CfP for the CASCA/AAA Annual Meeting
Vancouver, November 20-24, 2019
Conveners: Anouk de Koning (Radboud University) and Ann Marie Leshkowich (College of the Holy Cross)
This panel seeks to explore new avenues in anthropological studies of social work beyond the more usual focus on how social workers combine empowerment and governance, care and control. We propose to envisage social workers as experts who assemble social worlds and help create forms of personhood. Social work practices provide us with access points to the configuration of social worlds in locally embedded, material ways that are conversant with transnationally circulating forms of social work and therapeutic knowledge and practice. This panel invites contributions that elaborate, through concrete case studies, social work as world making, not only in the European and the US contexts in which the profession originated, but also in diverse sites around the globe.
Contributions could address the following sets of questions:
- How do social workers conceive of the social world on which they act, and how do they understand their ability to act on it?
- How do social workers help create conceptions of personhood? On what kinds of understanding of individuals and society do these conceptions of personhood draw?
- What technologies, including documentation and infrastructure, do social workers use to create and enact these social worlds and forms of personhood?
- What do we gain from an understanding of social work as affective labor, for instance in terms of the classed and gendered nature of social work, or in the kinds of relations it creates in and through its practices?
- What kinds of ethics of care and responsibility infuse social work, and how do these relate to the power dynamics that are often central to the governmental tasks of social work?
- How can we understand the globalization of social work, including concurrent politics of knowledge related to indigenizing social work?