Sozial work is a typically modern profession and discipline. Ist development was necessitated by the economic, social and political transformation which marked the transition from a traditional to a modern society. Ist mandate is to support people, threatened with isolation, poverty, marginalisation as well as their psychological implications to realise their social citizenship. This development took place in various phases which are briefly introduced, in parallel with the various models of "welfare regimes" that came to characterise European nation states. The purpose of the module is to show that "helping" of this formal kind impliesthe mediation between "private troubles" and "public issues" and is therefore always of a political nature.
The module provides participants with a basic understanding of the specific nature of social work as an academic discipline and as a profession from an historical perspective. It therefore helps to correct misunderstandings of the helping process in social services and allows to recognise the personal and the political nature of this highly delicate process. Students will learn that the processes that brought about modern societies, with their promises of liberty and equality but also with their dangers of dependency, destitution and exclusion, are continuously at work. They will be able to identify the outlines of similarities and differences between present social policy options and those of early industrialisation.