Participatory Social Work

Research, Practice, Education

Edited by Mariusz Granosik, Anita Gulczyńska, Małgorzata Kostrzyńska, and Brian Littlechild

Jagiellonian University Press

Participatory Social Work

Pub Date: September 2019

ISBN: 9788323345992

376 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $55.00£46.00

Participatory Social Work

Research, Practice, Education

Edited by Mariusz Granosik, Anita Gulczyńska, Małgorzata Kostrzyńska, and Brian Littlechild

Jagiellonian University Press

As contemporary social work is challenged on the one hand by increasing and multidimensional social diversity and, on the other hand, an increasing emphasis on building a civil society based on activity, equality, and participation, the demand for research and debates relating to a participatory social work paradigm has been raised. Its rapid development is manifested not only by a theoretical shift or introduction of new research techniques and methods, but most of all by empowerment of the service users. It has given an impetus to the emergence of participatory research teams or, in the more radical viewpoints, to the gradual de-academization of both the empirical and theoretical aspects of social work. Eventually, expertise and commitment of participatory advisory bodies are reflected today in the sociopolitical decisions found in many countries.

For enthusiasts of participatory social work, recognition of service users’ perspective and civic activities in both academic discourse and daily practice perpetuate democratization of the social service system. They maintain uneven power distribution in both frameworks of elitist research and in practical models of social work. However, there is a growing body of opinion that participatory practices are only a more intelligent tool of contemporary societies’ governance. Whichever approach one takes, participatory social work raises anew the issues of credibility of knowledge, processes of its creation and use, the purpose of social work, its relationship to politics, and—above all—the role and competences of a social worker (co-)constructing social change in partnership with and not just for the service users.

This collective monograph considers thoroughly some of the above issues and many more. We focus not only on current state but most of all on raising controversial issues to encourage debate, reflection and discussion concerning participatory social work with a special attention given to participatory research. It offers new cross-national insight into participatory social work as well as discussion of its barriers and side effects. As a collective monograph prepared by an international team of researchers, it should help social workers, social pedagogues, politicians, sociologists, social activists, etc. from different geographic and sociocultural contexts to develop reflections on the implications and consequences of doing their research and practice in participatory manners.
The book is the result of a longer discussion about PAR in different contexts. This book focuses on methodological and practical experiences of PAR in a more radical perspective. But not only opportunities but although pitfalls and challenges are worked out. It has been possible to represent international authors (and international means in that book actually more than one or two nation states)! In general, the book is a very important and new perspective on PAR in international discourse. The book is innovative, because new perspectives on PAR were worked out. Both research-practical and methodological aspects are reflected. Particularly important are the arguments and experience with clients as co-researchers. Practical examples of good practice are shown here. This is particularly noteworthy, since there is nowadays less concrete experiences with peer research. Also new is the examination of questions about education and studies. Graßhoff Gunther, University of Hildesheim

About the Author

Mariusz Granosik is a social pedagogue, sociologist, and associate professor in the Department of Social Pedagogy of the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Łódź. His main field of interests include critical social work, governmentality studies, interpretive research methods, PAR, social problems in public discourse, and interpretive assessment. He is the author of the monograph Social Work: An Institutional Analysis from the Conversational Perspective.

Anita Gulczyńska is assistant professor at the Department of Social Pedagogy of the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Łódź. Her main fields of interest include social work and community work in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods; participation and empowerment of unprivileged citizens in research and urban revitalization processes; interpretive assessment, qualitative research. She is the author of Boys in the Hoods: A Socio-Pedagogical Study from Interactional Perspective (2013).

Małgorzata Kostrzyńska is assistant professor at the Department of Social Pedagogy of the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Łódź. Her academic interests focus on homelessness, participatory and empowering forms of research and social work practice with them as well as on art therapy in social work. She continually carries out participatory research with the homeless in Łódź. She has been the coordinator of the project titled Homeful-Homeless Box (2015–2018) in Łódź. Recent publications (in Polish) include: Association of the Excluded: Example of Homelessness.

Brian Littlechild is research lead for social work at the School of Health and Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. He has written, research and lectured nationally and internationally on issues of coproduction in social work education and research, and has carried out a number of projects and reviews with agencies, service users, and carers. He is a visiting professor at the University of Ostrava.

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