Family matters are not just domestic affairs: a perspective on social pedagogy in social work
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In the last few decades, the traditional concept of family has weakened while the development of numerous new constellations has gained a lot of attention. Convention sees family as a nuclear social formation, where heterosexual parents raise their children well. This view attests to the potential for healthy functioning in a variety of family arrangements, and to the stability of these social environments. In the turmoil of our rapidly changing world, the value of system orientation is changing and questions are being raised over what is an ordinary landscape of family life, its constellations and optimal functioning. This article raises familyrelevant issues and discusses social pedagogy in family social work, particularly related to social care in Sweden intended for socially vulnerable populations such as the elderly, members of minority ethnic groups, and persons with disabilities suffering from discrimination and social exclusion. It is concluded that – in these populations – the family constellation, be it traditional or modern, is not really the issue, since public social care service constructions have mostly replaced traditional caring relations within families with leveling institutional structures. The social pedagogy in family social work professional practice is conducted using socio-ecological approaches for assessment, treatment and service delivery, for the improvement of individual wellbeing referred to as the individual, social and sociopolitical life-world context.
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