26 aug

25 & 26 August: 6th International Conference on Sociology and Social Work

Conference at Windesheim University of Applied Science in Zwolle, the Netherlands.


Ties that Bind for Social Work:

Late Modernity, Social Capital and Community

Welcome to the 6th International Conference on Sociology and Social Work.
As the title suggests the conference focuses on the social challenges that social workers are confronted with in the community.  In an era often referred to as late modernity, social workers have to operate in societies characterized by fragmentation, warring forces and diffuse identities. During this conference we wish to raise questions that pertain to theoretical debates regarding the ties that bind vulnerable people in the community. Social capital is seen as the main asset in contemporary welfare models. In particular social networks seem to be of value. But what are the ties that bind those in need of care and caregivers in the loose, network-based communities of today? Is the late modern family member the reliable caregiver we are looking after? Or should we look at other forms of social capital in the community? 

We hope to meet you at the conference!

drs. Jan Willem Bruins

dr. Joop ten Dam

dr. John ter Horst
dr. Ronald Wolbink


(The conference team)
Department of Heathcare and Social Work
Windesheim University of applied sciences 

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During this conference we will also raise questions about the validity and quality of evidence based research. Social work is often viewed as something that needs to be highly determined by evidence based research. But how evidence based is evidence based? What kind of value does evidence based research have for social workers? And should we not turn to qualitative research methods such as ethno-methodology and ethnography to gain more insight into the efficacy of our interventions? In a third panel we want to share ideas about the potential of qualitative research methods for social workers and invite scholars who conducted in-depth studies into the ways in which marginal identities are shaped by racializing structures, social processes and social representations.

Another theme of this conference is history.  As the saying goes: “A nation that forgets its history will make the same mistakes over and over again.” Historical research helps us to understand how and where social work started, how it developed over time and the situation it finds itself in today.  Historically, social workers have used a combination of research and practical strategies to advocate improved social conditions for vulnerable populations, such as the poor, immigrants, political refugees, child abuse victims, and criminal offenders.  In fact, history was a prominent method of research in the Social Sciences during the1960s and 1970s.  It disappeared from the 1980s onwards and finds itself at a low ebb today.  During this conference we would also like to encourage new interest in the field of historical research. We would like to recognize it as a valuable source of methodological and theoretical knowledge and as a possible source of validation with regard to effective practices.

The final theme of this conference is validation of good practices. Social workers seem to have a hard time justifying their activities. In 1915 the American education expert Abraham Flexner wrote a provoking essay,  ‘Is Social Work a profession?’ To its credit, he said, social work was characterized by "professional association," "altruism," and "knowledge building." But in other ways it fell short. Social workers worked in so many different occupations — case workers, community organizers, charity workers, settlement house reformers — and used so many different approaches that it lacked a single coherent purpose, which also hampered the development of a specialized professional education. It seems Social Work never got over Flexner’s critique and in an attempt to raise its status, adopted medical based practices, evidence based methodologies and competence based education formats.  This again led to a strong critical Social Work tradition in the 1990s , which attacked managers, bureaucrats and doctors for their instrumental formats of care. Although this form of criticism was very important, we also need to address the following questions. What kind of alternative models and theories do we have to justify Social Work? Whose interest do we serve by justifying ourselves? Do social workers feel comfortable justifying themselves at all?

Keynote speakers

Prof. dr. Fabian Kessl, Professor of theory and methods of social work, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany 

Dr. Fabian KesslDr. Fabian Kessl is a Professor of theory and methods of social work at the Institute for Social Work and Social Policy, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Duisburg-Essen. His fundamental interest is the current change in the Welfare State and quasi Welfare-State arrangements since the 1970s. In particular, prof. dr. Kessl deals with new forms of governance, the governmentality of social work, spatial formation shifts of social policy and neo-social patterns of life conduct. Next to that Professor Kessl is co-editor of two leading German magazines for social work and social policy and member of the Coordination Office "Social Work & Society’’, an online journal for social work and social policy. See for more information and for his publications: https://www.uni-due.de/biwi/trans_soz/kessl.shtml

Prof. dr. Abram de Swaan, Visiting Professor at the Dept. of History at Columbia Queen Wilhelmina University in New York and emeritus University Professor of social science at the University of Amsterdam 

Prof. dr Abram de SwaanProf. dr. Abram de Swaan is emeritus University Professor of social science at the University of Amsterdam, where he has been professor of sociology since 1973. He was dean of the Amsterdam School of Social science Research since its foundation in 1987 until 1997 and has been its chairman since.

De Swaan studied psychoanalysis at the Netherlands Institute for Psychoanalysis and practiced as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist from 1973 until 1984. In those years, he published a series of studies on subjects at the intersection of psychoanalysis and sociology.
In 1992, De Swaan occupied the Luigi Einaudi chair of International Studies at Cornell University, NY and in that year he was a Directeur d'Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris; in 1993 he was a visiting professor at the Department of Sociology of Columbia University, NY, and in 1994 and 1996 at Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne; he spent 1995 as the first occupant of the European Community chair on social policy at Eötvös Lörand University, Budapest. At the invitation of Pierre Bourdieu, he held the chaire Européenne at the Collège de France, Paris, during the year 1997-'98.
De Swaan's current research interests have gravitated towards the Sociological study of transnational society, especially the Prospects of transnational social policy and The emergent world language system. De Swaan was voted in succession 'most prominent sociologist' in a poll among Dutch colleagues and statistics showed him to be the most frequently cited Dutch sociologist in 1992-'98. He was elected as a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences in 1996 and of the Academia Europea (London) in 2000. In the same year received the royal appointment to the 'Sigmund Freud chair' of the Academia Europea de Yuste, Spain, and in 2004 he was elected as its Director. 

Recently, prof. de Swaan has been appointed Visiting Professor at the Dept. of History at Columbia Queen Wilhelmina University in New York. See for more information and for his publications:http://deswaan.com/en/publicaties/publicaties/

Prof. dr. Margo Trappenburg, Professor of Social Work, University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Prof. dr. Margo TrappenburgMargo Trappenburg studied political science at Leiden University. She defended her thesis, about debates on ethical issues in the Netherlands, in 1993. Since 2000 Trappenburg is associate professor at the Utrecht School of Governance. From 2004-2008 she held a special professorship at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, on the role of patients in health care politics. From 2008-2013 she held another special professorship at the University of Amsterdam, where she studied recent developments in the welfare state. Since October 2014 Trappenburg holds a part time endowed chair at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, where she studies social work and public professionalism. Trappenburg’s research interests include: welfare state policy, professional ethics, health care politics and contemporary political philosophy. See her list of publications in English or check out her profile on ResearchGate. And: http://margotrappenburg.nl/english/

Prof. dr. Stephen A. Webb, Professor of Social Work, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK.

Prof. dr. Stephen A. WebbStephen A. Webb is Professor of Social Work at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.  Previous to this he was Director of the Institute for Social Inclusion and Well-being, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia And Professorial Research Fellow at University of Sussex. Stephen is author of several books including 'Social Work in a Risk Society' (Palgrave 2006) and 'Evidence-based Social Work: A Critical Stance' (with Gray & Plath, Routledge 2009). He is co-editor (with Gray) of 'Social Work Theories and Methods' (Sage 2008), the four-volume international reference work 'International Social Work' (Sage 2010), 'Ethics and Value Perspectives in Social Work' (Palgrave 2010), and the major reference work the 'Sage Handbook of Social Work' (with Gray & Midgley, 2012). Webb’s critical analysis ‘Considerations on the validity of evidence-based practice in social work’ (2001) is the world’s most cited article in the field and the most influential publication in social work over the last ten years (Hodge et al., 2011). He is has recently completed 'The New Politics of Critical Social Work' for Palgrave and the 2nd edition of 'Social Work Theories and Methods' for Sage, London which has been translated into Korean and Polish languages. Stephen has generated over £1.2 million in research funding over the past five years for projects on evidence-based practice and community engagement. In Australia he led a bid for a Cooperative Research Centre for Social Inclusion for $AUS 45 million. Stephen was appointed as Expert Panel Member (Social Work and Social Policy) for the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) national research evaluation exercise in 2010 and 2012. The social work group he led was the only team of researchers in Australia to obtain a 4* in the field.


Please download the programme schedule here.

Call for papers/workshops is open until 15 April 2016

Key themes of the conference
1     Late Modernity and New Social Challenges for Social Workers.
2     Vulnerable People, Marginal Identities and Hermeneutics: How can social workers benefit from qualitative research approaches?
3     Social Capital in the Community: Ties that bind for users and caregivers.
4     History of Social Work: Sociological, philosophical, anthropological and political perspectives on the shifting meaning of social work concepts.
5     Critical Sociology and Social Work. Rethinking social work methods and research: towards new forms of justification. 

Conference Fees (Early Bird registration until 1 June) 



Conference Dinner

Early Bird Registration (until 1 June 2016) € 150 € 50
Late Registration (after 1 June 2016) € 195 € 50
Student-‘wildcards’ (Limited availability, after 1 June 2016) Free -

The fees include:

  • Admission to the scientific sessions.
  • Daily lunches and refreshments as indicated in the daily programme.
  • Conference material.

Not included:

  • Accommodation is not included in the registration fees. It should be reserved directly from the hotel(s). See below for full information about local hotels nearby the location of the Conference.
  • The Conference Dinner is not included in the registration fees and an extra fee is needed.


You can contact us by sending an e-mail to 6thconference@windesheim.nl or by Phone: +31 (088) 4698456 (Sandra Verwoert).

Accommodations Zwolle

Prices may change, always make sure to check!

Hotels and B&B’s within a 15 minutes walk from the Conference:

Hanze Hotel Zwolle

Rode Torenplein 10
8011 MJ Zwolle
+31 38 421 8182
average 76 euro’s per night

Hotel Fidder

Kon. Wilhelminastraat 6
8019 AM Zwolle
+31 038 421 8395
average 110 euro’s per night

Sandton Hotel Pillows Zwolle  (in front of  the railway-station)

Stationsweg 9, 8011 CZ Zwolle
+31 038-4256789
average 159 euro’s per night

Hotel Wientjes (in front of the railway-station)

Stationsweg 7
8011 CZ Zwolle
+31 038-4254254

Bed & Breakfast Onder de Peperbus

Drostenstraat 5
8011 MT Zwolle
+31 611 4444 45
average 84 euro’s per night

Campanille hotel Zwolle

Schuttevaerkade 40 
+31 38 4550444 

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