torstai 21. toukokuuta 2015

Thursday's lectures

Midday´s lectures of the second summer school day were provided by Johanna Heffel from the University of Applied Sciences Voralberg Austria and Christian Stark from the University of Applied Schiences Upper Austria Linz.

"Sex, Work, Sexwork - Social work in a growing field of the European precariat" was the topic of Heffel's lecture. Heffel described that a single type of sex work/sex worker does not exist and sex work is complex, hierarchically organized and highly stigmatized. Sex work and human trafficking has become a major international problem, which nowadays has recognized also in Finland. The Starks's lecture related to the intercultural social work between the poles of thematisation and dethematisation of culture. The more economic and political globalization takes root, the more important initiatives of intercultural learning and intercultural social work become. Stark highlighted that intercultural learning deals not only with cultures but also more generally with diversity. At their student panel, the students from Austria told us, for example, that the amount of foreigners in Austria is growing. At the moment, 12 percent of Australian have an immigrant background. The economic situation in Austria is relatively healthy and therefore it´s possible for immigrants to find a job from Austria.

On Thursday evening, we had some parallel lectures, and we choose to go listening to Prof. Dr. Nijole Petronele Veckiene’s and Dr. Julija Eidukevicute’s lectures about the aspects of Interculturality of family social work in Lithuania, and Roberta Motieciene’s lecture about what it is like to do social work with the families in Lithuania. It was very interesting to hear about social work in Lithuania. The number of families at social risk has been rising in the past 18 years. It also seems that in Lithuania women have greater responsibility to take care of the children and household than men do. The term "family at social risk" is associated with the term "multi problem family" used in the academic literature of social work. The most common reasons why families live in demanding life situation are alcohol addiction and lack of social skills. According to the study, social workers describe their work interesting, hard, responsible, societal, complicated, special, interesting and requiring. Sensibility, docility and support are considered also very important.

Thursday’s last lecture was Abayomi Magbagbeola’s lecture about the perspectives and analysis of social work and social workers in Nigeria. We were very excited to hear about social work in Nigeria, because we think that compared with Finland it is so different. Early missionaries were Salvation Army, Roman Catholic and the Green triangle. But first of all, Nigeria has a traditional support system, which includes for example the extended family system, the clans and traditional beliefs. Also the voluntary organizations and the associations have the important role in social welfare. Social work in Nigeria is mostly therapeutic work and religion has a remarkable role in it. Social work is a response to social problems that prevails in the society. According to Magbagbeola, social work is also not just as a course to study but a passion to fulfil and social work can be considered as a tool solving societal challenges, which arise usually from modernization or globalization and rural-urban migration. Social work is a paradox of order and chaos and balancing between the traditional and the modern social work practice.

- Mari Salomaa & Anni-Maria Kattilakoski, University of Lapland, Finland

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