Social pedagogy in the Nordic Countries – Following the two developmental lines: social education for all and pedagogical support for those with special social and educational needs
This International Journal of Social Pedagogy special issue on Social Pedagogy in the Nordic Countries generally stems from Hämäläinen’s (2012) definition of two main developmental lines of social pedagogy: a line of social care and welfare activities preventing and alleviating social exclusion, and a line of social education supporting growth into membership of society. In the Nordic countries, both of these lines exist in social pedagogical discussion, research and practice. The special issue aims to both discuss the existence of these lines as such and show examples of social pedagogical work on the arenas of both general and special social education.
Elina Nivala, Department of Social Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
This special issue on Social Pedagogy in the Nordic Countries was created in the discussions between International Journal of Social Pedagogy Co-Editor professor Claire Cameron and Elina Nivala (Department of Social Sciences, University of Eastern Finland), when Claire was visiting Finland in early spring 2017, about the different traditions in the Nordic countries in the field of social pedagogy and also about the forums we have for Nordic cooperation. Elina later took the idea of publishing a special issue in the International Journal of Social Pedagogy, to one of these forums, namely the NERA social pedagogy network. NERA is the Nordic Educational Research Association that provides a platform for Nordic researchers in the field of educational sciences and supports collaboration between them and the international community. Every year, the NERA organises an international congress in one of the Nordic countries. At the heart of the NERA are the NERA’s 24 networks, each organised around different subject areas in educational sciences, including a network for social pedagogy that aims at strengthening the cooperation between researchers and also professionals, who are engaged or interested in the field of social pedagogy in the Nordic countries and more widely across Northern Europe.
After the introduction of the idea, there was an open call for papers that went out through the NERA Social Pedagogy network and through national networks in the field. Unfortunately, no extensive Nordic network for social pedagogy that could reach most of the researchers in the field currently exists, meaning the call for papers may not have reached everybody who may have been interested in contributing for the special issue. As such, there is a lack of representation from all Nordic countries and an overrepresentation of articles from Finland. Thus, this special issue cannot and is not able to give an overall picture of social pedagogy in the Nordic countries. Instead, the special issue shows examples of research and theoretical discussions that are topical in the field at the moment. The articles do not have as their objective to describe or compare the social pedagogical theory or practice in the Nordic countries at large. There are two articles included that aim at supporting a broader understanding of the nature of the social pedagogical field in one particular country (see 'Social pedagogical practices in Swedish welfare contexts' by Cedersund et. al., and 'Social pedagogy in a human rights context: Lessons from primary schools in Iceland' by Jóhannsdóttir & Ingólfsdóttir). The articles in this special issue do, however, address some specific research questions in the field without an explicit intention to define what social pedagogy is in their context. This special issue is thus much more about social pedagogical research in the Nordic countries than about descriptions of something called Nordic social pedagogy.
The theme for the special issue is ’Social pedagogy in the Nordic countries – Following the two developmental lines’. The theme is referring to professor Juha Hämäläinen’s (2012) definition of two main developmental lines of social pedagogy: a line of social care and welfare activities preventing and alleviating social exclusion, and a line of social education supporting growth into membership of a society. The articles in this special issue will show that both of these lines exist in social pedagogical discussion, research and practice in the Nordic countries. There is one article explicitly taking up the task of analysing the field in this framework, namely the article written by Elisabet Cedersund, Lisbeth Eriksson, Bibbi Ringsby-Jansson and Lars Svensson. Other articles deal with research questions and present practical approaches in social pedagogical work that can be situated either on the field of the so called ’general social education’, that is education for all supporting the membership of the society, or on the field of the so called ’special social education’, that is pedagogical support for those with special social and educational needs.
Jóhannsdóttir, Vilborg., & Ingólfsdóttir, Jóna
Korkiamäki, Riikka., Kallio, Kirsi Pauliina., & Häkli, Jouni
Matikainen, Minni., Männistö, Perttu., & Fornaciari, Aleksi
In process, due for publication during this autumn: