Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has opened an era of great uncertainty (Morin, 2020). The principles of order, separation, reduction and non-contradiction that guide classical logic and society are insufficient to respond to a situation in which micro and macro levels, and individual, relational and social dimensions, are manifested in their complex interdependence (Morin, 2017). For this reason, learning to go through the crisis can be a useful learning to transform the experience of discomfort into a resource for action. In social work, this possibility becomes a necessity that cannot be postponed, especially in cases where habitual patterns of action prove inadequate to deal with the social problems generated by the crisis. Within a systemic and complexity epistemology (Formenti, West, 2018), this contribution describes a research that is involving a system of socio-educational services for adults with disabilities in Lombardy, in northern Italy. The research is part of a workplace doctorate, a particular form of doctorate based on an agreement between a company and a university in order to address needs arising directly from the field. In this case, the company is a social cooperative and the need is to rethink the paradigm that guides the system of services for the social inclusion of adults with disabilities in this local community. Rethinking the paradigm behind actions aimed at the social inclusion of people who risk being marginalised from the life of a community, implies a continuous critical reflection on the implicit theories that guide the professional practices of the social workers promoting these actions. Freire (1968) speaks of "conscientization" as that educational process through which people are given a voice in order to make them aware of their social situation. It is based on the ability to critically question the frames of reference and perspectives of meaning with which experience is usually read (Mezirow, 1991). For the social workers working in these services, this implies a constant and recurring confrontation with certain questions, such as: "Within the local community, what trajectories of meaning do these services promote for and with peopole with disabilities and their families?". Critical questioning based on these questions implies, on the one hand, an unveiling of the submerged power dynamics (Brookfield, 2000), and on the other hand, the activation of other ways of knowledge, based on a sensitivity that is both aesthetic and embodied. The professional practices implemented by the social workers of these services during the months of crisis are the result of generative acts aimed at coping with the uncertainty of a situation that had made many of the usual modes of action impracticable. At the expense of instrumental rationality, what is happening is that the means found to guarantee continuity to the system are questioning the paradigm behind it. Through the use of a cooperative inquiry methodology (Heron, 1996), this research is engaging social workers and coordinators in research and training pathways (Formenti, 2017). These shared learning contexts are based on situated, layered and complex knowledge that connects action and reflection and different points of view on the micro, meso, macro levels of social action. Learning to use complex thinking, which recognises the informational scope of crisis, uncertainty and the multiplicity of different possible positionings, does not translate into a competence (in the sense of mastery) but into a accountability to continually exercise a humble professional posture (Fisher-Born, Montana Cain, Martin, 2015). This posture, together with the awareness of one's own cognitive vulnerability, rather than a limitation, can become the strong point for rethinking the cultural paradigm of these services.

Cuppari, A. (2022). The complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic between global and local level: a cooperative inquiry into the effects of the emergency on social workers in Northern Italy.. In 'LOOKING BACK FOR THE FUTURE. RECONSIDERING ADULT LEARNING AND COMMUNITIES'. PROCEEDINGS OF THE 12TH CONFERENCE OF THE ESREA NETWORK ‘BETWEEN GLOBAL AND LOCAL – ADULT LEARNING AND COMMUNITIES’.

The complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic between global and local level: a cooperative inquiry into the effects of the emergency on social workers in Northern Italy.

Antonella Cuppari
2022

Abstract

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has opened an era of great uncertainty (Morin, 2020). The principles of order, separation, reduction and non-contradiction that guide classical logic and society are insufficient to respond to a situation in which micro and macro levels, and individual, relational and social dimensions, are manifested in their complex interdependence (Morin, 2017). For this reason, learning to go through the crisis can be a useful learning to transform the experience of discomfort into a resource for action. In social work, this possibility becomes a necessity that cannot be postponed, especially in cases where habitual patterns of action prove inadequate to deal with the social problems generated by the crisis. Within a systemic and complexity epistemology (Formenti, West, 2018), this contribution describes a research that is involving a system of socio-educational services for adults with disabilities in Lombardy, in northern Italy. The research is part of a workplace doctorate, a particular form of doctorate based on an agreement between a company and a university in order to address needs arising directly from the field. In this case, the company is a social cooperative and the need is to rethink the paradigm that guides the system of services for the social inclusion of adults with disabilities in this local community. Rethinking the paradigm behind actions aimed at the social inclusion of people who risk being marginalised from the life of a community, implies a continuous critical reflection on the implicit theories that guide the professional practices of the social workers promoting these actions. Freire (1968) speaks of "conscientization" as that educational process through which people are given a voice in order to make them aware of their social situation. It is based on the ability to critically question the frames of reference and perspectives of meaning with which experience is usually read (Mezirow, 1991). For the social workers working in these services, this implies a constant and recurring confrontation with certain questions, such as: "Within the local community, what trajectories of meaning do these services promote for and with peopole with disabilities and their families?". Critical questioning based on these questions implies, on the one hand, an unveiling of the submerged power dynamics (Brookfield, 2000), and on the other hand, the activation of other ways of knowledge, based on a sensitivity that is both aesthetic and embodied. The professional practices implemented by the social workers of these services during the months of crisis are the result of generative acts aimed at coping with the uncertainty of a situation that had made many of the usual modes of action impracticable. At the expense of instrumental rationality, what is happening is that the means found to guarantee continuity to the system are questioning the paradigm behind it. Through the use of a cooperative inquiry methodology (Heron, 1996), this research is engaging social workers and coordinators in research and training pathways (Formenti, 2017). These shared learning contexts are based on situated, layered and complex knowledge that connects action and reflection and different points of view on the micro, meso, macro levels of social action. Learning to use complex thinking, which recognises the informational scope of crisis, uncertainty and the multiplicity of different possible positionings, does not translate into a competence (in the sense of mastery) but into a accountability to continually exercise a humble professional posture (Fisher-Born, Montana Cain, Martin, 2015). This posture, together with the awareness of one's own cognitive vulnerability, rather than a limitation, can become the strong point for rethinking the cultural paradigm of these services.
No
abstract + slide
social work – systemic reflexivity – crisis – cooperative inquiry – transformative learning
English
12th Conference of the ESREA Network ‘Between Global and Local – Adult Learning and Communities’: 'Looking back for the future. Reconsidering adult learning and communities'
978-84-09-37082-5
Cuppari, A. (2022). The complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic between global and local level: a cooperative inquiry into the effects of the emergency on social workers in Northern Italy.. In 'LOOKING BACK FOR THE FUTURE. RECONSIDERING ADULT LEARNING AND COMMUNITIES'. PROCEEDINGS OF THE 12TH CONFERENCE OF THE ESREA NETWORK ‘BETWEEN GLOBAL AND LOCAL – ADULT LEARNING AND COMMUNITIES’.
Cuppari, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/327464
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