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Internationalisation and Social Work, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Internationalisering och socialt arbete

This syllabus is valid: 2013-09-16 valid to 2015-08-30 (newer version of the syllabus exists)

Course code: 2SA087

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Social Work: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Social Work


This course aims at critical exploration of current issues in social work in an international context. The course involves learning about global processes shaping social work practices as well as the nature of social topics. It explores various global (or cross-cultural) social work theories/discourses on social topics, vulnerability and social work interventions and critically scrutinizes the effects of cross-national theoretical and practical applications.

It includes learning about social work in global sociopolitical contexts, mapping the structures, cultures and ideologies behind the variety of ways of organising social work and its professional development. Ideologies such as individualism, collectivism, liberalism, are discussed as elements shaping social work. Various social work models are discussed and contextualized, like casework and community work. Other social work models discussed comprise the activist, developmental, psychological and behavioural models. It also includes learning about common international standards as well as diversifications of social work and discusses if there are, or should be, universally applicable sets of values (reflected, or not, in the current ethics documents) for social work.

The global relevance and transferences of current issues in social work like e.g. evidence based practice, de-professionalization versus professionalization are examined in the course.

Expected learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students are expected to be able to demonstrate (through course activities, assignments and/or exams):

An understanding of the key factors shaping social work in different contexts;

- knowledge about different welfare regimes and to understand the implication of the practice of social work
- ability to describe and critically review the structures and ideologies shaping and organizing social work
- understand the concept of social citizenship and its relation to global structures preconditioning social work
- ability to critically analyze consequences of  globalization in relation to social rights and vulnerability
- analyze and reflect on cross national developments of  social work theories and practices .

Required Knowledge

The requirements are 180 ECTS including an undergraduate thesis of 15 ECTS. A minimum of 90 ECTS has to be within one of the following: Social Work, Sociology, Psychology or in other courses that are considered equal to thus above. Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English A/5.

Form of instruction

It is a web based course using an internet based platform for communication and teaching.
The course consists of lectures, seminars, group work and individual studies. Emphasis is placed on combining theoretical perspectives with practical exercises in terms of understanding theory in relation to practical assignments. This is done through various exercises and group work presented at seminars. Seminars will be developed around topics arising from readings. The seminars are mandatory.

Internet-based teaching methods will be used during this course, which means that the student must have access to a computer with a web camera, a headset and high speed internet access.

Examination modes

The course is examined through seminar presentations and three written assignments during the course. The seminars are mandatory.

Students are required to conduct a library search of databases (Social Work Abstracts, PsychInfo, Medline etc.) that has to be connected to a specific issue that are related to a, by the student, chosen topic of interest.

There will be separate marks for seminar presentations, and written work. On seminars the grades are either fail or pass. On the written assignments the grades are either fail, pass or pass with distinction. To get pass with distinctions for the course, two of three written assignments must have been graded pass with distinction and all seminars must have been attended.

Other regulations


This course requires that students read a broad variety of texts from textbooks to reports and articles to online material. We will use material from at least some of the following texts – available in the bookshop on campus and also in the library:

During the course the students will choose additional readings related to their topic of interest


Valid from: 2013 week 38

Ahmadi N
Globalisation of consciousness and new challenges for international social work. International Journal of Social welfare, 2003:12, pp. 14-23.
International Journal of Social welfare : 2003 :

Alphonse, M., George, P. & Moffat, K.
Redefining social work standards in the context of globalisation. International Social Work, 51(2), pp. 145-158.
International Social Work : 2008 :

Haug E
Critical reflections on the emerging discourse of international social work. International Social Work, 48(2), pp. 126-135.
International Social Work : 2005 :

Healy L.M
Universalism and cultural relativism in social work ethics. International Social Work, 50(1), pp. 11-26.
International Social Work : 2007 :

Handbook of international social work : human rights, development, and the global profession
Healy Lynne M., Link Rosemary J.
New York : Oxford University Press : cop. 2012 : 534 s. :
ISBN: 0-19-533361-6 (inb.)
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

International Social Work: A retrospective in the 50th year. International Social Work, 50(5), pp. 581-596.
Healy L.M, Thomas R.L
International Social Work : 2007 :

Knei-Paz C
The Central Role of the Therapeutic Bond in a Social Agency Setting: Clients’ and Social Workers’ Perceptions. Journal of Social Work, 9(2), pp. 178-198.
Journal of Social Work : 2009 :

Lorenz Walter
Perspectives on European social work : from the birth of the nation state to the impact of globalisation
Opladen : Budrich : 2006 : 199 s. :
ISBN: 3-86649-008-9
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Lorenz Walter
Social work in a changing Europe
London : Routledge : 1994 : 206 s. :
ISBN: 0-415-07807-5 (inb.) ; £35.00 (non-net) : CIP entry (Nov.)
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Lyons Karen.
The SAGE handbook of international social work
London : SAGE : 2012. : 540 s. :
ISBN: 0-85702-333-0 ¹95.00
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Mohan B
Rethinking international social work. International Social Work, 51 (1), pp. 11-24
International Social Work : 2008 :

Dilemmas in international and corss-cultural social work education. International Social Work, 43 (1), pp. 49-60
Nagy G, Falk D.S
International Social Work : 2000 :

Pain M
The Origins of Social Work
Palgrave Macmillan : 2005 :