INTRODUCTION – Extract
It is becoming increasingly clear that our world is a global community. For social service researchers, awareness of community issues and concerns needs to extend beyond traditional boundaries with an awareness of competent and comprehensive approaches that stretch far beyond the confines of our geographic neighborhoods. One can turn on the television or surf the Internet and quickly see events almost as they happen across the globe. It is clear technology has opened many doors and new possibilities for improving the health and social welfare of populations throughout the world. Certainly, there are many examples of how occurrences across the oceans affect social service related topics—no matter where we live.
The editor for the Journal of Social Service Research and the guest editors of this special two-part issue all agree that what we learn from other societies and cultures will strengthen our own approaches to social services and social living. Therefore, one way to strengthen our own knowledge and strategy is to see how those across our global community approach social problems. From these examples, we can learn the barriers to success and why standard approaches using a “one-size-fits-all” approach will fall short no matter how comprehensive and evidence based the applied strategy is believed to be. Simply stated, what works in one social service community may not work in another, regardless of the evidence to support it if environmental circumstances are not considered.
Parts one and two of this special issue provide a selection of articles chosen specifically to create a learning environment where these social scientists can investigate phenomena in other societies examining social service changes taking into account different economic, social, and cultural influences. There are also several articles that examine services through the eyes of the providers actually preforming the service. The study of international social welfare is an imperative that will move all researchers beyond any self-imposed barriers, allowing for a more connected and cooperative world community.
The first article in this special issue is titled “Social Capital Change: Investigating Old and New Generations of Rural Communities. Case Study: Ghasran Rural District, Shemirant Region, Tehran.” This study examines the viewpoints of 319 individuals in a rural district in Tehran, Iran. The authors, M. Goudarzi, N. Aghamohseni, and M. Jomehpour, examine the crucial role social capital plays and how being exposed to technological advances has heightened generational differences with young individuals, especially those with higher education levels. How this exposure has affected social bonding is explored along with the potential affects that can result within this rural community related to family ties, relations, reciprocity, and the wide range of rural networks. The authors urge future researchers to examine further the roles of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and how they can continue to assist in developing social capital.
It has become clear that our world is a global community. Part two of this special issue continues to highlight the need for social service researchers to embrace the global society. Making this connection requires a subsequent awareness of community issues and concerns that can be experienced across the globe. Informed, efficient and effective policies and services require an extension beyond the traditional boundaries set by geographic neighborhoods. As emphasized in Part One, all competent and comprehensive approaches must take into account the experiences and lessons learned by our colleagues within our global community. Technology has allowed almost immediate information from across the globe to be broadcast to our electronic devices where-ever the individual lives. This technology has opened many doors and new possibilities for improving the health and social welfare of populations throughout the world. The editor for the Journal of Social Service Research and the guest editors of this special two-part issue all agree that what we learn from other societies and cultures will strengthen our own approaches to social services and social living.
Part Two of this special issue follows in the tradition of Part One and continues to strengthen our own knowledge and strategy by seeing how similar issues are being addressed across the globe. This exposure is intended to help avoid a “one-size-fits-all” approach that neglects the nuances of the culture that surrounds the services provided. Simply stated, what works in one social service community may not work in another, regardless of the evidence to support it when the “person-in-situation and environmental circumstances are not considered. In turn, the same information that works in one area of the globe may also have the potential to work in another. Both volumes of this special issue provide a selection of articles chosen specifically to create a learning environment where these social scientists can investigate phenomena taking into account different economic, social, and cultural influences. There are also several articles that examine services through the eyes of the providers actually preforming the service.
The study of international social welfare is an imperative that will move all researchers beyond any self-imposed barriers, allowing for a more connected and cooperative world community. The first article in this special issue is titled “Paternal Risk Factors for Child Maltreatment and Father’s Participation in a Primary Prevention Program in Germany” by Franka Metzner, Olga Wlodarczyk, and Silke Pawils. This article discusses and identifies parental risk factors as well as protective factors and the importance of a father’s involvement among 506 families in Germany. Furthering the importance of connections within the family system the second article titled “Cross-Cultural Validation of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory in Finland: Preliminary Findings of the Study among Parents Expecting a Baby” by Noora Ellonen, Sari Lepisto, Mika Helminen & Eija Paavilainen strives helps to identify predictors of physical child abuse. This study uses an American measure to look at this same concept with 380 Finnish families and finds it compatible for cross-cultural use in this sample.
When looking specifically at older adults the article titled “To Coordinate Information in Practice: Dilemmas and Strategies in Care Management for Citizens with Dementia” by Jonas Nordh & Ann-Charlotte Nedlund outlines the merits of taking a qualitative approach toward assessing the need for social services for people with dementia. The fourth article titled “Implementation of a Community-Based Approach to Dementia Care in England: Understanding the Experiences of Staff” by Nadia Brookes follows a similar path and also takes a qualitative approach. She explores the perceptions of staff workers in England regarding the implementation of a community-based project that supports people living with dementia.
In the social service field, due to heavy case-loads and difficult working conditions the next article titled “Intention to Leave the Profession: Welfare Social Workers Compared to Health Care and Community Social Workers in Israel” by Michal Itzick & Maya Kagan, examines the specific work related-factors among health care and community social workers and the factors that affect turn-over that lead to the intention of leaving the profession.
Taking into account sexual exploitation an article titled “Mixed-Gender Shelter-Based Service for Child Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) in Italy: A Case Study” by Barbara Maculan, Eleonora Lozzi, and Emily F. Rothman explores the global problem. This study utilizes a single case study that identifies an innovative model of after-care involving a mixed gender, mixed-caseload model of shelter-based service provision for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC), child abuse victims, and court-involved youth in Italy.
To look directly at funding and community contributions the article titled “Zakat As A Social Safety Net: Assessing Its Perception In A Less-Developed Rural District In Pakistan” by Mahtab Ahmad, Sophia F. Dziegielewski, Ibrar Tariq, & Abbirah Zulfiqar Bhutta takes into account how religious tradition and social service provision can be melded together and the subsequent benefits and concerns that may also result when government and religious beliefs connect to finance social service programs.
The importance of developing client focused autonomy is highlighted in an article titled “Pathway to Financial Success: Autonomy through Financial Education in India” by Harsha Vijaykumar Jariwala & Sophia F. Dziegielewski. This article stresses the importance of financial education workshops on the financial autonomy of the participants (homemakers) in India.
In terms of fostering evidence-based practice and bridging the potential gap between practitioner and educator, author and researcher Ercument Erbay contributed an article titled “Importance of Research in Social Work Practice: A Pilot Study From Turkey.” This article gathered the opinions of 365 social workers that questioned the need for the conducting of scientific research in order to shape their professional practices.
When looking specifically at the political implications the article titled “The Political Role of Social Work: Grasping the Momentum of Working through Interorganizational Networks in Belgium” by Joris De Corte, Bram Verschuere, & Maria De Bie helps to better understand how social workers deal with the ambiguity that arises from their ability to transform the private needs of individuals into issues of public concern.
The last article in this special issue is titled “Beneficial Effect of Altruism on Well-Being among Chinese College Students: The Role of Self-Esteem and Family Socioeconomic Status” where authors Linlin Feng & Qingke Guo explore the motivation for voluntary social service, altruism and well-being in Chinese college students at the undergraduate level. Lastly, Part Two of this special edition ends with a letter to the editor titled “Mental Illness in the Population Is Increasing: A Challenge for Telephone Advice Nurses” by Martin Salzmann-Erikson & Annica Bjorkman.
In closing, the editors hope you have found this Two Part Special Issue helpful in providing culturally sensitive practice when working with the population groups highlighted. Family systems, worker burnout and other funding and service considerations occur regardless of where someone is located in the global community. It is the hope of the editors that this collection will provide research-based examples for the comparison. Once identified the similarities and differences need to be highlighted. Embracing similarities and differences will provide the basis for the most efficient and effective social work services possible within our global society. From this broad perspective researchers and service providers alike are better positioned to reach equilibrium where peace, social justice, human rights, and social development are always at the forefront.
SOURCE: Ahmad, Mahtab and Jariwala, Harsha Vijakumar. “International Topics: Living in a global society, part one.” Journal of Social Service Research, 2016 & 2017.
- “International Topics: Living in a global society, part one.” Journal of Social Service Research, volume 42, 2016, Issue 5
- “International Topics: Living in a global society, part two.” Journal of Social Service Research, volume 43, 2017, Issue 3 [Published online: 16 May 2017]
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