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Call for Papers: Teaching and Learning Ecosocial work

January 17, 2022

Call for Papers: Teaching and Learning Ecosocial work

We cordially welcome social work educators, practitioners, activists, and researchers currently enforcing or having experience of ecosocial (/ecological/ environmental/ green) social work to contribute to a textbook on Teaching and Learning Ecosocial Work. The aim is to develop an online, open access resource book to serve a diverse group of social work educators, ranging from those just curious and considering, to those already engaged with ecosocial teaching, learning, and practice.

Ecosocial work is an evolving framework to think about and do social work from the premise that humans are part of, and dependent on, the web of life on Earth. Accordingly, the necessary human responsibility is to safeguard, and at the very least not overly harm, the continuity and delicate balance of species lineages, ecosystems, and other complex interconnected systems that life on Earth depends on. Currently, however, we are witnessing and ourselves embedded in massive planetary scale socio-environmental problems that are precisely caused by human activity, such as the climate crisis, rapid acidification of oceans, biodiversity loss and species extinction. While the scale of the ongoing ecological changes is so vast and fast-moving that it is difficult to fully conceive, there is no doubt that the changes have already both deepened and caused new forms of social, environmental, and ecological injustice and inequality.

Caused largely by extractivist overconsumption of natural resources and conjoined with the lifestyles and production and consumption patterns boosting them, the current ecological crises severely endanger the continuity of human and other forms of life on Earth. While this alone challenges the meaningfulness and ethical justification of extractive and consumerist relationship to ‘nature’, it also cuts the ground from under social work’s mission to support and protect those vulnerable and marginalised. Besides traditional service user groups, vulnerability now also concerns future generations and other than human beings. At the same time, the highly nationalistic character of existing service structures notwithstanding, in an interdependent world social work’s above stated mission leaves no ethical grounds to dismiss the distress of those lacking citizenship statuses, or those bearing the brunt of global environmental problems far away from one’s own location.

Recognising that ecological sustainability is the precondition for economic and social sustainability, even though difficult to achieve without them, ecosocial work strives to contribute towards a profound and fair sustainability (/ecosocial/ green) transition, as well as widespread adoption of an ecosocial paradigm in social work and societies at large. However, as modern social work stems largely from the same anthropocentric and modernist world view as the current environmental problems, this requires in-depth rethinking and renewal of social work as a multifarious field in itself. In other words, social work must become a transformed discipline, profession, and movement. Steps towards this direction are taken, among other things, by critically examining, questioning, and updating social work’s knowledge and value bases, institutional structures, and modes of work, including what kind of notions of good life and wellbeing social work promotes and beliefs in, for whom, and how.

At this historical moment, social work in general and ecosocial and related forms of work particularly, is in the process of reconfiguring its relationship to other than human beings and the planetary limits of existence. While there is clearly a need for a comprehensive systemic renewal, the ecosocial work has proceeded mostly from within the system, developing niches of fairer and more sustainable everyday practices, income earning possibilities, relationships, and wellbeing. On one hand, ecosocial practices recognize and utilize the healing power of the natural environment and animal companions, such as in various forms of nature and/ or animal assisted care. On the other hand, various activities are organised around re- and upcycling practices so that they both provide sustainable income earning opportunities and promote and enable resource sparing ways of life. Likewise, sustainable local food production provides multiple opportunities to work on both social and environmental issues, for example, through community gardening or community assisted forms of agriculture.

At any rate, the ecosocial starting point is that even global change is made locally and that also social work clients and people with lesser resources must have the right and opportunities to sustainable choices and lifestyles. Furthermore, noting the massive social and cultural challenge to adapt human needs and wants (of especially the over-consuming section of humanity) to the planetary boundaries, social work, being specialised in promoting change in the lives of individuals and communities, has in principle useful know-how to apply. Among other things, this may include supporting the emotional and other processes that people need to go through when changing their lifestyles, organising meaningful sustainable living, care, support, and recreational systems locally, and work for equality, diversity, just transition and societal peace. At the same time, it is important to learn and embed more respectful and collaborative ways to relate with and be part of the web of life across the micro, meso and macro levels of societal life.

The book Teaching and Learning Ecosocial work invites conventional full-length articles (6,000-7,500 words including references) and shorter policy commentaries or policy and/or practice papers (4,000 words including references) as well as creative pieces, such as poetry or visual illustrations. The contributions should address the previously described issues in social work theory and practice particularly from the teaching, learning, and application point of view. What kind of new thinking and skills does ecosocial work require from current and future social workers and how are, or how could these be taught, practised, and learned? The inputs to the book may cover analyses of existing curriculum and teaching methods, experiences of learning and of actual practices, such as of hands-on collaboration with various communities or groups, as well as future visions.

The book, edited by Catherine Forde, Pieter Lievens, Komalsingh Rambaree, Satu Ranta- Tyrkkö, and Helena Belchior-Rocha, is part of a broader endeavour, supported by the European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW) to develop collaborative teaching and learning on ecosocial work. The association hosts a special interest group (SIG) on ecosocial work, created in 2020, which has arisen from the common interest of a group of educators, researchers, and professionals in disseminating, sharing, collaborating, and working on ecosocial issues.

If you are interested in submitting a paper proposal for this textbook, please email a 300-word abstract, outlining the article’s contents, including its methodology and fit with this textbook aims, alongside a 50-word author biographical statement, to

All submissions must be received by 15th February 2022. The submissions selected by the editors will be invited to submit a full article which will then be subject to a double-blind peer review procedure. Invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee publication, and all decisions are ultimately those of the textbook editors. The deadline for full papers will be 30th August 2022.

Information for Authors (summary) Deadlines

Abstracts 300-word abstracts + 50-word bio by 15th February 2022 to Helena_Rocha@iscte-

Feedback on the abstracts by early March 2022

Half-way manuscripts or equivalent material by 31st May 2022

The final manuscripts/ equivalent material by 30th of August 2022

Guidelines for articles Write in MS Word format 4000-7,500 words in total depending on the format, including an abstract, text, tables, images, and references.

Peer Review Policy & editorial Procedures All submissions must be received by 15th February 2022. The submissions selected by the editors will be invited to submit a full article which will then be subject to a double-blind peer review procedure. Invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee publication, and all decisions are ultimately those of the textbook editors. The deadline for full papers will be 30th August 2022.

Best Regards,

Catherine Forde, Pieter Lievens, Komalsingh Rambaree, Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö, and Helena Belchior-Rocha

Corresponding editor: Helena Belchior-Rocha, e-mail: