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How talk about a social workers' culture ?

Michel Chauvière

1The author first aims at specifying and problematising the notion of professional culture in éducateurs (french social workers specialised in youth work and/or care work) and uses for that purpose an open definition of culture, dynamised by the notion of « social world ». Two dialectically involved aspects of culture are then approached : on one side, what gathers, what is shared, and also what is used to protect the ingroup of professionals from the outgroup ; on the other side, the questions asked from outside that challenge professionals, blur the shared categories, split and divide inside. Data are drawn either from the author’s observations or from different studies already published, as well as from his long time companionship whith the éducateurs in the context of juvenile justice or social work.

The historical contingency of the educators’professionality

Jean-Pierre Jurmand

2In France, the word éducateurs refers to social workers involved in youth work and/or social care work. If éducateur’s professionality is a construct, should it not depend on the historical circumstances of its emergence and development, i.e. welfare state progress, and thus be seriously threatened when welfare ideology is questionned ? Unless this professionnality should proceed from a pure historical contingency... Introduced in the post-war period with the project of socalizing and emancipating individuals amalgamated under the label of “maladjusted”, éducateur’s professionality has been defined through a technicist discourse, provided by social sciences contributions. In the seventies, the mission and role of éducateurs were challenged by a discourse focused on person’s rights, autonony and self fulfilment.
Despite ruptures (due to sensitiveness to technical progress or to crisis of values), consistency can be found from the 50s to the 80s in éducateur’s mainstream model (a curative and psychotherapeutic model) ; these decades shared the same regime of historicity, made of belief in unlimited social progress and hope of social changes. Nowadays absence of projection in the future would echo the end of this model. An analysis of historicity consist here in assessing the professionals’ relationship with temporality, and their way of considering the articulation of the present with the future and with the past.
Historicity and the éducateur’s professionality must also be linked to account for a construct issuing from permanent but renewed themes, significantly specifying the professional intervention of éducateurs - problematics of “éducateur’s personality”, or of “hic et nunc” - to answer the questions raised within youth and/or social care work : relation to oneself, to the other and to reality.
Understanding the éducateur’s professionality through historicity allows keeping on bringing together the actual questions, asked by professionals at work, the questions from which the profession was built, and the variability of answers. From the historicity point of view, speaking of the éducateur’s professionality is a way to represent specific questionings about education on the social scene.

Being an executive in the area of special education work : what professionality (ies) in a context of rationalization of public action ?

Hélène Cheronnet

  • 1  As Lise Demailly means « A body of skills considered as normally characteristic of the members of (...)

3This article considers the ways and means according to which the managerial work with professionals who perform a taste of assistance is changing under the liberal trends of public politics.
We are trying to depict the constraints that weigh upon social and medico-social institutions and the effects of the diffusion of a culture of result and of permanent valuation of devices and individuals on the valorization of a new legitimacy as regards managerial practices.
We are here questioning the impact of the reference to social work, considered as a relation of service, on the managerial work of the heads and executive officers of social and medico-social institutions and the space left to users in such an outlook.
The evolutions in the political and technical management of public offices, the new method of regulating the social issue may comfort the executives in their managerial work with a certain number of paradoxes. We shall to try to show clearly the ways and means according to which “professionalities”1 are reshaping themselves in order to safeguard an identity of trade and to attempt, within the definition of work and its organization, to keep a place to the user in order to continue to thusly to the upholding of social link.

Mutual training thanks to educational partnership. For example in a Loire-Atlantique “ZUS” (underprivileged urban area).

Catherine Mathey-Pierre, Edith Waysand

4This paper describes a successful experiment of partnership among educational professionals, namely between teachers and street educators, in a junior high-school of an underprivileged urban area. First, the scheme which was implemented to drive all pupils to success is firstly exposed. Secondly, we shed the light on the conditions which allowed the scheme to last several years and those that let it to its termination. The exceptional nature of such a collective endeavour and its fragility are pointed out. Overall, the article highlights that professionals do not benefit from enough institutional support for handling the problems they face.

Youth at risk and malfunctioning of child protection services: how should the guidance measures for the young designated as violent be thought out? A qualitative survey in a dozen social situations within the framework of the European Program Daphné II.

Patrick Lecaplain

5Financed by the European Commission as a part of the DAPHNE II Program, the objective of this research was to carry out a comparative analysis in Europe of the mobile public assistance measures intended for families whose young and adolescent children develop violent behaviours. This research was jointly carried out by five teams of European researchers, dependant respectively on the Evangelische Fachhochschule research centre for childhood and youth of Fribourg in Germany, on the University of Halmstad in Sweden, on the University of Warsaw in Poland, on the Fachhochschule of St. Gallen in Switzerland and on the G.I.R.F.A.S/I.R.T.S of Brittany in France. The work undertaken by the French team as part of this research proposed to delineate the different “turning points” observed in the social path of a dozen youngsters exhibiting violent behaviour. Very special attention was accorded to the effects of the assistance measures they benefitted from. This research highlights the “generic” malfunctioning of the social services in their interactions with the families. It underlines the necessity of a quality relationship between a third party and the youngster caught up in the chain of violence. It give substance to the idea that this third party must be envisaged in a specific way, as far as young in difficulty are concerned, who very often lack for formative interactions in their family surroundings.

Juvenile vagrants with dogs. Backpackers imprisoned in urban lefts

Christophe Blanchard

6In recent years, a phenomenon has been puzzling the political, social and medical players of western cities: juvenile vagrancy. More and more often, these transient young drifters live with complete packs of dogs, whose awkward presence raises many issues for the local governments.
Indeed, these dogs have a direct influence on the live of these young dropouts. On the one hand, they make it easier for their owners to live (or survive) in a ruthless urban environment, be it as a practical help or an emotional outlet. Moreover, these animals create a major social link between their masters and the rest of the population. On the other hand however, the presence of these dogs is also an additional exclusion factor for an already vulnerable section of society. Most of the homeless shelters are not prepared to accommodate animals and since their young owners systematically rebuff any suggestion that they should part with their four-legged companions - be it momentarily - they most often end up sacrificing any medical or social benefits, thus worsening the unrelenting mechanism of marginalisation that entraps them in the street.

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1  As Lise Demailly means « A body of skills considered as normally characteristic of the members of a given professionnal group”. Lise Demailly, Politiques de la relation. Approche sociologique des métiers et des activités professionnelles relationnelles. Presses universitaires du septentrion, 2008, p 80.

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« Abstracts », Sociétés et jeunesses en difficulté [En ligne], n°7 | Printemps 2009, mis en ligne le 05 octobre 2009, consulté le 13 décembre 2017. URL :

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Sociétés et jeunesses en difficulté est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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