Editorial: special issue on community work and going glocal in Scandinavian Welfare States

Editorial: special issue on community work and going glocal in Scandinavian Welfare States Why a special issue on contemporary community work in Scandinavia? In this introduction we argue that present-day Scandinavian community work, e.g. the small-scale local bottom-up approaches to contemporary societal challenges, can make valuable contributions to global sustainability and our common future by facilitating creativity, joy, and communitas. By highlighting joy and creativity for social change, this Special Issue underscores the interconnectedness between global challenges and happiness, concepts when paired add new tools to the community worker’s toolbox. The argument is substantiated by a discussion of the common denominators in the eight different cases of practical community work from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, and the theoretical discussion of the role of the civil society in developed welfare states included in this Special Issue. The introduction to this Special Issue commences with a recapitulation of the ‘rebirth’ of community work in Norway after 2000, followed by a discussion of creativity, joy and communities. The next two sections present the generative themes emerging for the collected articles and discuss the challenges ahead. The last section briefly introduces the articles and shows how they answer the call for new theoretical and practical tools and approaches for the future community worker. Community work, as a practical and theoretical approach to social change, is currently the focus of renewed interest in the Nordic countries (Hutchinson, 2009; Larsen, Sewpaul and Hole, 2014). Since the 1970s, community work has been one of three major approaches in social work: individual social work, group based social work, and community work. The majority of community workers have been social workers, and their activities and projects were often motivated by political standpoints, and activism towards social injustice, as in the UK (Ledwith, 2011; Larsen, Sewpaul and Hole, 2014; Newman and Clarke, 2016). In Scandinavia, community work as a theoretical or practical subject has not been included in the curriculums for professions other than social work, whether in learning disability nursing, teacher education, health professions or correctional services. All programmes educating professionals into the welfare state’s work force focus on the importance of multidisciplinary cooperation, and interdisciplinary common knowledge, but few provide theoretical or practical tools for accomplishing these aims. From our vantage point, community work is an underused theoretical and practical approach to contemporary challenges faced by the Nordic welfare states. Furthermore, we claim that multidisciplinary approaches will strengthen community work’s relevance – whether the aim is health promotion, neighbourhood renewal or to support communities of interest. Internationally, community work was never understood to be an exclusive method for social work (Turunen, 2004). While the English concept of community work is familiar across the English-speaking world, the corresponding Scandinavian concepts of samfunnsarbeid (Norwegian and Danish) and samhällsarbete (Swedish) are seldom used, or understood, outside the realm of Nordic social work. However, the practice of community work – as community planning and development, area development, neighbourhood renewal, social mobilization, self-help organization, or participatory learning and research, are well known. Today national official reports and white papers, and global strategies on sustainability, food security, health, and welfare are challenging all professions, NGOs and civil society to appropriate collective action to reach common benefits or to instigate and sustain social change. Paradoxically, in Scandinavia, as in the rest of the Western world, the neoliberal wave favours individualization, evidence-based approaches, and rapid solutions and ‘value for money’ – much of which is at odds with basic values of community work (Ledwith, 2011; Popple, 2015). The symbolic rebirth of Scandinavian community work was manifested by the launch of the first Scandinavian cross-disciplinary Master’s programme in community work at the former Bergen University College in 2007, now part of Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. The Scandinavian network of community workers contributed with support and ‘sponsorship’ since the birth of the idea at the turn of the twenty first century. By January 2018, nearly eighty students have completed the two-year programme, equivalent of 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), and many have taken sixty ECTS in community work and contemporary social theory. The majority of the students are Norwegians or residents in Norway (immigrants), with a few exceptions for students from the UK and Tanzania, China, and Spain. The programme has welcomed students with a diverse range of backgrounds, e.g. health care professionals (nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, health promotion), educators and teachers (all levels of education), and social workers and social educators. In addition to students with a background in applied sciences, students with qualifications in the humanities and social sciences have been enroled. This amalgam of experiences and interests have been challenging and rewarding for students and staff alike. The authors of this Special Issue have been affiliated to an extended network of the Masters’ programme in community work at Bergen University College/Western Norway university of Applied Sciences. We invited teachers, lectures, researchers, students, external evaluators and collaborators in the Nordic countries to submit articles on Scandinavian/Nordic community work which could be of interest to an English readership. We appreciate the effort made by many to answer our call for papers and are happy that we are able to present this edited supplement to the Community Development Journal. Why ‘go glocal’? The foundation stone for the Bergen version of community work is an understanding of humans as creative and capable of evaluating their own situation, envisioning an alternative, orienting themselves towards other people and their environment, and capable of acting and interacting accordingly – either by themselves or by delegating agency to assistants, friends, next-of-kin or others. We have defined community work as the process of inquiring into and affecting conditions for social participation together with those concerned (Henriksbø and Sudmann, 2011). As this issue will demonstrate, the interconnectedness between humans, non-human living beings, place and materiality, have the potential to affect living conditions and conditions for social participation – for better or for worse. Community work is collaboration – which by definition counters individualization and ‘quick fixes’. The fields of public health and integration, social inequality, climate change, loss of biodiversity and sustainable development, are pre-eminent cases for community work. Community work is an appropriate response once problems, solutions or implementations are defined in political and/or collective terms (Hutchinson, 2009: 32; McDermott, 2014; Shaw, 2014). However, community work is also an appropriate response to violations of microscale citizen participation – e.g. in the field of dementia care, service design and delivery for people living with intellectual disabilities, or other human services (Sudmann and Børsheim, 2017; Sudmann and Folkestad, 2015; Gubrium, Andreassen and Solvang, 2016). Violation or neglect of children and young people’s right to participation or to exercise their citizenship rights, is also a case for community work, not at least because the solutions chosen for today’s global challenges directly impact their everyday and their future. The common denominator between global challenges and everyday microinteraction is our interdependency. People, non-human living beings and the Earth are entangled beyond our imaginary capacity. Market forces cannot solve all problems arising from population growth, population ageing, migration, non-communicable diseases, social inequalities, climate changes, or large-scale catastrophes. Welfare states and civil societies need to reverse or restrain marketization in the wake of spreading neoliberalism (Harvey, 2005, 2007; Fraser, 2009; Knutsen, 2017), to create or sustain safe and healthy living and sustainable development. Contemporary calls for active citizenship, user involvement in service design and delivery, revived democracy, self-organized self-help, neighbourhood mobilization, strengthening social cohesion or saving public spending, necessitate social interaction, trust and accessible and existing community owned land and commons. Community work can contribute with knowledge production through research, and with practical tools for sustainable changes on all levels. The Nordic welfare states are partly born out of bottom-up mobilization, local uprisings and social movements. The labour movement, the temperance movement, the lay Christian movements, the first wave of feminism and the linguistic communities (e.g. Sami, Finish, Romani, Nynorsk Norwegian, Sign languages) were important forerunners for welfare states, and still serve as inspiration and source of knowledge for contemporary social movements, e.g. environmental movements, or local mobilization calling for or protesting against new infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges, tunnels, transmission lines). Despite the fact that welfare states are a result of historical conflicts of interests, one of the hallmarks of modern day Nordic welfare societies is a low level of overt social unrest, a relatively high living standard, a high labour force participation, generous universal benefits, a high degree of equality, a high level of taxes and a high level of public spending on welfare (Greve, 2007). Nordic welfare states still appear prosperous and generous, facing fewer social challenges than many other European countries. Nordic welfare states face the same demographic changes as the rest of the Western world: longevity, decreasing birth rates, growing number of single person households, and expected increased needs for health and social services in the near future. A welfare mix (Sivesind, 2014) – i.e. welfare services provided by both public, private and voluntary sector – is already gaining momentum in Scandinavia. At a macro level, social problems or barriers for exercising citizenship may seem conspicuously absent or few in Scandinavia. However, at the micro level, the differences in life expectancy, health status and other socioeconomic differences are larger than might be expected in the Nordic welfare states. Differences in living years and in healthy years varies considerably between north and south, between city boroughs, and between indigenous people or other minorities on the one hand, and the majorities on the other hand (Popham, Dibben and Bambra, 2013). Health and societal differences can be experienced as particularly unfair or burdensome in societies were equality is a common value and ideology. These differences are recognized as unfair and unwanted by the polity and the public, and several community work projects aim at amending these inequalities, whereof some are presented in this Special Issue. Creativity, joy, and communitas for social change The Masters candidates from Bergen are equipped with a theoretical and a practical toolbox when they graduate. The theoretical tool box includes critical approaches to the analysis of social participation, inequality, social change, and inclusive research. The practical tool box includes methods to facilitate social, material, organizational or relational changes, and to make a positive difference in people’s everyday lives, together with those concerned. Following Minkler, Wallerstein, Wilson (2008) the hallmarks of community work is to facilitate empowerment and critical consciousness, community capacity and social capital, issue selection, participation and to make our work relevant (Minkler, Wallerstein and Wilson, 2008:294). Change, whether social or material, builds on more or less substantiated ideas about a better deal or future. Creativity Critical consciousness is necessary to detect and disarm our ‘Cop in your head’, as Freire called our self-censoring and unconscious acceptance of unfavourable life situations (Freire, 1972). When Antanas Mockus was elected mayor of Bogotá in Columbia in 1995, he stated that when there is nothing to be done, it is time to bring out the clowns (Goat, 2014). Mockus was inspired by Paolo Freire (Freire, 1995) and Augusto Boal, the creator of Theatre of the Oppressed (Boal, 1985), and approached Bogotá as a classroom of 6,000,000 pupils, to launch a programme, The Theatre of Civic Culture. Mockus used the clowns to facilitate civic interaction and communication in the streets of Bogotá to make the city a safer and better place to live. By replacing corrupt police with mime artists, he demonstrated that interaction is communication, and communication is pedagogy, teaching and learning. Learning gives food for thought and inspires new relations, which in turn might facilitate social change and bettering of lives. Changes in everyday microinteraction affect the macro levels. Mockus’ clowns pawed the way for social change by way of bodily engagement, an approach also applied in several of the cases presented in this issue where participants are invited to step out of their comfort zone and engage in unknown activities in unknown terrain. The Masters programme in community work in Bergen has, since its very beginning, focused on creativity and the arts as important theoretical and practical tools for the community worker. Creativity has a long history in the realms of social or therapeutic change – e.g. as preparatory methods or as action and praxis. Creative methodology such as future workshops is presently gaining new momentum, as are similar methods such as critical utopian action research, action learning, and design thinking (Jungk and Müllert, 1987; Brown, 2009; Abbott et al. 2013; Ehn, Nilsson and Topgaard, 2014; Gunnarsson et al. 2016; Hansen et al. 2016; Nielsen and Nielsen, 2016). Creativity is emotionally laden with joy or indignation, and involves place, people, product (idea, issue), and process. Joy Arne Naess (1912–2009), a passionate Norwegian mountain climber, environmentalist, activist, and philosopher, perpetually reminded us about the importance of joy and cheerfulness, and of engaging oneself in meaningful activities. Naess worried about the health of our planet and all things living, and reminded us that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. When we do something meaningful, such as caring for a plant, an animal or a person, we will experience joy and cheerfulness, and also add value to the bettering of the living conditions on Earth (Naess, Drengson and Devall, 2008; Setreng et al. 2014). Naess and Mockus both point to the physical body as a means for learning and critical consciousness. Moving our bodies always affects the context and facilitates imagination and creativity. In the book Idea Work (Carlsen, Clegg and Gjersvik, 2012), the authors present a comprehensive research-based theory about how to make ideas transform into practice or materiality. The steps to success are thorough preparation, to engage and animate as many different perspectives as possible, and subsequently to play, dramatize, scrutinize, and perform. And to laugh, contradict and be and do punk – e.g. be unconventional or politically incorrect. Daring to unleash the cop in our heads, and to do physical work and movements with our body, facilitates communication, learning in context, and creation of alternative futures or utopias. Having fun is productive, which several of the articles in this Special Issue substantiate. The late German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2002) used the concept of spiel, or play, to explain how we understand the world around us, and how we communicate and learn. Gadamer himself found great pleasure in talking with people with whom he did not share a common language. By focussing on the minutiae of micro signs and gestures, curiosity and aesthetic attention, communication is always possible, he argued. Gadamer provides a theoretical extension of Freire’s dialogical approach, stating that encounters with difference or alterity is necessary for learning and extension of one’s intellectual horizon. Difference or alterity facilitate creation of utopias and a different future (Hamlin, 2015; Vilhauer, 2010). All authors in this issue are relating their empirical and theoretical discussions to encounters with alterity or difference and to the importance of a curious and generous appreciation of the unfamiliar. Humans, like non-humans, are biological and social beings. Within the social sciences at large, the interrelationship between the biological and social body are taken into consideration to an increasing extent. The body is our public front which can be discriminated against as, e.g. the Sami people, the immigrants, or persons with intellectual disabilities know all too well. The body is also the prerequisite for social interaction, walking and talking, for dialogue and critical consciousness. Ramsden shows how walking and talking can open up strange encounters with the familiar, and prime people for communication and dialogue (Ramsden, 2017). Movement and mobility, particularly walking, stimulate perception and cognition (Ijmker and Lamoth, 2012), and henceforth support development of critical consciousness, learning and taking action. The physical body work in walking a city street, caring for animals, playing an instrument or climbing a mountain (as Naess did), stimulates creativity and critical consciousness. This issue presents several examples of how social change necessitates bodily engagement and movement, a topic relatively undertheorized in community work. Communitas Independent of theoretical grounding or preferences, community work resides in human relations and interactions, and in the relations and interactions between humans, non-human lives and places. The concept community is contested and hard to pin down, and often carries a naïve understanding of community as something generous, responsible and caring (Day, 2006; Stephens, 2010). When the concept of community is overused, it loses its edge. As will be seen in the articles, the authors operationalize the concept community through their writings about how people, non-human life and place affect each other, about how they are connected, and how different constellations facilitate or hinder social change. In this introductory article, we use the concept communitas to draw attention to the significance of these interactions and relationships – and to their precious and vulnerable character. Communitas is a Latin term, further developed by cultural anthropologist Victor Turner (1920–1983) to describe a society during a liminal period that is unstructured or rudimentarily structured (Killinger, 2010). Following Killinger, Turner (Turner, 2004, 2008) differentiates between several types of communitas. One of these is of particular interest to community work, existential (or spontaneous) communitas, which is often approached in the form of a ‘happening,’ or noteworthy event typically involving audience participation. Killinger (2010) states that optimal occasions for communitas are life in the fringes, interstices, and margins of structural forms. Communitas can also arise from inferiority, described as coming from beneath structure. The ability to give free rein to imagination, entertain, and hold the doubts, mysteries, and uncertainties of negative capability also provides the circumstances of and for communitas, (Killinger, 2010). Such moments of communitas can be created in future workshops, utopian action research or in physical theatre and music performance, or by engaging with animals, nature or art, all approaches presented in this issue. Following Edith Turner, communitas offers a number for possibilities (Turner, 2012), such as joy and the gift of knowledge. Experiences of communitas may give access to long term ties with others as others, and experiences of humanistic conscience that support, uplift, accept, sustain, and celebrate all of humanity (not just a small portion of it), and the ideals of human rights (Killinger, 2010). Killinger’s (2010) discussion of communitas relates to the idea work described by Carlsen, Clegg, Gjersvik (2012) above. According to Killinger, it should be understood that communitas as anti-structure really means it is an inversion of the normal, which resonates with the playing with ideas in Carlsen, Clegg, Gjersvik (2012). Communitas thus extends our gaze, including our backward gaze or regard. We are thus opened up to new experience and meaning-making such that we can work and play well with others (Killinger, 2010). Communitas is a treasuring of the immediate as a preparation for later change work. The idea of communitas is well suited for a discussion of how to initiate and accomplish community work as a research project or practice development project. The ephemeral and physical character of communitas is deployed in several of the projects presented in this issue. Generative themes: connectivity, materiality and affect Paolo Freire introduced the notion of boundary situations and generative themes, to refer to issues or experiences which elicited interests or created passion, and on which people were willing to take action. According to Beck and Purcell (2013), Freire identified domination and liberation as the overarching or global generative themes. Domination and liberation can be expressed at all levels of society, and people experience them as boundary situations, i.e. particularly interesting situations or paradigmatic experiences (Beck and Purcell, 2013). Examples of boundary situations are when people experience themselves as incompetent, without resources or unable to learn or make a difference in a social action. These experiences of lacking competency and social value, are learned, during upbringing, schooling, work life or by being ignored or belittled by public service providers or civil society at large. Community work is (most often) planned, carried through and sustained by face-to-face interaction in everyday life situations, and a deeper understanding of microinteraction (derogative and affirmative) is of value when ‘Cops in the head’ can be identified and counteracted. Everyday interaction is the point of departure for issue selection or creation of a common understanding of the situation at hand and holds the potentials to make any social setting develop or break down (Sue, 2015, 2010; Keller and Galgay, 2010; Goffman, 1983, 2010). While putting together this Special Issue, three concepts or themes emerged as particularly relevant: connectivity, materiality, and affect. These concepts are presently gaining (new) influence in several disciplines. The essence of these concepts is their reference to the interdependency between humans, non-human life, place and the health of our planet for our common survival and thriving. We are connected to each other, to our surrounding materiality and environment, and these connections are productive. They affect each other and create affects. Introducing connectivity, materiality and affect as key concept for community work, underscores the fact that any effort to create social change always affects a much large number of people, places, things, or interactions. Naess’ ecophilosophical standpoint emphasizing the importance of everyone doing something for themselves and their neighbours, reminds us about the interconnectedness of social life. Accordingly, any measure taken to better the health of the planet or the conditions for human and non-human life, must be locally adapted, i.e. must ‘Go glocal!’. The eco-pedagogical movement honours Freire for his contributions to critical pedagogy, and for his contribution to ecopedagogy as a means to develop robust appreciation for the collective potentials of being human and to foster social justice throughout the world (Kahn, 2010). Ecopedagogy (education) is future-oriented, building on an ecological political vision that radically opposes the globalization of ideologies such as neoliberalism and imperialism. Ecopedagogy has as one of its goals the realization of culturally relevant forms of knowledge. This turn towards ecology shows the relevance of the generative themes: connectivity, materiality, and affect. The built environment, whether social housing or a playground, is social and material, and affects and creates affects in the community. As an antidote to neoliberal individualism, focussing on connectivity explicitly values humans’ interdependency, and the dependency of all life on the Earth. Connections can be made across multiple dimensions, and assemblages can be composed of multiple bodies, machines, animals, places, or energy (Gibson, 2006). When one encounters alterity or experiences difference in culture, language, place, or temporality, we are given an opportunity to recognize Others as persons different from ourselves – but still the same. Several of the empirical cases in this issue shows how our ‘thrown-togetherness’ and ‘living-apart-together’ nurtures generosity, hospitality, and thriving. Challenges ahead – vitalizing community work through changing orientation? The collection of articles in this issue demonstrates that there is an increasing need to ‘think global and act local’ – to go glocal! We would like to point to a few challenges emerging from our collected articles, which also are of concern to community work scholars and practitioners outside the Nordic countries. Environmental challenges are particular threatening to young people’s futures. The increasing centralization and urbanization around the globe also increases pressure on the conditions for our livelihood in ways not consistent with a sustainable development. Ramsay and Boddy (2017) argue that changing our orientation from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism can support a sustainable future that acknowledges the interconnectedness of life and place. Ramsay and Boddy suggest an ecocentrism which is made up of creative application of skills, openness and work across existing boundaries and in multiple spaces. In their opinion, environmental social work assists humanity to create and sustain a biodiverse planetary ecosystem (Figure 1). Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Environment social work practice (Ramsay and Boddy, 2017:80. Reprinted with permission) Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Environment social work practice (Ramsay and Boddy, 2017:80. Reprinted with permission) The practical and theoretical approaches chosen in the projects presented in this issue can be seen as part of a change towards ecocentrism. Creativity, openness, and negotiations of place and boundaries are emergent in all projects. To instigate social change, we have to believe that a different future is possible, even when there are major threats to our existence. One of Freire’s later observations pinpoints the need for a new perspective: Freedom and the fear of losing life engender themselves into a deeper nucleus, one indispensable for life – that of communication. In that sense, the notion seems deplorable to me of engaging in progressive, revolutionary discourse while embracing a practice that negates life – that pollutes the air, the waters, the fields, and devastates forests, destroys the trees and threatens the animals (Freire, 2005:120). To be able to go glocal, anthropocentrism must be replaced with ecocentrism. The eco-philosophical approach put forward by Arne Naess and Freire’s ecopedagogy can foster creativity and joy, cheerfulness, openness and energy. Go glocal underscores the importance of local adaptations to preserve livelihood. Old slogans can be redressed to motivate everyone to go glocal in keeping with ecocentrism: ‘From users and choosers to makers and shapers’ (Cornwall and Gaventa, 2001) and ‘Movers and shakers’ (Bond et al. 2008). These slogans are way too potent not to be imported to the new eco-orientation. Ramsay & Boddy argue that important values and skills can be adapted in new ways. Environmental social work assists humanity to create and maintain a biodiverse planetary ecosystem. Core social work values, skills and knowledge can be adapted to promote social change, helping practitioners to respond to and mitigate environmental degradation. (Ramsay and Boddy, 2017:78) Lena Dominelli, who has inspired our critical thinking about anti-oppressive practice, continues to inspire community workers and others to go green (Dominelli, 2012, 2014). Community work is to create and design possibilities for learning and action. Freire (2005) anticipated the need to go green and to go glocal: Although none of that, in my judgement, makes those agents of cruelty any less responsible, the fact in itself that this tragic transgression of ethics has taken place warns us how urgent it is that we fight for more fundamental ethical principles, such as respect for the life of human beings, the life of other animals, of birds, and for the life of rivers and forests. I do not believe in loving among women and men, among human beings, if we do not become capable of loving the world. Ecology has gained tremendous importance at the end of this century. It must be present in any educational practice of a radical, critical, and liberating nature (Freire, 2005:47). Organization of the issue In the second edition of Keith Popple’s (2015),Analysing community work. Theory and practice, the concluding chapter describes the enormous changes taking place in our societies, and the future role of community work. Popple suggests that we look outside the traditional community work approaches and theories, to find new tools and inspiration. Amongst his suggestions are psychogeography (Solnit, 2001; Coverley, 2012; Beck and Purcell, 2015) and collective narrative practises. The articles in this Special Issue contribute in different ways to show the relevance of psychogeography and collective narrative practices, as well as the relevance of creativity, joy, and communitas as ‘go glocal’ responses in Scandinavian community work. To answer the call for new tools and inspiration, this issue suggests that ecopedagogy, ecophilosophy, and ecocentrism provide a new direction for community work – both theoretically and practically. The theoretical input from sociology and new materialism (Gibson, 2006; Fox and Alldred, 2017) points towards the interconnectedness of everything, and opens the possibilities for bringing the body into community work (Shilling, 2008; Thibault and Roberts, 2013). Social change is literally engaging bodies in action, often outside everyday routines and tracks, stepping out or our comfort zones (Hughes and Nicholson, 2016; Boal, 1995). The three first articles in this Special Issue by Nordgreen and Økland and Henriksbø and Sudmann, and Stenblom and Turunen, and Krüger, presents cases of inviting and including children and young people in defining the scope and aim of the change work. All three articles show how children and young people’s contributions leads to results not possible to plan or foresee ahead. The case of Kid’s tracks (Nordgreen et al.) is an example of how a variant of psychogeography were used to identify a special area for children and young people in Laksevåg in Norway, an area which later developed into a parkour park, according to their wishes. The participants in Krüger’s community music project in Bergen, Norway, combine collective narration and individual music lessons in preparation for their public performance. The young people share their stories with each other and the audience, inviting the audience to reframe their child care careers. Next Stenblom and Turunen’s project in Marielund in Sweden, is an arts-based approach to working with young people living in sociospatially segregated part of the city, where collective practices affect the neighbourhood, underscoring the importance of our material surroundings, glocal challenges and connectivity. As with Krüger’s participants, the young people in Marielund challenge the communities framing of their activities. The next three articles centre around the topics of collective learning and affective practices in intentional communities, i.e. communities which is actively created and sustained by collective efforts. Breivik and Sudmann’s article shows how engaging the students of community work in physical body work as part of the curriculum, facilitated out of the ordinary experiences for students and staff alike, and added value to the learning environment ant the overall learning outcome of the Master’s programme. Fallov and Jørgensen’s article present another ‘intentional community’ and applies MacFarlane’s concepts of a learning machine to show how the community are affected by and affect the persons with intellectual disabilities who are residing in Hjotshøj in Denmark. Next Lønning’s case study from Finnøya in Northen Norway, where residents have moved in from afar to create their own community, is an example of how ‘anti-structure’ and life in the fringes creates communitas in the community. All these intentional communities are dynamic, and the authors show how intentionality must be nurtured and preserved. The last three articles discuss different aspects of the Norwegian welfare state by presenting two examples of how marginal social groups, in this instance the indigenous Sami, and longstanding drug users, are poorly understood and encounter cultural insensitivity, derogative treat or untailored mainstream approaches. While Melbø’s article details experiences from the point of Sami people with disabilities, Sudmann’s article shows how ‘friluftsliv’ with horses create an alternative environment for welfare services. Finally, Loga’s article is a theoretical contribution to this issue, demonstrating the importance of an active civil society to preserve and reform the welfare state. Civil society is defined as a point of departure for bottom-up initiatives, and the welfare state represent the structural conditions for unleashing creativity and joy for social change. Community work in Scandinavia has benefitted from the development of the discipline in the UK. We hope that the research and development emerging from here is of interest to the English-speaking readership of this Special Issue. We are optimistic on behalf of community work and our common future. As Leonard Cohen puts it ‘There’s a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in’. Happy reading. Tobba Therkildsen Sudmann is a physiotherapist, and social scientist, with a Ph.D. from Department of Global Health and Primary Care at the University of Bergen. Her research interest is related to how people use their bodily resources to enhance their well-being and social participation, whether the means are physical activity, horses, or technology. Publications and research are directed towards social inequality in health and anti-oppressive professional practice. Jan-Kåre Breivik is a social anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Oslo, Norway. Since 2012 he is a professor in community work at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. Since 2016 he has been deeply involved in theatre work through the company Apropos Theatre in Bergen, where he functions as an anthropologist by promoting research-based theatre and strengthening aspects of social engagement within the arts. His other research interests are diverse, dealing with homelessness, social movements, disability research, diversity issues, and more. Acknowledgements Thanks to our retired colleagues Helge Folkestad and Kjell Henriksbø for the first ten years of our Master’s programme, and for contributions and comments to this Special Issue. Thanks to the Editors of CDJ for the opportunity to edit this Special Issue and for valuable inputs and comments on the articles. Funding Western Norway University of Applied Science’s annual research grants. References Abbott , C. , Taylor , P. , Block , L. et al. ( 2013 ) Action Learning in Social Work , SAGE , London, UK . Learning Matters. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Beck , D. and Purcell , R. ( 2013 ) Developing generative themes for community action, in Curran , S. , Harrison , R. and Mackinnon , D. , eds , Working With Young People , Sage , Los Angeles, CA, USA . Beck , D. and Purcell , R. 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For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Community Development Journal Oxford University Press

Editorial: special issue on community work and going glocal in Scandinavian Welfare States

Community Development Journal , Volume Advance Article (3) – May 8, 2018

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Abstract

Why a special issue on contemporary community work in Scandinavia? In this introduction we argue that present-day Scandinavian community work, e.g. the small-scale local bottom-up approaches to contemporary societal challenges, can make valuable contributions to global sustainability and our common future by facilitating creativity, joy, and communitas. By highlighting joy and creativity for social change, this Special Issue underscores the interconnectedness between global challenges and happiness, concepts when paired add new tools to the community worker’s toolbox. The argument is substantiated by a discussion of the common denominators in the eight different cases of practical community work from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, and the theoretical discussion of the role of the civil society in developed welfare states included in this Special Issue. The introduction to this Special Issue commences with a recapitulation of the ‘rebirth’ of community work in Norway after 2000, followed by a discussion of creativity, joy and communities. The next two sections present the generative themes emerging for the collected articles and discuss the challenges ahead. The last section briefly introduces the articles and shows how they answer the call for new theoretical and practical tools and approaches for the future community worker. Community work, as a practical and theoretical approach to social change, is currently the focus of renewed interest in the Nordic countries (Hutchinson, 2009; Larsen, Sewpaul and Hole, 2014). Since the 1970s, community work has been one of three major approaches in social work: individual social work, group based social work, and community work. The majority of community workers have been social workers, and their activities and projects were often motivated by political standpoints, and activism towards social injustice, as in the UK (Ledwith, 2011; Larsen, Sewpaul and Hole, 2014; Newman and Clarke, 2016). In Scandinavia, community work as a theoretical or practical subject has not been included in the curriculums for professions other than social work, whether in learning disability nursing, teacher education, health professions or correctional services. All programmes educating professionals into the welfare state’s work force focus on the importance of multidisciplinary cooperation, and interdisciplinary common knowledge, but few provide theoretical or practical tools for accomplishing these aims. From our vantage point, community work is an underused theoretical and practical approach to contemporary challenges faced by the Nordic welfare states. Furthermore, we claim that multidisciplinary approaches will strengthen community work’s relevance – whether the aim is health promotion, neighbourhood renewal or to support communities of interest. Internationally, community work was never understood to be an exclusive method for social work (Turunen, 2004). While the English concept of community work is familiar across the English-speaking world, the corresponding Scandinavian concepts of samfunnsarbeid (Norwegian and Danish) and samhällsarbete (Swedish) are seldom used, or understood, outside the realm of Nordic social work. However, the practice of community work – as community planning and development, area development, neighbourhood renewal, social mobilization, self-help organization, or participatory learning and research, are well known. Today national official reports and white papers, and global strategies on sustainability, food security, health, and welfare are challenging all professions, NGOs and civil society to appropriate collective action to reach common benefits or to instigate and sustain social change. Paradoxically, in Scandinavia, as in the rest of the Western world, the neoliberal wave favours individualization, evidence-based approaches, and rapid solutions and ‘value for money’ – much of which is at odds with basic values of community work (Ledwith, 2011; Popple, 2015). The symbolic rebirth of Scandinavian community work was manifested by the launch of the first Scandinavian cross-disciplinary Master’s programme in community work at the former Bergen University College in 2007, now part of Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. The Scandinavian network of community workers contributed with support and ‘sponsorship’ since the birth of the idea at the turn of the twenty first century. By January 2018, nearly eighty students have completed the two-year programme, equivalent of 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), and many have taken sixty ECTS in community work and contemporary social theory. The majority of the students are Norwegians or residents in Norway (immigrants), with a few exceptions for students from the UK and Tanzania, China, and Spain. The programme has welcomed students with a diverse range of backgrounds, e.g. health care professionals (nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, health promotion), educators and teachers (all levels of education), and social workers and social educators. In addition to students with a background in applied sciences, students with qualifications in the humanities and social sciences have been enroled. This amalgam of experiences and interests have been challenging and rewarding for students and staff alike. The authors of this Special Issue have been affiliated to an extended network of the Masters’ programme in community work at Bergen University College/Western Norway university of Applied Sciences. We invited teachers, lectures, researchers, students, external evaluators and collaborators in the Nordic countries to submit articles on Scandinavian/Nordic community work which could be of interest to an English readership. We appreciate the effort made by many to answer our call for papers and are happy that we are able to present this edited supplement to the Community Development Journal. Why ‘go glocal’? The foundation stone for the Bergen version of community work is an understanding of humans as creative and capable of evaluating their own situation, envisioning an alternative, orienting themselves towards other people and their environment, and capable of acting and interacting accordingly – either by themselves or by delegating agency to assistants, friends, next-of-kin or others. We have defined community work as the process of inquiring into and affecting conditions for social participation together with those concerned (Henriksbø and Sudmann, 2011). As this issue will demonstrate, the interconnectedness between humans, non-human living beings, place and materiality, have the potential to affect living conditions and conditions for social participation – for better or for worse. Community work is collaboration – which by definition counters individualization and ‘quick fixes’. The fields of public health and integration, social inequality, climate change, loss of biodiversity and sustainable development, are pre-eminent cases for community work. Community work is an appropriate response once problems, solutions or implementations are defined in political and/or collective terms (Hutchinson, 2009: 32; McDermott, 2014; Shaw, 2014). However, community work is also an appropriate response to violations of microscale citizen participation – e.g. in the field of dementia care, service design and delivery for people living with intellectual disabilities, or other human services (Sudmann and Børsheim, 2017; Sudmann and Folkestad, 2015; Gubrium, Andreassen and Solvang, 2016). Violation or neglect of children and young people’s right to participation or to exercise their citizenship rights, is also a case for community work, not at least because the solutions chosen for today’s global challenges directly impact their everyday and their future. The common denominator between global challenges and everyday microinteraction is our interdependency. People, non-human living beings and the Earth are entangled beyond our imaginary capacity. Market forces cannot solve all problems arising from population growth, population ageing, migration, non-communicable diseases, social inequalities, climate changes, or large-scale catastrophes. Welfare states and civil societies need to reverse or restrain marketization in the wake of spreading neoliberalism (Harvey, 2005, 2007; Fraser, 2009; Knutsen, 2017), to create or sustain safe and healthy living and sustainable development. Contemporary calls for active citizenship, user involvement in service design and delivery, revived democracy, self-organized self-help, neighbourhood mobilization, strengthening social cohesion or saving public spending, necessitate social interaction, trust and accessible and existing community owned land and commons. Community work can contribute with knowledge production through research, and with practical tools for sustainable changes on all levels. The Nordic welfare states are partly born out of bottom-up mobilization, local uprisings and social movements. The labour movement, the temperance movement, the lay Christian movements, the first wave of feminism and the linguistic communities (e.g. Sami, Finish, Romani, Nynorsk Norwegian, Sign languages) were important forerunners for welfare states, and still serve as inspiration and source of knowledge for contemporary social movements, e.g. environmental movements, or local mobilization calling for or protesting against new infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges, tunnels, transmission lines). Despite the fact that welfare states are a result of historical conflicts of interests, one of the hallmarks of modern day Nordic welfare societies is a low level of overt social unrest, a relatively high living standard, a high labour force participation, generous universal benefits, a high degree of equality, a high level of taxes and a high level of public spending on welfare (Greve, 2007). Nordic welfare states still appear prosperous and generous, facing fewer social challenges than many other European countries. Nordic welfare states face the same demographic changes as the rest of the Western world: longevity, decreasing birth rates, growing number of single person households, and expected increased needs for health and social services in the near future. A welfare mix (Sivesind, 2014) – i.e. welfare services provided by both public, private and voluntary sector – is already gaining momentum in Scandinavia. At a macro level, social problems or barriers for exercising citizenship may seem conspicuously absent or few in Scandinavia. However, at the micro level, the differences in life expectancy, health status and other socioeconomic differences are larger than might be expected in the Nordic welfare states. Differences in living years and in healthy years varies considerably between north and south, between city boroughs, and between indigenous people or other minorities on the one hand, and the majorities on the other hand (Popham, Dibben and Bambra, 2013). Health and societal differences can be experienced as particularly unfair or burdensome in societies were equality is a common value and ideology. These differences are recognized as unfair and unwanted by the polity and the public, and several community work projects aim at amending these inequalities, whereof some are presented in this Special Issue. Creativity, joy, and communitas for social change The Masters candidates from Bergen are equipped with a theoretical and a practical toolbox when they graduate. The theoretical tool box includes critical approaches to the analysis of social participation, inequality, social change, and inclusive research. The practical tool box includes methods to facilitate social, material, organizational or relational changes, and to make a positive difference in people’s everyday lives, together with those concerned. Following Minkler, Wallerstein, Wilson (2008) the hallmarks of community work is to facilitate empowerment and critical consciousness, community capacity and social capital, issue selection, participation and to make our work relevant (Minkler, Wallerstein and Wilson, 2008:294). Change, whether social or material, builds on more or less substantiated ideas about a better deal or future. Creativity Critical consciousness is necessary to detect and disarm our ‘Cop in your head’, as Freire called our self-censoring and unconscious acceptance of unfavourable life situations (Freire, 1972). When Antanas Mockus was elected mayor of Bogotá in Columbia in 1995, he stated that when there is nothing to be done, it is time to bring out the clowns (Goat, 2014). Mockus was inspired by Paolo Freire (Freire, 1995) and Augusto Boal, the creator of Theatre of the Oppressed (Boal, 1985), and approached Bogotá as a classroom of 6,000,000 pupils, to launch a programme, The Theatre of Civic Culture. Mockus used the clowns to facilitate civic interaction and communication in the streets of Bogotá to make the city a safer and better place to live. By replacing corrupt police with mime artists, he demonstrated that interaction is communication, and communication is pedagogy, teaching and learning. Learning gives food for thought and inspires new relations, which in turn might facilitate social change and bettering of lives. Changes in everyday microinteraction affect the macro levels. Mockus’ clowns pawed the way for social change by way of bodily engagement, an approach also applied in several of the cases presented in this issue where participants are invited to step out of their comfort zone and engage in unknown activities in unknown terrain. The Masters programme in community work in Bergen has, since its very beginning, focused on creativity and the arts as important theoretical and practical tools for the community worker. Creativity has a long history in the realms of social or therapeutic change – e.g. as preparatory methods or as action and praxis. Creative methodology such as future workshops is presently gaining new momentum, as are similar methods such as critical utopian action research, action learning, and design thinking (Jungk and Müllert, 1987; Brown, 2009; Abbott et al. 2013; Ehn, Nilsson and Topgaard, 2014; Gunnarsson et al. 2016; Hansen et al. 2016; Nielsen and Nielsen, 2016). Creativity is emotionally laden with joy or indignation, and involves place, people, product (idea, issue), and process. Joy Arne Naess (1912–2009), a passionate Norwegian mountain climber, environmentalist, activist, and philosopher, perpetually reminded us about the importance of joy and cheerfulness, and of engaging oneself in meaningful activities. Naess worried about the health of our planet and all things living, and reminded us that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. When we do something meaningful, such as caring for a plant, an animal or a person, we will experience joy and cheerfulness, and also add value to the bettering of the living conditions on Earth (Naess, Drengson and Devall, 2008; Setreng et al. 2014). Naess and Mockus both point to the physical body as a means for learning and critical consciousness. Moving our bodies always affects the context and facilitates imagination and creativity. In the book Idea Work (Carlsen, Clegg and Gjersvik, 2012), the authors present a comprehensive research-based theory about how to make ideas transform into practice or materiality. The steps to success are thorough preparation, to engage and animate as many different perspectives as possible, and subsequently to play, dramatize, scrutinize, and perform. And to laugh, contradict and be and do punk – e.g. be unconventional or politically incorrect. Daring to unleash the cop in our heads, and to do physical work and movements with our body, facilitates communication, learning in context, and creation of alternative futures or utopias. Having fun is productive, which several of the articles in this Special Issue substantiate. The late German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2002) used the concept of spiel, or play, to explain how we understand the world around us, and how we communicate and learn. Gadamer himself found great pleasure in talking with people with whom he did not share a common language. By focussing on the minutiae of micro signs and gestures, curiosity and aesthetic attention, communication is always possible, he argued. Gadamer provides a theoretical extension of Freire’s dialogical approach, stating that encounters with difference or alterity is necessary for learning and extension of one’s intellectual horizon. Difference or alterity facilitate creation of utopias and a different future (Hamlin, 2015; Vilhauer, 2010). All authors in this issue are relating their empirical and theoretical discussions to encounters with alterity or difference and to the importance of a curious and generous appreciation of the unfamiliar. Humans, like non-humans, are biological and social beings. Within the social sciences at large, the interrelationship between the biological and social body are taken into consideration to an increasing extent. The body is our public front which can be discriminated against as, e.g. the Sami people, the immigrants, or persons with intellectual disabilities know all too well. The body is also the prerequisite for social interaction, walking and talking, for dialogue and critical consciousness. Ramsden shows how walking and talking can open up strange encounters with the familiar, and prime people for communication and dialogue (Ramsden, 2017). Movement and mobility, particularly walking, stimulate perception and cognition (Ijmker and Lamoth, 2012), and henceforth support development of critical consciousness, learning and taking action. The physical body work in walking a city street, caring for animals, playing an instrument or climbing a mountain (as Naess did), stimulates creativity and critical consciousness. This issue presents several examples of how social change necessitates bodily engagement and movement, a topic relatively undertheorized in community work. Communitas Independent of theoretical grounding or preferences, community work resides in human relations and interactions, and in the relations and interactions between humans, non-human lives and places. The concept community is contested and hard to pin down, and often carries a naïve understanding of community as something generous, responsible and caring (Day, 2006; Stephens, 2010). When the concept of community is overused, it loses its edge. As will be seen in the articles, the authors operationalize the concept community through their writings about how people, non-human life and place affect each other, about how they are connected, and how different constellations facilitate or hinder social change. In this introductory article, we use the concept communitas to draw attention to the significance of these interactions and relationships – and to their precious and vulnerable character. Communitas is a Latin term, further developed by cultural anthropologist Victor Turner (1920–1983) to describe a society during a liminal period that is unstructured or rudimentarily structured (Killinger, 2010). Following Killinger, Turner (Turner, 2004, 2008) differentiates between several types of communitas. One of these is of particular interest to community work, existential (or spontaneous) communitas, which is often approached in the form of a ‘happening,’ or noteworthy event typically involving audience participation. Killinger (2010) states that optimal occasions for communitas are life in the fringes, interstices, and margins of structural forms. Communitas can also arise from inferiority, described as coming from beneath structure. The ability to give free rein to imagination, entertain, and hold the doubts, mysteries, and uncertainties of negative capability also provides the circumstances of and for communitas, (Killinger, 2010). Such moments of communitas can be created in future workshops, utopian action research or in physical theatre and music performance, or by engaging with animals, nature or art, all approaches presented in this issue. Following Edith Turner, communitas offers a number for possibilities (Turner, 2012), such as joy and the gift of knowledge. Experiences of communitas may give access to long term ties with others as others, and experiences of humanistic conscience that support, uplift, accept, sustain, and celebrate all of humanity (not just a small portion of it), and the ideals of human rights (Killinger, 2010). Killinger’s (2010) discussion of communitas relates to the idea work described by Carlsen, Clegg, Gjersvik (2012) above. According to Killinger, it should be understood that communitas as anti-structure really means it is an inversion of the normal, which resonates with the playing with ideas in Carlsen, Clegg, Gjersvik (2012). Communitas thus extends our gaze, including our backward gaze or regard. We are thus opened up to new experience and meaning-making such that we can work and play well with others (Killinger, 2010). Communitas is a treasuring of the immediate as a preparation for later change work. The idea of communitas is well suited for a discussion of how to initiate and accomplish community work as a research project or practice development project. The ephemeral and physical character of communitas is deployed in several of the projects presented in this issue. Generative themes: connectivity, materiality and affect Paolo Freire introduced the notion of boundary situations and generative themes, to refer to issues or experiences which elicited interests or created passion, and on which people were willing to take action. According to Beck and Purcell (2013), Freire identified domination and liberation as the overarching or global generative themes. Domination and liberation can be expressed at all levels of society, and people experience them as boundary situations, i.e. particularly interesting situations or paradigmatic experiences (Beck and Purcell, 2013). Examples of boundary situations are when people experience themselves as incompetent, without resources or unable to learn or make a difference in a social action. These experiences of lacking competency and social value, are learned, during upbringing, schooling, work life or by being ignored or belittled by public service providers or civil society at large. Community work is (most often) planned, carried through and sustained by face-to-face interaction in everyday life situations, and a deeper understanding of microinteraction (derogative and affirmative) is of value when ‘Cops in the head’ can be identified and counteracted. Everyday interaction is the point of departure for issue selection or creation of a common understanding of the situation at hand and holds the potentials to make any social setting develop or break down (Sue, 2015, 2010; Keller and Galgay, 2010; Goffman, 1983, 2010). While putting together this Special Issue, three concepts or themes emerged as particularly relevant: connectivity, materiality, and affect. These concepts are presently gaining (new) influence in several disciplines. The essence of these concepts is their reference to the interdependency between humans, non-human life, place and the health of our planet for our common survival and thriving. We are connected to each other, to our surrounding materiality and environment, and these connections are productive. They affect each other and create affects. Introducing connectivity, materiality and affect as key concept for community work, underscores the fact that any effort to create social change always affects a much large number of people, places, things, or interactions. Naess’ ecophilosophical standpoint emphasizing the importance of everyone doing something for themselves and their neighbours, reminds us about the interconnectedness of social life. Accordingly, any measure taken to better the health of the planet or the conditions for human and non-human life, must be locally adapted, i.e. must ‘Go glocal!’. The eco-pedagogical movement honours Freire for his contributions to critical pedagogy, and for his contribution to ecopedagogy as a means to develop robust appreciation for the collective potentials of being human and to foster social justice throughout the world (Kahn, 2010). Ecopedagogy (education) is future-oriented, building on an ecological political vision that radically opposes the globalization of ideologies such as neoliberalism and imperialism. Ecopedagogy has as one of its goals the realization of culturally relevant forms of knowledge. This turn towards ecology shows the relevance of the generative themes: connectivity, materiality, and affect. The built environment, whether social housing or a playground, is social and material, and affects and creates affects in the community. As an antidote to neoliberal individualism, focussing on connectivity explicitly values humans’ interdependency, and the dependency of all life on the Earth. Connections can be made across multiple dimensions, and assemblages can be composed of multiple bodies, machines, animals, places, or energy (Gibson, 2006). When one encounters alterity or experiences difference in culture, language, place, or temporality, we are given an opportunity to recognize Others as persons different from ourselves – but still the same. Several of the empirical cases in this issue shows how our ‘thrown-togetherness’ and ‘living-apart-together’ nurtures generosity, hospitality, and thriving. Challenges ahead – vitalizing community work through changing orientation? The collection of articles in this issue demonstrates that there is an increasing need to ‘think global and act local’ – to go glocal! We would like to point to a few challenges emerging from our collected articles, which also are of concern to community work scholars and practitioners outside the Nordic countries. Environmental challenges are particular threatening to young people’s futures. The increasing centralization and urbanization around the globe also increases pressure on the conditions for our livelihood in ways not consistent with a sustainable development. Ramsay and Boddy (2017) argue that changing our orientation from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism can support a sustainable future that acknowledges the interconnectedness of life and place. Ramsay and Boddy suggest an ecocentrism which is made up of creative application of skills, openness and work across existing boundaries and in multiple spaces. In their opinion, environmental social work assists humanity to create and sustain a biodiverse planetary ecosystem (Figure 1). Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Environment social work practice (Ramsay and Boddy, 2017:80. Reprinted with permission) Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Environment social work practice (Ramsay and Boddy, 2017:80. Reprinted with permission) The practical and theoretical approaches chosen in the projects presented in this issue can be seen as part of a change towards ecocentrism. Creativity, openness, and negotiations of place and boundaries are emergent in all projects. To instigate social change, we have to believe that a different future is possible, even when there are major threats to our existence. One of Freire’s later observations pinpoints the need for a new perspective: Freedom and the fear of losing life engender themselves into a deeper nucleus, one indispensable for life – that of communication. In that sense, the notion seems deplorable to me of engaging in progressive, revolutionary discourse while embracing a practice that negates life – that pollutes the air, the waters, the fields, and devastates forests, destroys the trees and threatens the animals (Freire, 2005:120). To be able to go glocal, anthropocentrism must be replaced with ecocentrism. The eco-philosophical approach put forward by Arne Naess and Freire’s ecopedagogy can foster creativity and joy, cheerfulness, openness and energy. Go glocal underscores the importance of local adaptations to preserve livelihood. Old slogans can be redressed to motivate everyone to go glocal in keeping with ecocentrism: ‘From users and choosers to makers and shapers’ (Cornwall and Gaventa, 2001) and ‘Movers and shakers’ (Bond et al. 2008). These slogans are way too potent not to be imported to the new eco-orientation. Ramsay & Boddy argue that important values and skills can be adapted in new ways. Environmental social work assists humanity to create and maintain a biodiverse planetary ecosystem. Core social work values, skills and knowledge can be adapted to promote social change, helping practitioners to respond to and mitigate environmental degradation. (Ramsay and Boddy, 2017:78) Lena Dominelli, who has inspired our critical thinking about anti-oppressive practice, continues to inspire community workers and others to go green (Dominelli, 2012, 2014). Community work is to create and design possibilities for learning and action. Freire (2005) anticipated the need to go green and to go glocal: Although none of that, in my judgement, makes those agents of cruelty any less responsible, the fact in itself that this tragic transgression of ethics has taken place warns us how urgent it is that we fight for more fundamental ethical principles, such as respect for the life of human beings, the life of other animals, of birds, and for the life of rivers and forests. I do not believe in loving among women and men, among human beings, if we do not become capable of loving the world. Ecology has gained tremendous importance at the end of this century. It must be present in any educational practice of a radical, critical, and liberating nature (Freire, 2005:47). Organization of the issue In the second edition of Keith Popple’s (2015),Analysing community work. Theory and practice, the concluding chapter describes the enormous changes taking place in our societies, and the future role of community work. Popple suggests that we look outside the traditional community work approaches and theories, to find new tools and inspiration. Amongst his suggestions are psychogeography (Solnit, 2001; Coverley, 2012; Beck and Purcell, 2015) and collective narrative practises. The articles in this Special Issue contribute in different ways to show the relevance of psychogeography and collective narrative practices, as well as the relevance of creativity, joy, and communitas as ‘go glocal’ responses in Scandinavian community work. To answer the call for new tools and inspiration, this issue suggests that ecopedagogy, ecophilosophy, and ecocentrism provide a new direction for community work – both theoretically and practically. The theoretical input from sociology and new materialism (Gibson, 2006; Fox and Alldred, 2017) points towards the interconnectedness of everything, and opens the possibilities for bringing the body into community work (Shilling, 2008; Thibault and Roberts, 2013). Social change is literally engaging bodies in action, often outside everyday routines and tracks, stepping out or our comfort zones (Hughes and Nicholson, 2016; Boal, 1995). The three first articles in this Special Issue by Nordgreen and Økland and Henriksbø and Sudmann, and Stenblom and Turunen, and Krüger, presents cases of inviting and including children and young people in defining the scope and aim of the change work. All three articles show how children and young people’s contributions leads to results not possible to plan or foresee ahead. The case of Kid’s tracks (Nordgreen et al.) is an example of how a variant of psychogeography were used to identify a special area for children and young people in Laksevåg in Norway, an area which later developed into a parkour park, according to their wishes. The participants in Krüger’s community music project in Bergen, Norway, combine collective narration and individual music lessons in preparation for their public performance. The young people share their stories with each other and the audience, inviting the audience to reframe their child care careers. Next Stenblom and Turunen’s project in Marielund in Sweden, is an arts-based approach to working with young people living in sociospatially segregated part of the city, where collective practices affect the neighbourhood, underscoring the importance of our material surroundings, glocal challenges and connectivity. As with Krüger’s participants, the young people in Marielund challenge the communities framing of their activities. The next three articles centre around the topics of collective learning and affective practices in intentional communities, i.e. communities which is actively created and sustained by collective efforts. Breivik and Sudmann’s article shows how engaging the students of community work in physical body work as part of the curriculum, facilitated out of the ordinary experiences for students and staff alike, and added value to the learning environment ant the overall learning outcome of the Master’s programme. Fallov and Jørgensen’s article present another ‘intentional community’ and applies MacFarlane’s concepts of a learning machine to show how the community are affected by and affect the persons with intellectual disabilities who are residing in Hjotshøj in Denmark. Next Lønning’s case study from Finnøya in Northen Norway, where residents have moved in from afar to create their own community, is an example of how ‘anti-structure’ and life in the fringes creates communitas in the community. All these intentional communities are dynamic, and the authors show how intentionality must be nurtured and preserved. The last three articles discuss different aspects of the Norwegian welfare state by presenting two examples of how marginal social groups, in this instance the indigenous Sami, and longstanding drug users, are poorly understood and encounter cultural insensitivity, derogative treat or untailored mainstream approaches. While Melbø’s article details experiences from the point of Sami people with disabilities, Sudmann’s article shows how ‘friluftsliv’ with horses create an alternative environment for welfare services. Finally, Loga’s article is a theoretical contribution to this issue, demonstrating the importance of an active civil society to preserve and reform the welfare state. Civil society is defined as a point of departure for bottom-up initiatives, and the welfare state represent the structural conditions for unleashing creativity and joy for social change. Community work in Scandinavia has benefitted from the development of the discipline in the UK. We hope that the research and development emerging from here is of interest to the English-speaking readership of this Special Issue. We are optimistic on behalf of community work and our common future. As Leonard Cohen puts it ‘There’s a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in’. Happy reading. Tobba Therkildsen Sudmann is a physiotherapist, and social scientist, with a Ph.D. from Department of Global Health and Primary Care at the University of Bergen. Her research interest is related to how people use their bodily resources to enhance their well-being and social participation, whether the means are physical activity, horses, or technology. Publications and research are directed towards social inequality in health and anti-oppressive professional practice. Jan-Kåre Breivik is a social anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Oslo, Norway. Since 2012 he is a professor in community work at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. Since 2016 he has been deeply involved in theatre work through the company Apropos Theatre in Bergen, where he functions as an anthropologist by promoting research-based theatre and strengthening aspects of social engagement within the arts. 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For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

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Community Development JournalOxford University Press

Published: May 8, 2018

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