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Social Work and Solidarity: In Search of New Paradigms

Historically, social work can be seen as an important actor in the creation of solidarity, operating on the tension between freedom and equality. In recent decades, the space for solidarity is under pressure due to developments of individualism and a focus on self-responsibility. This is entwined with the fragmentation of the European idea of solidarity and the dismantling or transformation of systems of social security and social protection. Professional social work is in danger of being reduced to a administrative instead of political profession and to be replaced by market-oriented actors or a focus on community care. This urges social work research and practice to rethink its position and to search for new paradigms or rekindle old ones, such as a focus on social rights, social justice, social protection, private public cooperation and the development of commons. Therefore, TiSSA invites experts from academic social work research, professional fields and policy to discuss these and other paradigms as a way forward for social work in its quest for solidarity at the TiSSA 2018 conference.