Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

European Journal of Social Work

For a Special Issue on

“Social Space: Creating Condizioni – Milieus – Territorio – Landscapes”

Abstract deadline
01 June 2023

Manuscript deadline
20 January 2024

Cover image - European Journal of Social Work

Special Issue Editor(s)

Prof Dr Fabian Kessl, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Department of Educational Science
[email protected]

Prof Dr Christian Reutlinger, OST, Institute for Social Work and Spaces (IFSAR)
[email protected]

Prof Dr Griet Roets, Ghent University, Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy
[email protected]

Prof Dr Hanne Warming, Roskilde University, Department of Social Sciences and Business
[email protected]

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“Social Space: Creating Condizioni – Milieus – Territorio – Landscapes”

Every human action has its place and space. Social practices cannot be ‘spaceless’ or ‘placeless’, neither can they be de-connected from time and history. This is true in general everyday life interactions in our societies, as well as in interactions of users and social work professionals in particular which are intrinsically influenced by historical, social, cultural, political, economic and spatial circumstances. This becomes especially clear if we focus on childhood and adolescence, since the younger generation is growing up in a time juncture that challenges us to explore past, present, and future hopes and aspirations for our societies.

Nevertheless, the spatial dimension of social work and public service delivery often serves as a ‘wallpaper of practice’. The spatial dimension has been mostly reduced to a specific and unchangeable place, such as a building, a street, or a mere context. Spatiality is however not reducible to the
physical-material dimension of place and space. To avoid such reductionist understanding of place/space, the concept of “social space” can be quite helpful as a starting point and a laboratory in giving depth to social work and social pedagogical knowledge in professional practice development and
social work education.

This special issue therefore focuses on the potentials of such a socio-spatial perspective in social work and social services research. A socio-spatial perspective entails a de-naturalisation of an essentialist meaning of place, yet explores the ongoing production of space as dynamic, relational, complex, and contested. Space thus refers to the symbolic meaning of space with reference to interrelationships in which physical-material, social and political-economic power relations are dynamically interwoven. Spatial conditions, landscapes, or territories are being shaped by, and shaping, social and power relations, and provide relevant circumstances and milieus for the practices of social professions and services in their work with children and youth.
Therefore, the relevance of space has to be reflected upon systematically, yet not as a given, a historic dimension. The special issue invites contributions that situate their analyses in current welfare state transformations. To understand social professions on the background of such a perspective, spatial conditions as well as social relations have to be seen as historical-specific, powerful, and politically, economically, and culturally performed. Space is thus both the producer and product of historical, social, cultural, economic and political relations, social inequalities such as class, gender, race and ethnicity, age, and disability, and social and political action.

The aim of this themed special issue of the European Journal of Social Work (EJSW) is to bring together a set of theory-driven and empirically grounded articles. The proposed Special Issue wants to elaborate on the conceptional as well as empirical potential of this perspective in social work, social pedagogy, and social service research with children and youth. Articles should also integrate a specific theoretical position and focus on specific European developments. The Special Issue will offer an insight in different European contexts, what is symbolically represented in the multi-lingual second part of the title: “Condizioni – Milieu – Territorio – Landscapes”. We encourage contributions from a broad range of geographical, social and political contexts, and invite original theoretical contributions which might engage, amongst others with social policy, social work, social pedagogy, critical social geography, architecture and urban planning, and address central questions such as:

. the place and space of an institutional care (e.g. ‘spacing’ the life of children and youngsters living in residential care);
. The place and space of out-reach social and social-pedagogical work
. the re-scaling of social services on the local and community level (e.g. critical reflections on the influence and popularity of ‘community orientation’, which has been framed as a relevant level of governance in the last years);
. ‘non-public public spaces’: privatizing the public (e.g. youth work in commercialised urban context);
. educational and youth places/spaces under transformation (e.g. homeschooling as a ‘closed shop’, or reproducing milieus in formal as well as informal educational spaces).

Submission Instructions

The guest editors invite you to submit an abstract of your proposed paper (not exceeding 300 words). This should be sent to all the editors via email.

From the submitted abstracts the guest editors will select those on which they will invite full submission. The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 1st of June 2023. Decisions on the commissioning of full papers will be made by the end of the first week of July 2023. Authors invited to
prepare their full paper must submit it by the 20th of January 2024.

All papers submitted will be subject to full peer review prior to decisions on publication. All papers finally accepted will be published in either the themed issue or a regular issue of the journal.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article