Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 22756
Title Opvoeden tot sociale verantwoordelijkheid : de verzoening van wetenschap, ethiek en sekse in het sociaal werk in Nederland rond de eeuwwisseling
Author(s) Bervoets, L.
Source Agricultural University. Promotor(en): A.L. Mok. - S.l. : Bervoets - ISBN 9789054851233 - 235
Department(s) Vakgroep Sociologie
Publication type Dissertation, externally prepared
Publication year 1993
Keyword(s) vrouwelijke arbeidskrachten - vrouwelijke werknemers - vrouwen - werk - werkgelegenheid - sociale voorzieningen - welzijnsvoorzieningen - sociaal welzijn - positie van de vrouw - geschiedenis - sociale zekerheid - Nederland - sociaal werk - vrouwenbeweging - feminisme - vrouw en samenleving - sociale zorg - female labour - women workers - women - work - employment - social services - welfare services - social welfare - woman's status - history - social security - Netherlands - social work - women's movement - feminism - woman and society - social care
Categories Gender and Labour

Sociologists use to describe social work as a typical example of a immature or semi-profession. The emergence of social work in social history is part and parcel of 'forces of organized virtue', whilst in womenstudies early social work is usually considered as a consequence of the doctrine of separate spheres and the nineteenth century cult of domesticity.

In this research into the articulation of social work as a feminine professional domain, critical observations are made about this three different ways of looking at the history of social work- It is argued that both functionalist and marxists concepts of professionalism do not offer very fruitful starting points for research, because of their presuming an opposition between altruism and selfinterest. Instead the present study of the history of social work explores the complex of social and scientific forces in the context of which social work developed around the turn of the century and examines the purport that altruism and selfinterest got in this context.

The origin of social work is related to the growing scientific critique of precepts and habits of care in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, which cleared the road for a new public body for care and prevention. Following doctors and engineers who succeeded in mobilizing public support for the eradication of infectious diseases and the clearing of slums, social scientists attracted attention to the relationship between social well-being and the environment. With the help of certain sociological and philosophical notions concerning the origins of social inequality and the need for social regulation of society, social work pioneers defined a professional domain in which science, ethics and gender went well together. In their sociological vision, men and women, rich and poor, were the product of social conditions, whilst social conditions in their turn were the consequence of human intervention. The interplay between man and society and the changeableness of social relations offered important starting points for the development of a own form of feminine expertise in the social field.

According to social workers professional altruism could be neither inborn nor based on personal sentiments. Self-love and social feeling were supposed to be brought into balance by introspection and serious study of social relations. Women were not social beings by nature and did not know by intuition how to find their way in the complicated and diffuse complex of social policy and social pedagogy. Education for social responsibility was not only concerned with the poor, but was also considered a necessity for the bourgeois circles from which social workers themselves usually originated. The propensity for scientific philanthropy amongst social work pioneers and their critique of 'idleness' and 'family egoism' in bourgeois circles, which were often neglected in Dutch research, form the key-points of the formation of a new professional identity of women. ]heir perspective lay in all kinds of social work, whether paid or unpaid.

The emergence of social work fitted in with a tradition in which the scientific management of society had primacy over politics and in which individual development had to be brought into balance with public spirit. Social work pioneers thought to find the solution for the woman question and the social question in a 'socialism-without-class-struggle' and a 'feminism-without-a- battle-between-the-sexes', in which gradual social transformation took place under the guidance of social experts.

By investigating the meaning of altruism and self-interest from a historical perspective, it becomes clear that a number of well-known theses concerning 'civilized' feminine professions need to be reconsidered. Thus the discussions regarding the organization of the school for social work and about the approach to the different sorts of work, show that social work can no longer be considered as traditional charity in a new disguise. The articulation of altruism and feminine talent for the ethical dimensions of social work seems to be more complex and contradictory than used to be supposed till now.

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