Samhällsarbete i Norden : Diskurser och praktiker i omvandling
Sammanfattning: The dissertation deals with an inquiry concerning how the transformation of community work can be understood from a comparative perspective within the framework of social work in Scandinavia.Community work is examined by means of two main studies: an international literature review and an empirical study in four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden). The transformation is discussed in the light of theories of modernisation and discourse analysis.The results propose that the transformation is characterised by differentiation, both divergence and convergence. The discourses are far from constant, while the practices seem to remain the same. There are surprisingly many similarities between settlement work and contemporary community strategies across the globe. Since the 1980´s, they have expanded rapidly because of the political and ideological changes within welfare states – towards decentralisation and devolution. The concept of community work has been replaced by a plurality of community-orientated concepts. Within social work, it has converged into community social work.The transformation of Nordic community work has also moved towards a national and local diversity. The Nordic countries share similar phases of transformation of community work, but also have traits of their own. In general, community work has been carried out as projects. Denmark is characterised as the promised land of projects, Finland as the community land of minimal number of projects, Norway as the land of co-ordinated projects, and Sweden as the land of structural project-ideology. The transformation has also resulted in a polarisation – an increased professionalisation in academic communities and deprofessionalisation in practice. A constant problem with community work is its temporary nature, due to dependence upon recurring projects. There is a great need for sector transcending and integrating research, knowledge and practice development within the area of community policy and practice, including community work.
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