The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of instability in the world that may help people to recognise 'the uncertainty that accompanies the great adventure of humanity' (Morin, 2020). From the perspective of complexity sciences, this pandemic is connoted as a 'systemic emergency', namely a new phenomenon associated with the global unity of a complex system (Morin, 1977). In this crisis situation, we have seen the interdependence ot the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. In Italy, the 2020 report of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) showed a regression of nine out of 17 goals. Confinement has also been a magnifying glass for social inequalities. In the case of people with disabilities, countries have not been able to take sufficient measures to protect the rights of these people in their responses to the pandemic (COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor). For this reason, social work is being called upon to confront this emergency and to direct its action towards assistance, to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable people. This contribution reports the first results of ongoing research, involving some social workers and volunteers of a disability service system in Northern Italy. The arrival of the pandemic in Italy constituted a disruption that forced these services to interrupt their usual activities and to find new ways of action. The decision makers and managers of social cooperatives of this local area grasped the informative scope of what was happening. They decided to start research aimed at identifying useful elements to innovate practices related to social inclusion of people with disabilities. The research design is following an emergent procedure and this makes it similar to a type of post-qualitative research. The uncertainty of post-qualitative research (Carlson, 2020) is an invitation to tune in to the subtext, texture of language and felt impressions of life in motion. It does not aim for a representation of reality but to experiment with the creation of new meanings (St. Pierre, 2019). The research follows an exploratory inquiry carried out during the first wave of the pandemic in Italy. It aimed to understand the meaning attributed to the situation by 6 coordinators of these services. It was possible to identify the presence of ‘disorienting dilemmas’ (Mezirow, 1991) related to the meaning of their work, the adequacy of the tools used up to that moment, the function of the service and the relationship with families and others within this context. The results have brought awareness to the need to support the social work of these operators, in these months characterised by great uncertainty. The current research is interacting with some training courses aimed at social workers and volunteers, some of which are connoted as 'research-training' devices (Formenti, 2017). The aim is to understand the process of attribution of meaning and its transformative impact, not only on individuals, but also on their relationships, their work and the community (Alhadeff-Jones, 2012). Research, in association with training, can become an opportunity for critical reflection on the cultural and educational models of these social workers. The learning process is seen in its embodied and situated aspects: the focus is not only on the individual mind but on the whole learning situation that is created from participation in community/culture (Lave, Wenger, 1991). The practices developed during the months of emergency, the biographical memories and personal experiences of social workers and volunteers, are used within the training as resources. These resources can be drawn on in order to critically reflect on the cultural models that guide social work, also from a transformative perspective.

Cuppari, A. (2021). LEARNING TO TRANSFORM IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY. A cooperative enquiry on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on disability services in Italy. Intervento presentato a: ECER 2021 Geneva (on line) - Emerging Researchers'Conference (2-3 september), Geneva (on line).

LEARNING TO TRANSFORM IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY. A cooperative enquiry on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on disability services in Italy

Antonella Cuppari
2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of instability in the world that may help people to recognise 'the uncertainty that accompanies the great adventure of humanity' (Morin, 2020). From the perspective of complexity sciences, this pandemic is connoted as a 'systemic emergency', namely a new phenomenon associated with the global unity of a complex system (Morin, 1977). In this crisis situation, we have seen the interdependence ot the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. In Italy, the 2020 report of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) showed a regression of nine out of 17 goals. Confinement has also been a magnifying glass for social inequalities. In the case of people with disabilities, countries have not been able to take sufficient measures to protect the rights of these people in their responses to the pandemic (COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor). For this reason, social work is being called upon to confront this emergency and to direct its action towards assistance, to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable people. This contribution reports the first results of ongoing research, involving some social workers and volunteers of a disability service system in Northern Italy. The arrival of the pandemic in Italy constituted a disruption that forced these services to interrupt their usual activities and to find new ways of action. The decision makers and managers of social cooperatives of this local area grasped the informative scope of what was happening. They decided to start research aimed at identifying useful elements to innovate practices related to social inclusion of people with disabilities. The research design is following an emergent procedure and this makes it similar to a type of post-qualitative research. The uncertainty of post-qualitative research (Carlson, 2020) is an invitation to tune in to the subtext, texture of language and felt impressions of life in motion. It does not aim for a representation of reality but to experiment with the creation of new meanings (St. Pierre, 2019). The research follows an exploratory inquiry carried out during the first wave of the pandemic in Italy. It aimed to understand the meaning attributed to the situation by 6 coordinators of these services. It was possible to identify the presence of ‘disorienting dilemmas’ (Mezirow, 1991) related to the meaning of their work, the adequacy of the tools used up to that moment, the function of the service and the relationship with families and others within this context. The results have brought awareness to the need to support the social work of these operators, in these months characterised by great uncertainty. The current research is interacting with some training courses aimed at social workers and volunteers, some of which are connoted as 'research-training' devices (Formenti, 2017). The aim is to understand the process of attribution of meaning and its transformative impact, not only on individuals, but also on their relationships, their work and the community (Alhadeff-Jones, 2012). Research, in association with training, can become an opportunity for critical reflection on the cultural and educational models of these social workers. The learning process is seen in its embodied and situated aspects: the focus is not only on the individual mind but on the whole learning situation that is created from participation in community/culture (Lave, Wenger, 1991). The practices developed during the months of emergency, the biographical memories and personal experiences of social workers and volunteers, are used within the training as resources. These resources can be drawn on in order to critically reflect on the cultural models that guide social work, also from a transformative perspective.
No
paper
Scientifica
transformative learning - social work - crisis - COVID-19
English
ECER 2021 Geneva (on line) - Emerging Researchers'Conference (2-3 september)
Cuppari, A. (2021). LEARNING TO TRANSFORM IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY. A cooperative enquiry on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on disability services in Italy. Intervento presentato a: ECER 2021 Geneva (on line) - Emerging Researchers'Conference (2-3 september), Geneva (on line).
Cuppari, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/325449
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