Research cluster 'Social work and poverty studies'

The social work research of CRESC does not focus on a particular sector or theme, but analyses practices within the broad domain of poverty and social exclusion. The research is inspired by social theory development around the rights-based approach to social work on the one hand and multi-level governance, welfare regimes and social innovation on the other.

In the social work research of CRESC, the organisational and policy context of social work is central, for example networks and network governance. Attention is paid to the normative basis of social work, but also to the concrete and complex challenges of the social work practice in organisations (for example issues concerning the profile and identity of the social worker in multidisciplinary teams).

Another focus of the social work research within CRESC is the evaluation of practices. Based on the research, we contribute to the discussion on evidence-based practice, but we focus not only on 'what works', but on 'what works for whom' and 'under which circumstances'.

Yet another focus is on the study of social innovation in social work practices within 'multi-layered' welfare regimes. Welfare regimes are confronted with new social needs and social pressure around social needs that are not adequately met. Local authorities, social entrepreneurs and civil society organisations develop innovative forms of local social action, governance and policy to meet these needs and thus contribute to the renewal of welfare regimes.

The social work research within CRESC explicitly focuses on a democratic dialogue between researcher, clients and social workers, often in a setting of action research.

Cluster coordinator: Peter Raeymaeckers