencies of social and non-governmental sectors. In addition, the modifications of the Slovenian policy on illicit drugs towards pathological models have amplified the already existing imbalance in favour of public health institutions and increased the subordination of the non-governmental sector. These conclusions are confirmed by an analysis of public spending on drugs, or the “drugs budget”, which reveals the dominant position of the public health sector and the stability of its funding, something which the non-governmental sector lacks.
Tanja CinkQuality of Life of the Beneficiaries of Social Welfare Benefits: The Case of the Municipality of Nova Gorica - Pg. 303Keywords: unemployment, social security, social endangerment.
In the early 1990s, the transition to market economy in Slovenia required changes in social policy. However, social policy has not been adapted to the dominant conservative corporatism with the intensity characteristic of the countries of continental Europe. The state has continued to play the key role in the provision of social services and the scope and level of social transfers. Since 1992, the social protection of citizens has been regulated by the Social Protection Act that also describes social welfare benefit as a right. It is allocated to the individual or family when all other ossibilities are exhausted, and is designed to ensure the meeting of minimal needs and subsistence. Still, it is difficult to imagine how one can live on 200 euros a month. The consequences of unemployment or loss of work or employment have clear consequences for the material quality of life, as well as for the social, psychological and health ones. With the prolongation of the unemployment period, individuals face growing risks. Unemployment is both a social and an economic problem and therefore requires complex systemic solutions, especially in education, housing and employment policies, as well as in the field of prevention.
Tanja Gregorec, Mateja DebeljakParticipation of the Youth in Their Extra-Family Placements - Pg. 315Keywords: young people‘s perspective, participation, placement.
The authors organised a focus group with five adolescents who live in residential units in an institution and in a foster family, with the aim to identify positive and negative aspects of placement and residential care outside their family, and to estimate the degree of their participation. The subjects assessed their current extra-family care as positive, as an appeasement by the establishment of clearer boundaries, and as »better than home«. In the process of placement, they missed better information and more detailed explanations about where they would be placed. Workers gained the respondents‘ trust when they presented both good and bad aspects of new placements. According to the subjects, they had few opportunities during the placement process to express their wishes and needs, and they felt rather like passive receivers of help. Within limits, however, most of them could participate in decision-making, for example, by consenting to leave their family, which they regarded as very important. What they considered positive in the actions of professional workers included the correspondence between their words and actions, their respect of agreements, information about placement possibilities, the effort they made, their standing up for the adolescent, and their trust in the adolescent. In extra-family care, adolescents want as much autonomy as possible, room for individuality, and control over their own lives. In their opinion, they did not have enough opportunities for decision-making regarding their everyday activities; as they saw it, only those who have power in the group made decisions. Also, their proposals were not taken into consideration often enough. The help and support of their mentors meant the most for the subjects. In their words, good mentors are relaxed, trustworthy, and like their job. The adolescents draw strength from their foreseen future independence, and from their expectations to achieve something.
Branka MaučecProfessional Ethics in Social Work in the USA - Pg. 321Keywords: Code of Ethics, complaints, risk management, practice, professional associations.
The practice of social work complies to a great extent with the principles and standards as outlined in the Code of Ethics and the codes of conduct of social care institutions, as well as with local, state and federal legislature. On the one hand, those legal documents provide support to decision-making and assistance to the practitioners of social work services. However, they can also expose social workers to the dilemma of how to address highly complex ethical questions and at the same time remain within the boundaries of their personal ethical concern. This study addresses the evolution of ethics within the development of the US system of social work and outlines the areas of risk social workers have been facing through the exposure to malpratice suits. Furthermore, the study analyses some ethical complaints presented to the National Association of Social Workers, and presents the strategies of risk management and mitigation as the mechanisms of fundamental importance for the competent practice and performance of social work.
Barbara KresalGráinne de Búrca in Bruno de Witte (ed.) (2005), Social Rights in Europe - Pg. 329
Vesna LeskošekEstablishing Education for Social Work in Georgia: TEMPUS-TACIS Project - Pg. 333
Maša FilipovićHousing Vulnerability in Slovenia: Analysis upon an Extended Definition of Homelessness - Pg. 187Keywords: housing risks, ETHOS, policies.
The titular subject is observed upon the extended definition of homelessness called the ETHOS concept. The advantage of this concept is that it expands the possibilities for political discussions on the phenomenon and for linking solutions that might appear to pertain to separate problems and groups. Its starting point is the recognition of housing risks and not a status (such as homelessness). In frame of such extended understanding of homelessness, the author presents the data that can serve to estimate the number of people in a variety of risky housing situations in Slovenia. The documents and related measures designed to help individuals and groups to meet those risks are presented as well. Analysis shows that housing risks, even though hardly discussed, are not insignificant in Slovenia, while political solutions in the field of housing lack appropriate instruments.
Irena GorenakCooperation of Criminal Investigators with Centres of Social Work - Pg. 199Keywords: police, communication styles, interpersonal competences.
The author presents a research of the cooperation and relations between criminal investigators and workers at centres of social work. Upon the assessment of interpersonal competences of the former and the assessment of their communication styles in their contacts with the latter, she calculates the impact of these two factors on the cooperation and relationships between the two groups. The project included 117 workers at centres of social work (not only social workers). The main finding is that both factors do indeed have an impact. Interpersonal competences of criminal investigators accounted for 19.9 %, and their communication styles for 8.2 % of the variance of cooperation and relationships.
Liljana RihterEvaluation in the Field of Social Care in Slovenia - Pg. 207Keywords: research plan, efficacy, effectiveness, self-evaluation.
At present, when so many problems erode the welfare state, evaluations are mainly used for determining the efficacy and effectiveness of programmes. The author analyses the evaluations that have been carried out in the field of social care in Slovenia. She notes that the normative basis to carry out evaluations is not binding, and that their implementation is anticipated only for the programmes that are co-funded by the pertaining ministry. Nevertheless, a great number of evaluations and self-evaluations were carried out between 1997 and 2001, but they have not been used for decision-making of a greater importance. The conclusion is that evaluations, in order to serve their purpose, need to become more firmly rooted on both normative and operative levels.
Eva Jereb, Marko FerjanSocial Aspects of Internet Learning - Pg. 213Keywords: social interaction, Internet study groups, Internet communication, Internet etiquette.
The social interaction of educatees and the formation of Internet study groups are very important elements of Internet learning. Internet learning environment should fulfil the social component of education, just as regular schools and universities whose students can associate outside classrooms. The paper elaborates on the development of Internet study groups, stressing the importance of appropriate communication, and lists the main elements of effective Internet communication, including the rules of conduct that facilitate it.
INTRODUCTION TO THEMATIC BLOCK
Liljana RihterLEONARDO DA VINCI MOBILITY PROJECT: The Opportunity to Learn and Reflect - Pg. 221
Janja BabičEmployment Obstacles for Young People who have been Treated for Cancer in Childhood or Adolescence - Pg. 223Keywords: illness, enduring consequences, quality of life.
A malign illness and its treatment in childhood or adolescence may be immediately or eventually followed by physical or mental consequences. The impact of the illness on the quality of life depends upon the type of consequence and upon the response of the former patient, as well as of society, to the illness and its consequences. The undesired results include difficulties in schooling, in the search of employment, and at work. The percentage of persons with difficulties in finding employment and at work is greater than that of their peers who did not experience cancer and its treatment. The paper focuses on possibilities and obstacles in Slovenia. Qualitative research of the narratives of twenty young former patients has shown that the main difficulties are to find employment and to keep it; moreover, these difficulties as well as the fear of losing employment in those who have got it induce the increased number of applications for the invalidity status and retirement. Young former patients choose the options that they deem useful; they frequently difer from those suggested by professionals.
Špela UrhOvercoming Institutional, Cultural and Personal Racism in Social Work - Pg. 233
Jelka ŠkerjancContribution of Users to Promote Participation in Social Care and Social Work in UK - Pg. 239
Ana Gajič, Natalija JeseničnikUser Perspective in Social Work (Berlin) - Pg. 245
Nuša PavkoAlternatives in Social Work: What Can Be Learned from Postmodern Art - Pg. 251
Suzana OreškiCommunity Mental Health Training at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge - Pg. 265
Iva PircTraining at the Department of Social Sciences at the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences - Pg. 269
Barbara KobalProfessional Training at the University of Birmingham - Pg. 275
Natalija PovodnikCultural Misunderstandings in Social Work - Pg. 117Keywords: cultural misunderstandings, intercultural work, working relationship, qualitative research.
Cultural misunderstandings influence the effectiveness of the social work process in a foreign culture to an important degree. They appear as a consequence of obvious external inevitabilities (such as cultural differences) and of a worker’s response that can be consciously managed. Experts can contribute to greater effectiveness of work in a foreign culture by relating respectfully to the different, by communicating attentively, by balancing power relations, by being aware of their own prejudice, and by choosing the appropriate professional approach. The most suitable professional approach includes establishing a working relationship with the client and constantly re-evaluating one’s professional starting-points. Clients can help reduce cultural clash by being tolerant, honest, assertive and critical. The organisations that employ experts can contribute by orienting themselves towards cultural sensitivity, choosing personnel carefully, and by adapting their working procedures. Specific skills of social workers turned out to be a very effective tool for overcoming cultural barriers, which entails that all intercultural workers should be familiar at least with their basic points.
Karmen MedicaContemporary Migrations and Dilemmas of Security - Pg. 125Keywords: illegal migrations, security, police, state, frontiers, fortress Europe.
Migrations, which contribute to the development of the so-called developed world and to the formation of multi-cultural societies, are imposed on the poor and a choice only for the elite. The immigrants’ positions depend on how, whence and when they arrive. Neither the countries open to influx nor those enforcing strict immigration controls have yet found a solution to restrict illegal entry, residence and work. The notion of the free flow of people is becoming dubitable even within the EU itself. The political arguments of security, as well as the imagery of global threat, function largely as everyday defensive games. The perpetual question raised by the official circles and the media is how safe we really are from illegal migrants. But the opposite might be asked as well: how safe are illegal migrants from Europe’s need of fresh labour, its low birth rate, and its desire for faster gains?
Srečo DragošHate Speech - Pg. 135Keywords: ethics, morals, post-modernity, tolerance, dialogue.
The author presents a typology of social conduct (according to Pareto) as the basis of a contextual analysis. His analysis of several examples of hate speech by some Slovenian politicians illustrate his main points, which may be summarised as follows. Any definition (and thereby regulation) of hate speech is contextual. It is constituted by a consent about the delimitation of permissible types of expressions of hate from the forbidden ones. Indifference towards such a delimitation leads to the adiaphorisation of the problem. Its overcoming therefore does not begin with the definition of impermissible speech but with a consent about the context in which the definition is used. Here, there are only two choices. The more tolerant approach that, concerned with free speech, defines hate speech less restrictively is contextually confined to logically consequent actions and to reasoned actions with unpredicted effects. The more restrictive position extends the attribution of hate speech to all expressions of hate within non-reasoned but effective actions. These are the only choices available. The criminalisation of other categories of actions would threaten the democratic society, as would if none of those choices are taken.
Marino KačičAssessment of the Blind and Visually Impaired People’s Independence - Pg. 145Keywords: the blind, visually impaired, rehabilitation, independence, life dimensions.
People who in their adult life lose eyesight completely or to an extensive degree are usually assessed on the medical basis. The latter estimates the remaining sight and classifies a person as blind or visually impaired. Such assessment says nothing about the individual’s capabilities or potentials, which is the central issue of the presented research: are there differences in the degree of independence between people who lost eyesight as adults, and if so, in which areas? To answer this question, a relevant measuring instrument had to be developed. The author devised a questionnaire (the REHA test for blind and visually impaired) about eight life areas that are essential for the blind and visually impaired people’s independence. A pilot research performed on persons who attend seminars on rehabilitation and education has shown that the level of independence depends on age, place of residence (urban or rural environment), acquired new skills, possession of technical aids, etc. The degree of the remaining sight does not always correspond with the degree of independence, which calls for assessment methods of a more complex nature. The presented questionnaire is capable of such assessment. It is a good basis for planning individualised help and personal counselling.
Barbara Kobal, Tjaša ŽakeljPersons in Post-Penal Treatment on the Labour Market - Pg. 157Keywords: employment, reintegration, European Offender Employment Forum.
Studies of social exclusion show marked vulnerability of certain groups of population, and among them increasingly of persons in post-penal treatment. One of the most important factors of social exclusion is unemployment, or the state of activity. There is a connection between criminality and unemployment, though opinions vary as to the direction of influence. The fact is that ex-convicts often find it difficult to (re)enter the labour market, often because of many intertwined factors that hinder access to employment. Low education level and the related access only to less wanted and less paid workplaces, stigma, weak motivation, inadequate social networks, and orientation towards odd jobs are only some of them.
Jelka ZornI. Ferguson, M. Lavalette, E. Whitmore (ed.) (2005), Globalisation, Global Justice and Social Work - Pg. 167
Vesna LeskošekUrek (2005), Stories at Work: Narration, Reporting and Recording in Social Work - Pg. 173
REPORTS FROM ABROAD
Liljana Rihter, Barbara Kobal, Nino RodeInternational Conference "Evaluations in Society: Critical Connections" - Pg. 179
Sendi MurgelPublic Authorities of Centers for Social Work in Administrative Procedure: Response to an Article of Polona Kovač, PhD - Pg. 181
Mojca PajnikMedia Images of Refugees - Pg. 1Keywords: critical discoursive analysis, journalist’s texts, strategies of legitimisation, discrimination, anti-discriminatory engagement.
The author analyses the presentations of refugees that appeared in Slovenian printed media between 2003 and 2005. They are mainly concerned with the position of individuals who have come to Slovenia at the outbreak of the war in Bosnia Herzegovina (1992–1993). This was the period of the most intensive media reporting on the subject in the 90s. Earlier analyses of the rhetoric of the Slovenian refugee policy have indicated the processes of ideological legitimisation of discriminatory discourses. Refugees were treated as a problem, a threat to public order and to the security of the state. Today, new issues are raised. Some contents have changed, though the legitimisation tones that incriminate refugees as a threat to the national state have remained in use. Analysis shows that media reports still treat refugees as a massive threat, and that the statesmanly attitude may still serve as a legitimating frame for some discriminatory discoursive turns. On the other hand, some shifts in reporting have been perceived as well, for example, the appearance of human interest stories, in which refugees themselves gain a voice, or a greater emphasis on the problems refugees meet when they search for employment or accommodation.
Zdenka ŠadlEmotional Experiences of Elderly People: From Traditional to Modern Views - Pg. 13Keywords: aging, theory of socioemotional selection.
Traditional views of emotionality on the one hand emphasise the diminishing and weakening of emotional functions in advanced age, and on the other hand link aging with increasingly negative emotional experiences. Contemporary research, however, shows that simplified views on the relationship between aging and emotions are problematic. Most examinations present a better image of emotional life in advanced age. Aging does not bring an increase in risk but rather protects from negative emotional experiences; positive emotionality of elderly people increases or at least remains on a relatively stable level; and emotional control and regulation improve. Next, the author discusses the theory of “socioemotional selection,” which explains the improvements in emotional well being of elderly people, and theorises that the attribution of a specific emotionality to them is a way of producing “the others.”
Klelija Štrancar, Majda PahorDying as a Social Phenomenon - Pg. 21Keywords: institutions, society, power, care, marginalisation, palliative care, hospice, death.
Institutional practices of care for terminally ill and dying people and their relatives are discussed in the light of certain sociological theories. The process at work is treated in terms of Giddens’ concept of unintended consequences of action and Habermas’ concept of the duality of social space. Berger and Luckmann, on the other hand, open the questions of pluralism and of the crisis of meaning in modern society, as they are reflected in the domain of dying and death. The author further presents the places and situations of dying and examines the understanding of care for the dying there. Finally, she focuses on power relations in health care systems, which appear to be one reason for the inadequacy of care for the dying – power relations between physicians and the other health workers as well as those between health workers and patients – explaining this with Saleeby’s concept of strengths perspective. Having established the insufficiency of care for terminally ill and dying people and their relatives, she turns to the potential advantages of palliative care and hospice.
Barbara Kobal, Darja Kobal GrumDirections for Warranting the Rights of the Youngest Blind and Visually Impaired Children - Pg. 33Keywords: children with special needs, early treatment, personal assistance.
In most European countries, blind and visually impaired children are granted professional aid by services, which have developed from institutions and which operate, with their mobile units, in their users’ living environments. Many state policies emphasise the importance of early individual treatment of the children who are born blind or visually impaired, or who loose sight in the earliest years. In Slovenia, awareness of the importance of early treatment of children with special needs for their subsequent development is still very low. The authors discuss the issue, present the situation of blind and visually impaired children in Slovenia between 2000 and 2004, and suggest improvements. They stress personal assistance as an important means of providing the youngest with the possibility of later independent life.
Sandra StareTrafficking Women for Prostitution - Pg. 39Keywords: human rights, abuse, crime, migration.
Global factors contribute significantly to the propagation of the titular phenomenon, since one of their effects is the feminisation of poverty in the countries of eastern and central Europe that have emerged with the fall of communist regimes. They are marked with patriarchal relations, and women are subjected to physical verbal, and sexual violence. They are not respected, and their self-esteem is low. The aim of contemporary trade of women is sexual abuse. Women are the victims of social-economic situation in their country (the country of origin); they are exposed to violence and gross violations of human rights, which continues and increases in the countries of transit and the country of destination. Victims of such trafficking are the women who were allured or forced into offering sexual services, the women who were acquainted only with the half-truth of their job as a stripper in a bar but not with the sexual part of the job, as well as the women who were fully acquainted with what their job would be, but were put by traffickers into the position of debtors. White slavers are linked into well-organised criminal societies in the countries of origin, transit, and destination. Slovenia represents all three.
Tea SmonkerThe Strengths Perspective in the Field of Community Mental Health - Pg. 47Keywords: empowerment, social work, measuring efficacy.
In the last decade, non-governmental organisations for support and help to the people with long-term difficulties in mental health represent a new dimension of civil society in Slovenia. The concept of action in most of them is based in community and on complementing the medical approach with the psychosocial one. The author presents a part of the qualitative analysis of the efficiency of three NGO’s programmes in empowering the users for inclusion in ordinary life. Saleeby’s principles of strengths perspective in social work practice are used as the theoretical framework for the criteria of assessment.
LEGISLATION & PRACTICE
Polona KovačPublic Mandates of Centres of Social Work in Administrative Proceedings - Pg. 57Keywords: administrative procedure, social care, subsidiary use of General Administrative Proceedings Act, access to files, execution of mandate.
Centres of social work are important bearers of public mandates in Slovenia, especially with regard to decision-making on rights and obligations in administrative matters. Statutorily, they are public institutes, but they function as the administrative organs of the state. This gives rise to the conflict between the tasks of counselling and help on the one hand and authoritative decision-making on the other. The conflict has been deepening since the latest amendments (in force since January 2005) of the General Administrative Proceedings Act, by which CSW have to carry out their decisions (such as separating a child from his or her family). Many rules of the Act are thus inadequate for the specifics of social care. Possible solutions are: to transfer proceedings from CSW to courts, to simplify the Act for the bearers of public mandates, and to regulate administrative procedures materially, i.e., develop them into a substantive law.