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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Nordic Social Work Research

For a Special Issue on
Social Work in a multilingual world

Abstract deadline
01 May 2022

Manuscript deadline
01 September 2022

Cover image - Nordic Social Work Research

Special Issue Editor(s)

Kristina Gustafsson, department of social work, Linnaeus university
[email protected]

Sabine Gruber, department of social work, Mid Sweden University

Eva Norström, department of social work, Linnaeus university

Linnéa Åberg, department of social and behavioural studies, University West

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Social Work in a multilingual world

In this thematic issue, social work as a multilingual practice is addressed. The main purpose of the issue´s contributions is to expand and explore the intersection of (1) social work as a multilingual practice; (2) the monolingual national framework and legacy of the Nordic countries and (3) the increase of multilingual clients in social work due to global migration. By doing so, the special issue responds to the fact that multilingualism is commonly overlooked in social work research, education, and practice.

Previous research, spanning over several disciplines and fields have pointed out how a general lack of multilingual consciousness and competence affects decision-making, policy-making, and legislation in such a way that it undermines equity, social justice, and legal security both nationally and globally. Linguistic power asymmetries generate, sustain, and enforce social divisions based on ethnicity, gender, class, age, disability, and their different intersections. Hence, there is an urgent need for more critical theories of multilingualism in social work to improve professionalism and practice.

Recent studies in social work about social child welfare, case working, child language brokering, public service interpreting, translation and digitalisation have shown that development of theory would involve examining linguistic diversity, hierarchies, privileges, subordination, and justice in social work. It would also involve how language is handled, manipulated, and negotiated in relation to different forms of attitudes and mindsets, that is language as a problem, a possibility and/or a right Furthermore, theorising includes the recognition of how multilingualism gives foundation for power asymmetries but also how they can be negotiated.

However, the need for more theorising must be preceded by empirical studies that take the above discussed perspectives and challenges further and explores the contemporary situation of the Nordic welfare states and beyond, where social work, performed in formal and informal settings, by authorities as well as by the civil society, takes place in an expanding multilingual and textual and non-textual landscape.

Based on the above, we welcome contributions, that critically investigate and/or discuss one or several of the following suggested topics:

  • Different social work arenas and settings where multilingualism is at stake.
  • The situation and conditions of various groups and individuals, that is First Nation languages, national minority groups, marginalised language groups or intersecting conditions such as gender, ability and age.
  • Multilingual encounters and interactions between social workers, clients and/or policymakers.
  • Multilingual information, communication and the expanding digital and textual landscape.
  • Aspects of multilingual education, teaching and training in social work.
  • Policy, ideology, and ethics of multilingualism in a historical perspective.
  • Different perspectives on innovations, interventions, theory and methods used in the field of multilingual social work.

These topics are not exclusive to the Nordic region and the call is open to contributions from all countries.

Submission Instructions

The editorial team welcomes abstracts of no more than 400 words excluding the titles and e-mail addresses of the authors. Deadline for submission of abstracts is May 1st 2022 to [email protected]

The Guest editors will conduct an initial screening of submitted abstracts. Those judged suitable for the special issue will be asked to submit full papers (7000 words), due September 1st, 2022. The special issue is scheduled for publication in summer 2023.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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