European policy developments and their impact on social work
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Europe, in the throes of global trends, dissolves and yet re-establishes boundaries, both on its external perimeter and in terms of its internal social and political structures in a process reminiscent of the early period after the industrial revolutions. Once again it poses a fundamental question for social work: is the profession’s mandate limited to containing the effects of this process at the level of its individual victims or can it play a role in shaping European social policies which would deal with structural issues and further the cause of European integration? By examining the spaces created by the EU’s ambiguous initiatives on social issues - in areas like child welfare, poverty or migration - it will be shown that social ‘rescue’ attempts might only serve to legitimate exclusion and to further the decline of social solidarity within European states - and ultimately the disintegration of the European Union itself. The alternative lies in taking a wider political perspective and practising ‘relational citizenship’, giving people rights to belong and to participate.