Günter Stummvoll: Social Work & Policing and Public Sociology

Jour Fixe


The aim of this presentation was threefold: informative, reflexive, and provide food for thought for policy makers. Firstly, Günter presented the current project "SWaPOL – Social Work and Policing". This is a European education & training project that wants to improve the collaboration between the two professions of social work and police. Equipped with fundamentally different work ethics, social workers and police officers are often confronted with the same "clients": Substance abuse and problems of disorder in public space call for both law enforcement and health and welfare services. In this project, the team developed a curriculum for a common vocational training to encourage an exchange of professional stances and practices for the benefit of marginalised groups in society. In pilot trainings in all partner countries solutions for a fruitful compromise between crime prevention and social support action were discussed.

Secondly, the SWaPOL project experience was used to offer some general reflection on the relationship between research and the public. Günter discussed two questions: (1) Who is the target group and who do we address in this project?, and (2) What kind of knowledge do we use and produce in this project? The particular combination of academic and non-academic audiences on the one hand, and instrumental and reflexive knowledge on the other, offer interesting views on the dialog between research and the public. Drawing on the concept of "public sociology" (Burawoy, 2005), the SWaPOL project was critically review to trace different approaches in scientific labour: professional, applied, critical, and public. This theoretical framework was presented as a starting point for a discussion on the positioning of extra-university research institutions such as the European Centre in Vienna.


Jour Fixe
13:00 - 14.00


Online: Zoom meeting