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Kunskapsbildning, akademisering och professionalisering i socialt arbete

Författare Peter Dellgran
Staffan Höjer
Datum för examination 2000-06-05
ISBN 91-628-4239-0
Förlag Göteborg :Kompendiet
Förlagsort Göteborg
Publiceringsår 2000
Publicerad vid Institutionen för socialt arbete
Språk sv
Ämneskategorier Socialt arbete


At the end of the 1970s, social work was established as an academic discipline with research,professorships and PhD programmes. This dissertation consist of a number of studies andarticles on the development and production of academic knowledge and research in Sweden, withspecial attention to implications for the relations between basic education, research andsocial work practice. These relations could be hold as the core dynamic in applied social workbut also a source of tensions and controversies. The dissertation consists of five articlesand a separate report (Dellgran & Höjer 1999). Following empirical data is analysed; (1) thefirst 89 PhD dissertations social work between 1980-1998; (2) more than 500 theses written bystudents on Bachelor´s and Master´s level 1977-97; (3) two examples of comprehensive theoryfor social work practice with great influence on social work education; (4) curriculums andcourses in PhD-programs, and (5) literature on research methods within BSW-programmes. Our aimis to describe profiles of topics and subject matters, research methods, use and extension oftheory, and to discuss important factors behind these patterns and some crucial aspects of thedevelopment of the discipline. Both PhD dissertations and undergraduate theses are heterogeneous and include a wide range ofdifferent types of social problems and interventions. Regarding epistemological positions,qualitative methods dominates. To explain the predominance of qualitative methods a number ofhypotheses involving both cognitive and social components are presented (the knowledgehypothesis, the cultural hypothesis, the resemblance hypothesis, the hypothesis of theparadigmatic development). On the whole the PhD dissertations gives the impression of adiscipline with a great deal of knowledge import, theoretical pluralism and a high level ofparadigmatic openness. On the other hand, sociology has a very strong position. The role ofpsychology is more concealed, and so far no Swedish dissertation has been dominated byreferences to social work. In the theses the situation for psychology and sociology isprincipally reversed.The growth of junior and senior research has slowly begun to influence the production of newknowledge. If this could be labelled a "10/90-situation", we believe we are heading for a"50/50-situation". This is a metaphor for saying that future research in social work willsimultaneously develop abstract, cumulative knowledge of its own and continue to useknowledge, produced outside the discipline. Another metaphor describes the direction of socialwork science as an initial rural landscape of knowledge with a certain degree of urbanisation,consisting of growing socio-cognitive networks of researchers. The result may be an exclusionof certain topics and areas and a troublesome narrowing of social work, at least as a researchtask. Furthermore, this dual development of deeper but more narrow scientific knowledge, iseffecting the relation with the profession, social work management and other stakeholders withspecific, but various, knowledge demands.

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