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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This review on a collective monograph compiled by German authors (and written in German) contains an overview of materials presented in it, which were prepared using practical experience as a basis. The publication is built around a certain category of conflict – between the system and disintegrated individuals who happen to be in a difficult life situation. Social workers’ activities are subject to analysis in this context, with them being intermediaries between the system of government management and separate population groups: said activities aim to bring social institutions’ and individuals’ interests into accord, as well as to support marginalized groups of the population, such as migrants, the homeless, the unemployed, drug-addicts, deviant youths etc. Conflict is also examined as a characterization of relations between social workers and clients: examples are portrayed of clients overcoming intrapersonal conflict in order for them to conform to society’s requirements. Such an unusual point of view (observing conflicts in social work) stimulates the reader to critically evaluate common stereotypes, those having to do with perceiving social workers as people who defend the government’s interests, and also those having to do with reconciliation and conflict suppressing techniques. The review accentuates the fact that the material basis for social initiatives is formed not only by tax revenue and government financial backing, but also thanks to the activities of various non-commercial organizations and charitable foundations. The author comes to the conclusion that this new collective monograph compiled by German specialists will be of interest to the Russian professional community, considering that it analyzes a rich practical background of social work in the context of social interaction. The true value of the monograph presented is supported by a broad view and deep analysis of many years worth of professionals’ everyday activity, aimed at helping individuals adapt to difficult conditions, as well as bringing individual aspirations into accord with social requirements.
social work, conflict, German experience, adaptation.