Sustainable development: a mission for social work? A normative approach

Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice 02/2012; 21(2):5-22. DOI: 10.18352/jsi.306


The answer to the current social-ecological crisis requires a transition to a sustainable society. Such a transition will touch on all aspects of life, so social work too has to think about the meaning of sustainable development for its practice. Until now, the awareness of ecological limits has remained mainly beyond the scope of the field of social work. However, many social and ecological problems are increasingly linked and this is the very focus of the concept of sustainable development. This article sets out how social work could, on the basis of its own mission, join a process of sustainable development. To this end, we compare the normative framework of the Brundtland view on sustainable development with the mission of social work as implied by its international definition.

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Available from: Jef Peeters
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    ABSTRACT: We agree with the general commitment of Kunneman’s contribution, but formulate some critical reservations about its elaboration. First, we discuss the use of the concept of complexity. On the basis of Morin’s idea of general complexity we argue that a paradigmatic interpretation leads to a more consistent argumentation strategy. We illustrate this referring to Kunneman’s use of the term ‘autopoiesis’ and Habermas’s concepts of ‘system and life world’. We call into question Kunneman’s position that meaningfulness in volunteering falls short politically. To this end, we formulate a different view about the relationship between existential and political meaningfulness from a vision of citizenship as belonging to the core of being human. This also throws a different light on the importance of the civil society.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Foundations of Science