2006 | 9 | 53-69
Article title

'Enabling state' and its social work. Integrated help as a strength of a weak profession

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All the developed economies in the world use social work to deal with the current social problems, however in very different models. The number of social workers varies significantly among the countries, which results from the different assessments of social work capacity of solving the problems. In Western Countries the symptoms are to be seen that point to the growing importance of social work. This article analyses this tendency at the example of Germany. However Germany refutes the low status of this profession, it can demonstrate a new tendency in the field of social work. Strong points of social work derive surprisingly form its weaknesses, that is: a) social work is, because of its status, less hermetic than other professions that are practiced in expert manner exclusively, b) the fact that social work doesn't refer to narrow specialist indications means its potential strength - namely the interest in the 'human being as a whole'. Taking that perspective, the German example allows to show in the article that in different areas of social policy there is a need for sort of 'unprofessional professionalism' and the integral expertise, differing from those conducted in solely one discipline.
  • U. Otto, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany
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