THEMATIC AREAS AND PANELS. ORGANISING COMMITEE AND ABSTRACTS
A.1. TEACHING INNOVATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE: CURRICULA
Panel A1.1. Teaching innovation in the classroom: teaching-learning
Manuel Francisco Salinas Tomás – Organising Committee
The university lives and coexists in first person with the changes that today's society demands in order to respond to the needs that arise in it.
The qualitative improvement in terms of the preparation of future generations of Social Work professionals has been one of the main concerns of institutions in the field of higher education.
Training in Social Work as an increasingly interdisciplinary helping profession that seeks to respond to complex social needs requires a rigorous education in terms of theoretical, methodological and technical knowledge of the profession, but also in relation to the teaching methodologies used in their acquisition.
The situation experienced as a result of COVID-19 has not only accelerated the process of implementing ICT, but has also put us in the position of exploring new ways of learning in order to provide students with the necessary knowledge for their training. The student-teacher relationship needs to be reviewed in order to make them jointly responsible for the training process.
We should reflect on and rethink teaching as something that includes those aspects of what has been done so far which works, as well as incorporate new proposals that complete the teaching staff's backpack of resources.
Incorporating teaching innovation in the classrooms is not only interesting but also necessary, and, to this end, a firm commitment by teachers to this task is essential.
Panel A1.2. New practices and new scenarios
María José Monrós Chancosa – Organising Committee
Historically, practical knowledge in the Degree in Social Work has been configured as a central axis in the students' training. The University of Valencia considers external internships in the Degree in Social Work as a necessary learning process in the training and preparation of its students, as it allows them to apply and complement the knowledge acquired in their academic training, favouring the acquisition of preparatory competences for the exercise of professional activities, bringing them closer to the professional space and immersing them in the operational framework of Social Work.
The organisational model for the management of external internships is based on a tripartite student-university-company vision, in which each of the aforementioned entities benefits from their participation in this activity.
Exceptionally, the actual health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the teaching activity of Spanish universities as early as during the second four-month period of the 2019-2020 academic year. These circumstances have led to the transformation of the teaching activity (classes, evaluations and practicals) from a face-to-face format to a non-face-to-face format, with all the nuances and casuistry that may have arisen around it.
In this panel, we would like to learn about the innovative training activities, projects, research, etc. that have been carried out, not only in this exceptional period of health emergency by COVID-19, but from the creation of working synergies between students, the university and institutions in the development of external internships for the Degree in Social Work.
Panel A1.3. Practicum, supervision and multidisciplinarity in a changing society
Trinidad Gregori Monzó – Organising Committee
The Practicum in Social Work is one of the pillars in the teaching-learning process of the Degree.
On the one hand, it contemplates the acquisition of transversal, general and specific competences, knowledge and skills, necessary for the development of the functions in professional practice (design, organisation and planning processes, etc.).
On the other hand, it constitutes a unique space built between the academic and the institutional, in which different agents participate: from the academic, students and teaching staff; from the institutions/companies and Professional Associations, the group of Social Work professionals; and, as the backbone, the people around whom the professional action is built around and who receive the intervention.
The Practicum must contemplate the preparation, participation and involvement of the students in their learning process and the consolidation of the knowledge acquired, in a relational and interdisciplinary context, where the task of accompaniment and supervision from the academic tutoring is essential. The result is teaching-learning experiences that reap the fruits of student participation in real contexts that are constantly being reconfigured.
Today more than ever, the social, professional and academic reality urges us to propose new ways of acquiring theoretical and practical knowledge that respond to the profound and complex transformations occurring in different contexts. This panel is an invitation to share these innovative experiences and to reflect on the new models of Practicum of the Degree in Social Work that have to be developed in a new relational framework.
Panel A1.4. Monitoring and evaluation of Degrees in Social Work
Isabel Royo Ruiz – Organising Committee
This Congress is an excellent opportunity to share the national trajectory and projection of the Degree in Social Work since its launch a decade ago.
The first undergraduate Degrees began in August 2008 (University of Zaragoza and Comillas Pontifical University). Shortly afterwards, between October 2009 and October 2010, the vast majority of Spanish universities followed suit. Some of them arrived a few years later, when the first Degree programmes had already gone through different phases from the initial/official registration in the Register of Universities, Centres and Degrees (RUCT). Generally, all Degree courses in Social Work have gone through the first modifications, consolidation through the first accreditations, new modifications and, in the last period, institutional accreditations.
The overall balance points to a great potential in the field of Social Sciences, of the 38 accredited Degrees in Social Work. It is an ideal moment to recognise our strengths and learn from our weaknesses, to generate learning synergies from the diversity of the degrees accredited by ANECA in our area of knowledge.
Professional practice has made us a leading profession, which has revealed itself as one of the professions that cannot be supplanted by any new technology known today. The follow-up and continuity of the work carried out over the last decade gives us optimism for the decade that has just begun.
Panel A1.5. The Final Degree Project: a gateway to research and transfer from Social Work
Dr. Marta Climent López – Organising Committee
Social Work is a discipline at the service of every human being. It is a profession which deals with people, with their intimacy, with dynamic and multifactorial action scenarios, which must combine the micro-social with the macro-social perspective and thus requires both theory and practice.
The Final Degree Project (FDP) is a moment of reflection and self-assessment, regarding not only of the theoretical subjects acquired, but also of the practices experienced. It is the time to analyse the existing possibilities to give an effective and adapted response to the problems and circumstances of each case.
The FDP is one of the pillars of the teaching and learning process of the Degree in Social Work. It involves acquiring competences, skills, knowledge... and, at the same time, putting them into practice. It is a theoretical-practical combination which involves students, teachers, the institutional world and society in general.
It is a subject that must be constantly under review and flexible. With the situation that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with, the importance of Social Services and the need to create work synergies capable of responding to the casuistry that may arise, as Social Work has done since its beginnings, has been proven once again.
The aim of this panel is to create a space for discussion, reflection and transmission of knowledge, where experiences that integrate the theory of Social Work with its practice are presented, with argumentation and analysis, emphasising the importance of research: because, in order to transform, you have to know.
Panel A1.6. Experiences, projects and challenges for Social Work students
María Gutiérrez Benítez and Miguel Ángel Martín López – Organising Committee
At the intersection between experiences, projects and challenges, the development of new opportunities arises within the training of Social Work students, which undoubtedly can and must contribute not only to improving the curriculum of a university degree, but must also collaborate, contribute, innovate and structure new ways of working in order to confront new situations of inequality. On too many occasions we forget or minimise the power of the classroom; the capacity for analysis and collective proposals that can be generated in the university environment. The education we provide in universities must include this vision in an integral and transversal manner, opening up spaces that allow for the generation of new knowledge and the revision of existing one.
It is essential, together with the student body, to understand and reflect on how we must respond to this new era. And, in doing so, we must always bear in mind that we owe it to the situations that embody the implicit and explicit demand as a right of citizenship. Only in this way will we be able to take advantage of knowledge under continuous construction, which has a diversification in terms of the ways in which it is formed, accompanied by research, mainly of the type of systematisation of experiences, new answers, etc. The challenge begins in the classroom, but it does not end there; it is transferred to the social, professional and political decision-making spheres. If we manage to close the circle and return to the academy to initiate new processes... our profession will be more alive than ever.
A.2. UNIVERSITY, RESEARCH AND TRANSFER FROM SOCIAL WORK
Panel A2.1. Postgraduate and Doctorate in Social Work: programmes and future challenges
Dr. Mercedes Botija Yagüe – Organising Committee
Once the 240-credit Degree in Social Work, coherent with the Bologna Process, has been implemented, the natural step has been to build official masters and doctorates specific to Social Work, but a wide range of postgraduate programmes has also been opened up. A wide and frequently unknown amalgam. What are these postgraduate and doctoral programmes? How have they been constructed both in Spain and internationally? What scientific production has resulted from these training programmes? Is there a transfer of this knowledge to social intervention and the community? What challenges do they face? What future projection do they have in the new era?
This panel aims to make a diagnosis of the academic reality after the Degree in Social Work from the different continents, to identify the structures underpinned in different countries, to observe the lines of research and intervention that arise from these processes and, finally, to present proposals for the future.
Panel A2.2. Shared research experiences between university and society
Dr. Josefa Fombuena Valero – Organising Committee
This panel on shared research experiences between university and society maintains the philosophy and approaches established in previous congresses: in Madrid, 2019; in Deusto, 2018; in La Rioja, 2016; in Murcia, 2014. These congresses have generated – together with colleagues from all over the country – a space for debate in which to reflect on the profession of Social Work. Throughout these years we have been intertwining the research, teaching and professional dimension in a common ground: the relevance of taking into account women, gender and feminism in Social Work. We have a research trajectory built on the commitment to those social workers who preceded us, to those who remain and to those who will take over the baton.
Research in Social Work has a marked applied character determined by its commitment to social change and transformation. The transfer of knowledge between the academic and the professional spheres is consubstantial to the very nature of scientific work, which requires connecting the university with society and with active citizenship. Scientific studies must be in line with the demands of civil society; society must be able to benefit from the applicability of the research carried out at the university, which is why in this panel we will address this mutualism between epistemology and methodology from a gender perspective in Social Work.
Panel A2.3. Challenges and difficulties in Social Work research
Dr. Josep Vicent Pérez Cosín – Organising Committee
Social Work has always been subject to a process of rational systematisation and empirical analysis, with the aim of defining its theoretical foundations, describing its methods and categorising its rules of action. However, the greatest difficulty for research in Social Work has always been searching for heuristic approaches that allow confronting current or future problems, making research and practical/professional experience converge, and raising awareness of the need to objectify the process by which we have arrived at this knowledge.
This main challenge of research in Social Work involves thinking differently, putting innovative ideas into practice and then trying to transfer them to solve current problems. For us, the focus of Social Work would be the phenomena connected with the psychosocial discomfort of human beings related to their structural genesis and their personal experiences, overcoming the difficulties involved in the realisation of social rights.
The future challenge for our research derives from the co-construction of the object alongside people in an interactive process, in dialogue and therefore informed by the specific environments of the practice. It is worth remembering that on the road towards scientificity, two paths can be taken; one from the sphere of knowledge creation, taking theoretical reflection as the axis, and the other based on empirical knowledge from below, giving a voice to those who do not have one, a place where Social Work finds itself. Both involve research processes that identify with or mimic intervention.
Panel A2.4. Scientific publication in Social Work
Dr. José Javier Navarro Pérez – Organising Committee
Social Work is a transversal and open discipline; this allows its dissemination to be extended to other areas. Social Work is integrated as a sub-area of the Social Sciences for the main prestigious databases.
Social Work journals in the international sphere are differentiated by ranks or quartiles (Q) of impact; these are 4 of them, with Q1 being the highest and Q4 the lowest impact of citation. In order to be positioned in these quartiles, journals must accredit high and constant criteria of editorial and scientific quality. The Journal Citation Reports database includes journals belonging to the area of Social Work in the Social Science Citation Index, although they also appear located in quartiles of other multidisciplinary areas (Social Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, Education, etc.).
Similarly, the Scopus database, on which the Scimago Journal Rank establishes impact quartiles, presents a series of journals in the Social Work area.
For both databases, all Social Work journals (with the exception of the journal ‘Alternativas, Cuadernos de Trabajo Social’ of the University of Alicante), are edited and published in English.
Nevertheless, there are other databases of lower scientific impact subject to lower quality criteria, where we can also identify the Social Work area; in these databases, such as FECYT, SCIELO, DIALNET, Latindex, MIAR or CIRC, there are journals with a mixed orientation, that is, academic-professional.
Thus, we present a wide range of possibilities for scientific publication in Social Work, because every manuscript has its journal.
A.3. LIFELONG CARE AND SOCIAL WORK
Panel A3.1. Social Work and family: new models, new challenges
Dr. María Amparo Martí Trotonda – Organising Committee
To discuss family Social Work is to confront the oldest form of our profession; this practice implies acting in a natural system, such as the family, the most reiterated object of the attention of social action services.
This system is the group that has probably undergone the most changes; its vital growth generates tensions and conflicts. Family Social Work must promote a practice of a reorganising nature, that is to say, committing the whole family system in a design whose objective is to help the transformation and change of course in the organisation and relational style of the family, which should be recomposed, without isolating it from the social context of which it forms a part and which we will have to use to help the family. Depending on the reading of these conflicts by the professionals, we will position ourselves in one conception of practice or another and, of course, in one or another way of understanding the family.
The challenge we have to face in the coming decades comes from the narrative we forge of families. A commitment to the future that is based on a paradigm shift that sees families as experts in their own history; this practice should first and foremost privilege the experiences, feelings and learnings that people carry out within the family, modeling new scaffolding for acton and directing its practice, above all, to those family groups of greater complexity, either because of their intra-family relationships or because of their social-economic situation.
Panel A3.2. Social support networks. Community and care
Alfonso García Villaplana – Organising Committee
Long-term care (LTC) for the elderly represents an enormous strain on the health and social care system. The ageing and over-ageing of the population, with its correlate of increasing chronic diseases and situations of dependency of older people, force us to rethink and define a broad consensus on the need to apply comprehensive models based on care centred on those who need support or long-term care.
All the members of a community, all the people who live in a territory are part of a social support network. The density of this network is inextricably linked to their social integration.
Regaining a perspective on the mechanisms of mutual support and on the social networks of belonging is revealing itself as a proposal from Social Work that makes it possible to tackle the challenges and threats we face nowadays. These have changed in nature in the "society of individuals", a society that no longer has strong institutions (school, family, religion) and that generates new evils, proteiform or ineffable discomforts, disorientation, fragility, anguish, anxiety, compulsion, violence and self-destruction.
The high rates of common mental disorders (anxiety and depression) and the boundaries of the most conventional pharmacological response, open up immense possibilities for social action and especially for Social Work with networks.
This panel invites contributions from Social Work that link or interweave some of the issues outlined.
Panel A3.3. Long-term care and professional intervention
Laura Llop Medina – Organising Committee
Population ageing is a trend that has transformed our societies, with an increasing proportion of older people. Increased longevity is accompanied by multimorbidities and an increase in complex chronic age-related conditions leading to physical function that may be impaired and result in frailty, dependency and poor quality of life. The problems associated with co-morbidities and ageing have serious economic, psychological and social implications that affect health care and social protection systems. In particular, the population with complex chronic diseases and the increasing proportion of older people leads to a higher demand for social and health care.
Social Work has a key role to play in these phenomena, as social environments, social support, social networks, social engagement, social cohesion and socio-economic status are terms associated with the quality of life of older and chronically ill people.
This panel will reflect, among other possible aspects, on the role of Social Work with regard to long-term care, the risks and factors of vulnerability in people with complex chronic illnesses and the elderly, the social and health services in the face of the challenge of long-term care and the social inequalities caused by ageing and chronicity.
Panel A3.4. Feminisation of care and life support
Nina Navajas Pertegas and Lidia Bueno Sánchez – Organising Committee
The development of welfare systems and the recent advances in health care have led to socio-demographic changes in our societies, such as the increase in life expectancy. We are living longer in good health, but with it the number of chronic diseases and situations of dependency is increasing.
We face new social risks, stemming from demographic changes, changes in labour markets and social values, weighed down by an underdeveloped welfare state that makes up for its shortcomings at the expense of families and, in particular, women's double working hours. Added to this is the "care crisis", the result of a deficient model of sharing domestic and care tasks assigned to the private-domestic sphere, a space socially assigned to women. Some women transfer care to other women in the family, reduce their working hours or give up their jobs. Those who are economically well-off turn to migrant women, who are generally employed in precarious conditions.
Women were the spearhead of care during the COVID-19 confinement, but if social protection is reduced in the "new normal" – as in the 2008 recession – we expect setbacks in equal opportunities that will negatively affect the way we, as a society, respond to the care crisis.
Proposals on the current situation of care and carers will be welcomed in this panel. We will critically reflect from our discipline on the welfare systems and the agents involved in the processes of care and life support.
Panel A3.5. Mental health, autonomy and participation
Eva Reina Giménez and Àngela Carbonell Marqués – Organising Committee
The global mental health movement has a mission to reduce the gap between the burden of mental illness and the availability of effective mental health services to ensure the recovery, care and well-being of all those involved.
This panel aims to promote an environment of learning, dialogue and reflection on the challenges facing mental health today, from an academic and professional practice context in the field of Social Work.
Therefore, this panel gathers results of empirical studies, reflections and proposals that promote the improvement of mental health care, as well as the care and treatment of people with mental disorders through the implementation of practices aimed at the recovery and full integration of the person in the community and the promotion of greater involvement and participation of these people in their own processes of improvement.
A.4. SOCIAL WORK AND CITIZENSHIP IN A PLURAL SOCIETY
Panel A4.1. Democracy, community and territory
Rubén Torregrosa Sarrión – Organising Committee
One of the most characteristic elements of Social Work has always been citizen participation and the involvement of people in the development processes. Thus, there are many initiatives to promote participation that are being articulated, aimed at increasing the levels of social capital and the development of capacities, thereby broadening the current democratic model with new visions.
We encourage you to present research focused on these processes of organisational strengthening, participation, empowerment and expansion of the democratic model, all of which have a direct impact on the people and the life of the community, and enable progress to be made in local governance and endogenous development of a territory.
It will also be important to have papers that focus on the analysis of community processes, their progress and difficulties, as well as their capacity for transformation and cohesion of the territory.
These are the main focuses of this panel; the topics are broad and allow for a wide range of proposals that revolve around this theme.
Panel A4.2. Gender, diversity, racialisation and intersectionality
Dr. Gabriela Moriana Mateo – Organising Committee
The definitions, uses and theoretical, methodological and political scope of the intersectional shift in feminist theory are the focus of this panel. The intersectional perspective emerges as a way of understanding power relations and the contexts in which social inequalities are produced by addressing the different historically situated social positions and classifications. Therefore, the aim is to establish reflection and dialogue between intersectional approaches and the contributions of feminist ideas from different historical and geopolitical contexts. It also aims to reflect on both the intersections of race and gender, and class and gender, and their consequences.
The intersectional shift in feminist theory has opened up multiple questions that have forced a constant reassessment and redefinition of concepts and proposals. It has also opened up an interest in the relationship between social position, structure, inequality, identity and experience. Likewise, one of the main interests of the intersectional turn is to analyse the different ways of being women in certain hierarchical socio-cultural contexts, the differences and similarities.
Thus, from an intersectional perspective, women put forward a series of cross-cutting demands and seek to enable the construction of horizontal dynamics based on the assumption of diversity and plurality, both in terms of identities and positions. The aim is to implement participatory democratic dynamics that question the institutionalisation of hegemonic social powers and to create narratives of resistance to a system of sex-gender and racialised class hierarchies from a feminist perspective, in order to incorporate the analysis of the various modes of domination.
Panel A4.3. Migrations and new forms of citizenship
Dr. Joan Lacomba Vázquez – Organising Committee
Migrations are an important driver of social transformations that include the field of Social Work itself. Social workers are some of the professionals with the greatest daily contact with migrants and refugees, and intervention with them has been present since the very origins of the profession.
Nowadays, intervention with migrant and refugee populations from the perspective of Social Work requires new theoretical approaches and methodological strategies that respond to the growing complexity of human displacement, both voluntary and forced. The mobility of migrants and refugees represents a challenge for a Social Work characterised by its usual action within the framework of the nation-state and its territoriality. Reflection on professional practice with migrants and refugees leads us to think about the role of methodological innovation or the place of attention to diversity in social interventions. Migrations also question current social policies and place the welfare state up against the mirror of its limitations in integrating new populations and attending their needs.
In addition to recurring issues, such as the exclusion and racism to which migrants are subjected, all contributions that help to make visible the new ways of approaching migrations and refugees from the perspective of Social Work will be particularly welcome at this panel, as well as those that help to transform the consideration of migrants as mere objects of intervention or simple recipients of social aid.
Panel A4.4. Citizen participation and political advocacy strategies
Mari Llum Campos Sanchis and María José Barbe Villarrubia – Organising Committee
Civil society has traditionally been defined as a sphere separate from the state, the market and the private sphere, perhaps because of its different form of organisation, but which maintains a relationship with the other spheres. This is why civil society participation is essential to find solutions to social problems, but because it is often carried out informally, it has been underestimated by the Social Sciences.
Citizen participation is the right of people to intervene, individually or collectively, in the definition, implementation and evaluation of public policies. This will be the starting point for analysing the different models, spheres and levels of participation through which citizens can influence the improvement of a global democracy.
In this sense, participation is a strategy for success and sustainability, a tool for the transformation of citizenship and the empowerment of the population. Beyond giving citizens a voice or involving them in the preparation of the diagnosis, the strategy also lies in involving people in the implementation and evaluation phases, with the aim of educating and generating a participatory culture to improve the predisposition to participate in other processes.
Citizen participation requires rigour and method, learning spaces for participation and structures where this right can be exercised. It is important, as Social Work professionals, to carry out a review of the practices and social processes of citizenship and to analyse its evolution in terms of how to participate.
A.5. A WORLD IN PROGRESS: OLD AND NEW METHODOLOGIES IN SOCIAL WORK
Panel A5.1. Contributions of ICTs to professional intervention
Alejandro Gil Salmerón – Organising Committee
In the face of all the social changes promoted by technological development and its application to all aspects of life, this panel aims to provide a space for the presentation and reflection of both theoretical works and empirical studies aimed at understanding the potential use that new information and communication technologies (ICTs) could have in the practice of Social Work.
In this sense, the panel will gather interventions that examine the history of the practice and use of ICT, the development and evaluation of interventions using ICT as a main component, as well as results of the current advantages and limitations of the use of ICT for the change of social reality in the framework of professional intervention.
Panel A5.2. Decision-making in the helping relationship and risks of dehumanisation in the profession
Lucas Joaquín Puig Navarro – Organising Committee
Decision-making of a complex nature accompanies Social Work professionals in the different fields of their professional activity. Accompanying users in order to maintain the promotion of the right to self-determination has not always been an easy task to carry out, given that certain paternalistic behaviours on the part of professionals are aimed at the opposite; neither the promotion of autonomy, nor empowerment, nor the maintenance of capacity. This leads to depersonalisation and, therefore, dehumanisation in terms of service.
The work overload, the shortage of continuous training in this sense, the absence of spaces for professional dialogue, among others, may be the causes of these situations that lead professionals to this type of practices that are distanced from the principles and values of Social Work.
The emergence of dilemmas linked to decision-making in the establishment of the helping relationship will require deliberative methods, as well as the necessary technical skills to guarantee the right to information for users, adapted in the terms they need in order to establish bonds that ensure respect for self-determination, the promotion of personal autonomy, and dignity.
Panel A5.3. Epistemology and methodology in Social Work
Dr. Ana Isabel Vázquez Cañete – Organising Committee
This panel is presented as an opportunity for analysis and reflection on the construction of Social Work, where the advancement of knowledge and its popularisation are scientific and ethical requirements in the discipline.
As the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) comments, current situations open up the possibility of identifying new scenarios for reflection and action, and of establishing questions about ways of knowing and ways of doing, as well as about the body of Social Work knowledge based on the theoretical approaches of the discipline, from Social Sciences and Humanities, and from traditional and indigenous knowledge.
Therefore, it is intended to include proposals that allow us to rethink the discipline, explore the articulation of academic expertise and knowledge linked to practice, from a reflective, local perspective, or from cross-cutting and transdisciplinary dialogues. It is, in short, a proposal for the construction of Social Work, in which the person and their interaction in a complex society are the central element.
Panel A5.4. Instruments for assessment, diagnosis and evaluation in Social Work
Aleix Tomas Sancho – Organising Committee
Assessment, diagnosis and evaluation (ADE) instruments are elements of professional practice in Social Work that have had to provide a response to the social complexities with which they intervene.
Some of these EDV instruments have been developed in recent years from a multidisciplinary viewpoint, with Social Work professionals being incorporated into their application, as in the case of the field of dependency; in other cases, such as in the professional field of childhood and family, they have also become users of instruments to facilitate the determination of social situations that redound in their diagnosis.
The issue of EDV instruments for the practice of Social Work raises different questions that influence the professional positioning within the social intervention framework. Therefore, it is worth considering the professional role, from the exploration of the needs for specific instruments in areas such as the evaluation of intervention, up to the development of these instruments based on research (and action), through the debate for their incorporation and consensus in the professional activity, and making them compatible with the profiles of Social Work itself.
The aim of this panel is to bring together contributions on experiences in the use of instruments and their influence on the improvement of practice, research on their development and implementation, as well as other elements, such as collaborative spaces or approaches to the debate on the presence of EDV instruments in the consolidation of professional methodology.
A.6.SOCIAL WORK, ETHICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: NEW CHALLENGES IN A GLOBAL SOCIETY
Panel A6.1. Ethics applied to Social Work
Dr. Carmen Montalbá Ocaña – Organising Committee
The ethical challenges that our profession faces now more than ever require spaces for reflection and the articulation of proposals. The context of the COVID-19 crisis has placed us in a strategic, but not always visible, position from which to enunciate the impacts of ageist policies on social and health care, the deficits in residential care, the social component of health, or the consequences of the digitalisation of life and social care, among many other issues.
In short, the discipline of Social Work provides a holistic view of social problems that facilitates reflection, transcending specific morals, and imposes, from an epistemological point of view, complex, reflective and critical views of professional practice.
This panel welcomes advances in this sense: proposals for ethical conflict resolution models applied to cases, analysis of ethical problems that affect our society, and questioning of social interventions. The aim is to share proposals to make progress in the professional and academic fields in the context of applied ethics being more transparent.
Panel A6.2. The ethical dimension of Social Work research
Dr. Sofía Pereira Garcí – Organising Committee
Traditionally, the discipline of Social Work has shown its concern for the moral and ethical aspects of the profession in its social action. This ethical dimension, however, has had a marginal consideration in the field of research in Spain.
In order to properly develop a thorough study, Social Work research must be congruent with the set of values, principles and norms that must guide the professional practice of social workers, as well as with the social context in which such research is carried out. Ethical commitment must be present in the different phases of the research process (design, fieldwork, analysis, writing and use of the research) and pay special attention to the relationship with the people who participate in the study.
This panel proposes to re-situate the relevance of the ethical dimension in Social Work research and offers the opportunity to analyse and critically reflect on ethical aspects of a procedural and practical nature that arise in research conducted by social workers. It also aims to explore the challenges and limitations we face, as well as the way in which the ethical dimension of research influences the processes of scientific production.
Panel A6.3. Critical perspectives on development: ecology, decolonial Social Work, Social Work in international development cooperation and Human Rights
Dr. Elena Mut Montalvá – Organising Committee
This panel aims to be a forum for exchange and discussion on the contribution of the discipline of Social Work to the debates on development, now more relevant than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a multiplier of vulnerabilities throughout the world. This includes theoretical frameworks and practices that are situated in different areas of Social Work and that discuss their limits and expand them from a de-colonial, feminist and eco-social perspective.
Critical perspectives on development can be grouped into two groups: "from" and "against" development. The first assumes that development is the solution to the current problems of exclusion, inequality and sustainability, and questions the effectiveness of developmentalist proposals. The second argues that the colonial and economistic assumptions implicit in the logics of development perpetuate the power dynamics that have led to the current problems we face today. The practical vocation of reflecting on development implies that the challenge is to move towards transformative practices in terms of equality and sustainability.
We will explore how to move from theory to transformative practice: are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) an instrument for transformation, or are they a limiting framework that keeps the debate and practice within the logics of the current world? Is it possible to think of a decolonial and sustainable development? We are interested in scientific works that, using a variety of methodological approaches, not only offer a global and/or local overview of inequalities, but also propose solutions (interventions, strategies, and policies).
Panel A6.4. New paradigms in Social Work: future scenarios
Dra. Ana Sales Ten– Comité Organizador
Modern societies are faced with major changes that sometimes occur almost unexpectedly and have repercussions on the emergence of new intervention contexts, which require changes in actors, institutions and public policy's agendas and bring about a need for updating.
In recent years, and also lately with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to observe how these changes have opened up new horizons in the profession, which has been able to position itself in the current scenario as a discipline of change from which entrepreneurial initiatives, social innovation projects and research aimed at responding to emerging needs have arisen.
The analysis of these transformations can lead to theoretical construction, the formulation of new definitions, and the establishment of new relationships between concepts and methods that serve as scientific support for the purpose of validating the results obtained both in research on social reality and in practical intervention. All this with the aim of generating knowledge that serves to improve professional intervention and to strengthen the role of the discipline of Social Work.
The objective is thus to reflect, analyse and show how the discipline is approaching social challenges and generating knowledge through the presentation of experiences of intervention, research or academic activities, in order to encourage future professionals to promote new areas of action, new responses and new professional scenarios.
Panel A6.5. Social Work when facing crisis situations. Challenges and initiatives to respond to the social consequences generated by crises such as the one caused by COVID-19
Elena Puig Reig and Alejandro Aurelio Ripoll Ferrando – Organising Committee
Social workers, according to article 17 of their Deontological Code, are committed to seeking and guaranteeing equal opportunities, access to resources and support to cover all individuals, groups and communities' needs, particularly those in situations of vulnerability and social disadvantage.
Social intervention when faced with crisis situations is carried out by specialised teams of Social Work in emergencies, with the collaboration of teams of voluntary social workers and through the reassignment of professionals from Municipal Social Services in the immediate attention of the emergency, as has happened in City Councils during the COVID-19 crisis.
The promotion of autonomy, stability, the rehabilitation and strengthening of people are the foundations of Social Work, and these tasks require the efforts of institutions, the analysis of what has happened and the recognition of the role of social workers in the post-emergency phase that occurs after a crisis situation, such as the one caused by COVID-19.
The contributions that will make up this panel will deal with the responses to the social consequences that are generated in crisis situations:
A.7. SOCIAL IMPACTS OF THE DIGITAL AGE
Panel A7.1. The evolution of employment, inequality and new forms of poverty
Laura Esteban Romaní – Organising Committe
In post-Fordist Western societies, occupational integration has been characterised as a decisive element for the social integration of citizens due to its socialising and income-generating functions. Moreover, most of the institutions of the welfare state have been built around the labour market. A person's active employment status provides him or her with rights in the present and in the future.
However, in recent decades, the onslaught of economic crises, the intensification of neoliberal policies, the new production processes, and the flexibilisation of labour relations, with the consequent loss of protective measures for workers and the precariousness of employment, have created a scenario in which employability no longer fulfils its traditional functions of social integration. New axes of inequality related to the employment market have emerged. Being outside the labour market continues to be an axis of exclusion, but having a job is no longer necessarily a guarantee of being able to cover subsistence and socialisation needs. People in the integration zone can move into the zone of vulnerability and social inequality within the framework of the market.
The Social Work profession, faced with the new realities of the 21st century, has the important challenge of proposing interventions and research in the field of occupational integration that promote structural changes in order to move towards a fairer and more egalitarian society.
Panel A7.2. Crisis of social protection systems
Dr. Sergio Belda Miquel – Organising Committee
Globally and in the European, Mediterranean and Spanish contexts, social protection systems are experiencing a deep, complex and multidimensional crisis.
This crisis can be understood on multiple levels, as it connects the longest cycle of crises in European welfare models since the end of the 20th century, with the crisis that began in 2008 and the current COVID-19 crisis, which is having enormous and uncertain consequences for social protection systems. It is a crisis, moreover, of a very diverse nature, as it entails a crisis of resources but also of identity, governance models and legitimacy, among other aspects.
It is also related to the difficulty of responding to the growing complexity of the phenomena it addresses, such as the precariousness of the middle classes and the new forms of poverty. On the other hand, it is directly linked to debates on other deep crises in our societies, such as the climate emergency and the general crisis of caregiving. Finally, it can be said that it is also serving to rethink our existing systems and is generating innovative models.
Thus, the crisis of social protection systems requires analysis at multiple levels, on multiple aspects and with different theoretical and methodological approaches, ranging from quantitative macro-studies to ethnography. It also invites contributions from different disciplines and from inter- or multidisciplinary studies. This panel is therefore open to diverse communications and aims to generate a plural debate on an issue that is not new, but which is becoming increasingly pressing nowadays.
Panel A7.3. Minimum incomes and the Basic Income: debates and proposals in the face of exclusion
María del Roser Talamantes Segarra – Organising Committee
The panel on minimum incomes and the Basic Income is a space for debate and reflection on the measures adopted to guarantee people's right to social inclusion, taking into account their circumstances, their full participation as citizens with equal rights in the social and economic life, and the financial provision that contributes to the satisfaction of the minimum material conditions.
Inequality in the distribution of income among households generates poverty rates; given this reality, in the international sphere, the Member States of the European Union have configured models of minimum income policies for the care of people in vulnerable situations.
Social Work, in this scenario in which the professional world is adjusting to the convulsive vicissitudes of the present times, contributes to generating knowledge through research into the scope of the implementation of minimum incomes.
In the field of research, it would be necessary to evaluate the impact of this vital income on the processes of vulnerability and social exclusion. The study of the impact of the vital income will be fundamental in the current pandemic situation: as it goes hand in hand with negative economic forecasts and, due to situations of economic or social crisis, places vulnerable groups or those at risk of vulnerability in a more difficult position to face the new challenges posed by the "new normality".
Panel A7.4. Social problems derived from digital consumption
María Jesús Morales Fenollosa – Organising Committee
The advances in new technologies in recent decades have posed a great intergenerational challenge for our society in terms of access to ICTs, especially for the older population.
New ways of interrelating have been created, with a loss of control over the use of time, sometimes increasing social isolation and, on other occasions, distorting social relationships, where discriminatory and derogatory patterns are highlighted.
Information is available to everyone at all times, however Fake News, whose sources are often far from verified and verified, become a challenge for the public. They are used in a propagandistic way, to influence trends and opinions in society, leading to chains of interactive responses on social networks.
Among young people, in order to be accepted in a peer group, it is necessary to be fashionable, and to buy, at all costs, everything that the influencers show off on their social networks, without taking into account the economic effort that this entails for parents, which has a negative impact on family dynamics.
Another widespread tendency is the consumption of online video games, which can affect children psychologically, and sometimes leads them to make purchases on the internet without parental control or by impersonating adults.
The new healthcare scenario has given a new twist to the social problems derived from digital consumption, opening up a new challenge towards a responsible use of the internet.
Panel A7.5. Digital divide and inequality
Dr. Enric Sigalat Signes – Organising Committee
In the current context of the information society, the changes brought about by the digital-technological revolution have taken place in an environment of social inequality, triggering a new division between people known as the "digital divide". The difficulty in taking advantage of the beneficial and advanced uses of the internet has become a new element of social exclusion and inequality. Differences in access are an element of inequality that exacerbates the digital divide.
Some authors maintain that there is an increase in inequality in the transition to technologically advanced societies and point to the question of the existence of not just one digital divide, but many: generational, technological accessibility, gender, territorial, and social, among others; all of which show us, in short, the impact of the digital divide within the bounds of a society that contains within itself profound inequalities, and where the digital divide increases the previously existing inequalities.
In the current process of societal digitalisation, there are people who have neither the infrastructures nor the knowledge necessary to interact digitally. They are the so-called "digital illiterates", people without basic skills for a normalised use of technology. With the aim of analysing the relationship between the digital divide and inequality, and how to address this gap from the perspective of Social Work and the Social Sciences, we hope to be able to discuss these and other issues in a space of exchange of knowledge, experiences and a shared learning community such as it is the present Congress.