Abstract: During 2013 and 2014, five focus-group interviews were conducted in Norway, Chile and Argentina in order to understand better how professors at social work programs understand professional issues and controversial social policy issues in their countries. In the focus groups, the participants were asked to reflect upon a vignette which was a fictitious discussion about professional issues and dilemmas in social work practices. Three themes were deployed in the vignette. The first related to different attitudes with respect to how social problems in society should be approached and treated (with a special focus on the relationship between the public, private and civil sectors in solving welfare problems). The second was about social work dilemmas in the contested space between universal equality values and local freedom values/discretion embedded in local self-determination. The third focused on welfare states’ principles distinguishing welfare benefits and services and how public welfare policies should be designed. The three countries are very different with respect to variables affecting welfare policies and social work practices. The most profound difference is likely that Chile (and to a lesser degree Argentina) since the dictatorship is highly influenced by neo-liberal policies advocating small public involvement in social policy, whereas Norway is a typical social-democratic welfare state. This fact, however, does not affect the reflections and apprehensions of the issues in a substantial way. The professional attitudes of the professors are surprisingly equal in spite of their different backgrounds.
Abstract: Poor outcomes and several complaints to the judicial system against residential services for children have triggered a deep review of the Chilean child welfare services, particularly in relation to family reunification. This paper offers strategic guidelines to improve alternative care for children younger than six years of age, who are under protective measures. To define such guidelines, a case study was developed based on current models of residential services and foster home programs, which included local (Chile) and international evidence; also this research includes original empirical data collected through focus groups and interviews with key stakeholders of these programs in Chile and in two countries with advanced social services for children (Sweden and Italy). Findings refer to a structural need for reforming social services for Chilean children. Such reform should involve appropriate legislation to guarantee the rights of children and families; a substantial budgetary review leading to an increase in spending; and boosting professional specialization; and raising the capacity for offering integrated services.
Abstract: This study examines the effects of two interethnic ideologies (assimilation and multiculturalism) on in-group favoritism and discrimination intention toward immigrants. Specifically, this study aims to test the concomitant impact of these two ideologies on intergroup biases in order to affirm whether these two paths are related to intergroup bias. Moreover, this study is designed to extend previous work that found relationships between interethnic ideologies and in-group favoritism to discrimination intention. Graduate students in management programs (N = 182) answered a questionnaire. The findings show that both interethnic ideologies are concomitantly related to in-group favoritism. In particular, while assimilation is positively related to in-group favoritism, multiculturalism is negatively related to in-group favoritism. Additionally, it shows evidence of indirect relationships between interethnic ideologies and the discrimination intention through in-group favoritism. The results are discussed in light of interethnic ideologies literature and presents directions for future research.
Abstract: There is documented correlation between parental substance abuse, child maltreatment, and poor outcomes. In two health districts in Sydney, Australia (Site A and B), specialised clinics were established to provide comprehensive assessments for infants of substance abusing mothers (ISAM). We aimed to determine whether there was a difference in outcomes between infants who attended clinic versus those who did not; and to identify differences in the pathways to care between sites. We analysed child protection reports and available health markers of all ISAM referrals in 2011. We held stakeholder meetings with services involved with ISAM in both sites; to describe service components; strengths and weaknesses of pathways. Fifty-five per cent (11/20) attended clinic in Site A; 80% (25/31) in Site B. Three-quarters of ISAM had at least one referral to child welfare; child protection service involvement was more common in those who attended. Immunisation status was lower than the national Australian average; approximately half were seen by community nursing services. Gaps in services, lack of database, and differences in pathways between sites were identified. Attending clinics correlates with child protection service involvement and may afford health protection. Transparent communication, service integration, and shared learning can improve outcomes for this vulnerable group.
Abstract: In this article I explore the contemporary normative meanings of friendship, unpacking the subject through two different questions: “what is a good friend?” and “what is an intimate friend?” Drawing on survey data from a national representative sample (n = 1142), the topic is explored in the context of a southern European country (Portugal) that represents an interesting case study, for its characteristics of late, though abrupt, entrance into late modernity. Statistical analysis of the results enabled the construction of an exploratory typology of representations of friendship, according to the meanings ascribed to friends: family-oriented; trust-oriented; self-oriented; and presence-oriented. Results inspire a two-folded interpretation. On the one hand, they point to a pervasiveness of hegemonic representations such as friendship as trust and self-disclosure, namely among the younger and more educated. On the other hand, they highlight the pervasiveness of kinship ties in the definition of friendship, namely among the elderly and less educated. This suggests that patterns of suffusion may not only refer to more individualized and plural arrangements of personal life, but also to the persistence of more traditional representations and practices, characterized by an ideological commitment to the family in its more institutional forms.
Abstract: Randall Collins’ theory of interaction ritual chains is widely cited, but has been subject to little theoretical elaboration. One reason for the modest expansion of the theory is the underdevelopment of the concept of emotional energy. This paper examines emotional energy, related particularly to the dynamics of negative experiences. It asks whether or not negative emotions produce emotional energies that are qualitatively distinct from their positive counterparts. The analysis begins by tracing the development of Interaction Ritual Theory, and summarizes its core propositions. Next, it moves to a conceptualization of a “valenced” emotional energy and describes both “positive” and “negative” dimensions. Six propositions outline the central dynamics of negative emotional energy. The role of groups in the formation of positive and negative emotional energy are considered, as well as how these energies are significant sources of sociological motivation.