Peter Herrmann

Outline of Module – SA317, Research Project and Placement – SS5400 in the Higher Diploma 2004/2005

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The SA317 module will give an overview over social professions and the different understanding (a) from different sub-sections of the professions, (b) in regard of different policy issues and (c) different socio-political actors. The use of social professional action is somewhat problematic. As will be shown, this is not meant to argue along the lines of recognised professions in the strict sense. Lay knowledge, social movements, social action and others will be seen as highly relevant in the context of social policy making. However, it is argued for a limitation of such openness in two points:

a) A more general concern is given by the fact that a too broad approach is not suitable to acknowledge the fact that basically any human action is influencing «the social». However, at the same time there is some more specific area and action that requires special attention and – taking the given society as the point of reference – that can and has to be seen as distinct.

b) Furthermore, certain activities and actions require professional approaches – during the course it will be clarified what exactly this means. Already here, it can be said that accordingly in certain areas it is highly problematic to simply acknowledge lay knowledge, social activism and the like as equally suitable answers.

Both questions will be elaborated more in detail in the first part of the course – elaborating as well different concepts and meanings of «professionalisation».

In each part of the course, some general theoretical issues will be closely linked to questions of political practice. Theoretical issues means in this case that major methodological questions will be raised. This means that the content of the course is rather varied and complex. It means as well that some issues will be dealt with in a more «casual way». In particular the questions around methodology will be raised more in a way of «occasional exemplification». In other words, this means as well that many of the issues will be tackled in different sessions, so that the outline is a guideline only and overlaps will be consciously included in the sessions.

The first three blocks will take the form of lectures and seminars in a more traditional sense. Some general information on the role, function and reach of local social policy will be part of those lectures. However, the fourth block will mainly comprise independent project research and action by the students – further information on this will be provided in part II. Although the traditional lecture/seminar style will be pursued to an extent that is worthwhile to be mentioned, students are asked to participate. At least, questions should be raised to clarify subjects but as well to make different opinions known.

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0.        Methodological prolegomena           
Theory of society systematising cognition or Marxism as a general theory of the analysis of society

  1. Looking at what social professions are and pointing out some of its elements

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      Problems and challenges – the «normalisation» of social professional intervention            
This will include an outlook on the history of social professions and a look at social policy issues            
A major aspect of the methodological debate in this section will be a look at different theories of the state

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       Social Quality – social intervention in the light of the theory of modernisation     
On the one hand, Social Quality can be seen in itself as a theory in its own right. The underlying theoretical approaches will be touched upon. On the other hand, there will be a debate  on thetheory of modernisation and civilisation (with emphasis of Elias’ theory). As well, an overview of phenomenology will be provided.

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               Social administration and social management   
System theoretical paradigms and sociology of organisation will be the relevant methodological perspectives.

  1. «Institutes» and «Actors» – determining the tensional field of acting – including the different institutions and actors, allowing  a look at the leading ideologies and values and the socio-economic order

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      Capitalist economy – regulation through the market as general mechanism of regulation of social relationships? 
Methodologically, fundamental principles of political economy, in particular liberalism and neo-liberalism

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      State and economy – a regulationist perspective             
This includes methodologically the presentation of Marxist political economy and philosophy

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      Society – and the illusion of a civil society       
Idealist dialectics (Hegel), mechanistic Materialism (Feuerbach) and historical and dialectical materialism (Marx) will be the guiding methodological approach

  1. Different aggregative levels of social professional action

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      The welfare state – the national character of its foundation in the nation state       
Institutionalism, structuralism and functionalism will be included here in terms of methodology

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                Welfare capitalism – the theory of welfare regimes and the question of an emerging welfare state
Questions of a methodology of a comparative perspective will be tackled. Another prominent area will be feminism

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      EU-social policy as part of European integration            
In regards to methodology a look at realist and functionalist approaches will be included here.

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       Local social policy – what, why and how?         
This will deal again with structuralism, functionalism and state theory. In regard of the latter, in particular questions around federalism will be looked at. Furthermore, systems theoretical elements will be used to approach questions of policy implementation.

  1. Local social policy – historical perspective in comparison.     
    This part of the course is entirely project work and will only be supervised during the year. This means as well, that it will not be part of the main hours of the course. As project work, it is task of the students to work on the project. This will be marked both individually and collectively, meaning as group work. The share of the marks for group work is 30 %, the individual part is marked with 70 %.
    As possible individual topics, you can consider for example one of the following – but be conscious that this is not an exhaustive list.

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social problems and challenges

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historical points of change – problems/challenges and/or contexts and/or institutions

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statutory local institutions/bodies of social policy

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various local actors in the field of social policy, e.g. market, third sector organisations, social movements

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access, quality and sustainability of social services

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local social policy in the perspective of social quality

The action part (see as well below, part II) will be a particular issue for the group work. This is concerned with the aspect of visibility of social policy and social professional activities and as well with mechanisms of keeping social policy in a sometimes stigmatising way «out of consideration».

II

As said, part of the course is thought as action research. This will be organised in cooperation with the Fachhochschule Nordhausen, Gemany, a group of students personally taught and supervised by Sabine Herrenbrueck. The exact research plan will be discussed during the second session of the course.

The idea and plan goes back to some work which had been done elsewhere and on another topic. A group of young people investigated local history. In concrete terms their interest had been to look at the following question: In a German town, with a concentration camp nearby, the young people wanted to look for the traces of this camp in the town itself. Where did the incarcerated people actually work (some of them did it in the town itself, being strictly observed by SS-guards)? Where did they move – as well which way did they go when they had been brought to the camp? What did the people actually know about the camp? … Answering all these questions showed as well some points, places and ways in the town itself. The group «wrote these spots on the ground». This had been a long line on through parts of the town, marking the suffering. The German language can name this a «Leidfaden», «Leid» standing for suffering, «Faden» for line.

But «Leidfaden» is an artificial term, a play with words. The actual term with a similar pronunciation is the «Leitfaden» – here «Leit» stands for guidance. This «Leitfaden» is a code of practice, a guideline or a compendium. The idea of the action research here is to look at both aspects, the «Leid» and the «Leit» – the suffering of the people, social misery etc. and the guidance and action to overcome same.

The rough plan is as follows;-

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It has to be researched which main problems, challenges and policies can be found in the two locations, namely Cork and Nordhausen.

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The students will research the situation in their own town, but as well will do some «distance research» in the partner town.

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This requires close cooperation. The students are as well  asked to acquire basic knowledge of the history and the (socio-)economical and political system of the other country.

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Part of the action research project will be as well an excursion, meaning a visit from Nordhausen to Cork and vice versa.[1]

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Aim of this excursion is

    to get to know the concrete conditions in the partner town

     to make visible, together with the other students, the social problems and challenges and as well social professional activities and «counter activities» for the population in the towns in question.  
«Counter activities» comprise activities that enhance social challenges (as for instance closures of major companies, allowing major housing speculations, closure of a «social market» by main actors …) but as well «positive action» as for example networking, emerging social movements …

It is important that the students get closely involved in the research in both locations. This means they have to actively support the research in the partner college. Furthermore, they are required to make an own input in a comparative perspective.

Regarding the presentation, this will be geared to three groups of recipients, namely:

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population in Cork and Nordhausen respectively

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local and national politicians

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a wider group of possibly interested people – this means an outlook on the research process and the presentation of the results has to be made up for Internet presentation as part of the website http://socialpolicy.ucc.ie. This includes the web-presentation of important general information on the countries and the social policy respectively (documentation, core texts, core legal texts/laws …)

It will be considered if during the study visits a special lecture will be given by the staff involved. This may be an open lecture on policy in the country in question or a more specific lecture to the/a group of students or else.

During the excursion «sub-excursions will be planned:

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For Nordhausen: Dora and «peasants picture» for Nordhausen.

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For Cork: Kinsale

The visitors from Nordhausen will come to Cork early January 2005, the visit in Cork will take place end of April 2005.

Literature

The following mentions basic documents and should be read by all students attending the Module and taking part in the research project. However, in some cases you might find «equivalents», substantially looking at the same topics, however providing the information in a way you find more suitable. There is no obligation to stick to the literature listed. However, make sure that the relevant topics are listed.

Additional literature will be mentioned during the year. As well, documents will be posted on the course website. So the documents listed in the following (in alphabetical order) are just a few «essentials».

 

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Allen, Kieran, 2000:   
The Celtic Tiger. The Myth of Social Partnership in Ireland; Manchester/New York, Manchester University Press

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Baars, Jan/ Beck, Wolfgang/Herrmann, Peter/v.d. Maesen, Laurent J.G./Walker, Alan C., 2003:        
Social Quality. A Sustainable Project for Europe. Briefing Paper for the Round Table of the European Commission; Amsterdam: The European Foundation on Social Quality

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Clancy, Patrick et alt. (eds.), 1995:        
Irish Society: Sociological Perspectives; Dublin: Institute of Public Administration

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Clasen, Jochen/Freeman, Richard (Eds.), 1994:  
Social policy in Germany; New York : Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1994

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Commission of the European Communities/Council of the European Union, 2004:
Joint report by the Commission and the Council on social inclusion; Brussels: Council of the European Union; http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/soc-prot/soc-incl/final_joint_inclusion_report_2003_en.pdf

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Cousins, Mel, 1995:    
The Irish Social Welfare System. Law and social policy; Dublin: The Round Hall Press

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Cousins, Mel, 2002:    
Social Welfare Law; 2nd ed; Dublin: Thomson Round Hall

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Crouch, Colin, 1999:  
Social Change in Western Europe; Oxford: Oxford University Press

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Curry, John, [1980] 20034:        
Irish social services; Dublin: Institute of Public Administration

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Dean, Hartley, 2002:   
Welfare Rights and Social Policy; Harlow: Pearson Education

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Elias, Norbert, 1939:   
The Civilizing Process. Translated by Edmund Jephcott with some notes and corrections by the author; revised edition, ed. By Eric Dunning, Johan Goudsblom And Stephen Mennel; Oxford: Blackswell, 2000

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Esping-Andersen, Gøsta, 1990:              
The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism; Cambridge: Polity Press

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Foster, Nigel/Sule, Satish: German Legal System and Laws; Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press; 2002

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Geyer, Robert, 2000:  
Exploring European Social Policy; Cambridge: Polity Press

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Goffman, Erving, 1974:             
Frame Analysis. An Essay on the Organization of Experience; New York: Harper & Row, 1986

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Government of the Federal Republic of Germany:            
Federal Republic of Germany. National Action Plan to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion (NAPincl) 2001-2003; http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/news/2001/jun/napincl2001de_en.pdf

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Government of the Federal Republic of Germany:            
Strategies to Enhance Integration. National Action Plan against Poverty and Social Exclusion 2003-2005; http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/news/2001/jun/nap_03_05_en_fassung.pdf

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Government of the Republic or Ireland:              
National Action Plan against Poverty and Social Exclusion 2003-2005; http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/news/2001/jun/napincl_ir_en.pdf and http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/news/2001/jun/annex_ir_en.pdf

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Government of the Republic or Ireland:              
National Action Plan against Poverty and Social Exclusion (NAPincl) 2001-2003. Ireland; http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/news/2001/jun/napincl2001irl_en.pdf

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Marshall, Tom H., 1950:           
Citizenship and Social Class; in: Marshall, Tom H./Bottomore, Tom: Citizenship and Social Class; London et altera: Pluto Press, 1992

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Marx, Karl/Engels, Frederick, 1845-46:
The German Ideology. Critique of modern German Philosophy According to its Representatives Feuerbach, Ba. Bauer and Stirner, and of German Socialism According to its Various Prophets; in: Karl Marx/Frederick Engels. Collected Works. Volume 5. Marx and Engels: 1845-47; London: Lawrence& Wishart, 1976 (here pages 19-93)

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Pierson, Christopher/Castles, Francis G. (Eds.), 2000:     
The Welfare State. A Reader; Cambridge: Polity Press

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Porter, Sam, 1998        
Social Theory and Nursing Practice; Houndsmills: Palgrave

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Quinn, Suzanne et altera (eds.), 1999:   
Contemporary Irish Social Policy; Dublin: University of Dublin Press

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Tovey, Hilary/Share, Perry, 20032:        
A Sociology of Ireland; Dublin: Gill&Macmillan


 

[1]          To organise this as far as possible with limited costs students are asked to think about the possibility to accommodate partner students in their own home – for (two times) one week such restricted living conditions may well be bearable.