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Social, Societal, Social Work and Psychological as Understood by Academic Social Workers – Towards the Phenomena-Based Disciplinary Identities

Author(s): Juha Perttula | Anna Väänänen | Gedas Malinauskas | Jūratė Gudliauskaitė-Godvadė | Paulius Godvadas

Journal: Culture and Society : Journal of Social Research
ISSN 2029-4573

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 101;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: academic social worker | content analysis | phenomenological analysis | phenomenology | identity of social sciences | disciplines of social sciences

The article presents research that studies social, societal, social work and psychological as phenomena. It focuses on them not as definitions or conceptualizations but as on the experienced and understood. The theoretical approach is phenomenology. The study has three research questions. First question is the following: What are general structures of social, societal, social work and psychological as phenomena? Secondly, what is the common structure of all four subjects as phenomenon? And, thirdly, what is their unique structure? The research material consists of the results provided by two earlier studies that focused on the understanding of social, societal, social work and psychological in Lithuania and Finland. The research material was analyzed by eight methodical steps that combined traditional content analysis and phenomenological analysis. The article describes the process of analysis in detail. The analysis reveals that all four subjects are the same phenomenon because of their contextual and interactional structure. Besides their common structure, social work and societal have most common features. Social work illustrates itself fundamentally more as work than as social. Concerning the unique structures, psychological appears as the most distinct phenomenon. Social work manifests itself particularly as a work with goals. Societal does not have anything unique. The results are discussed in the frame of disciplinary identities and possibilities for true multi-professionalism and interdisciplinary research. The phenomena-based results show that there is less co-operation between the subjects and disciplines than could and should be.
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