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On Multifaceted Commonality: Theories of Social Pedagogy in Germany

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International Journal of Social Pedagogy

UCL Press

Theory, Social Pedagogy, Germany, Ontology, Reification

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      Abstract

      This paper makes an attempt to interpret the German debate on social pedagogy as a multifaceted perspective that, whilst diverse in its assumptions about what social pedagogy is, also shows a striking commonality. To exemplify this, we intentionally focus on dominant theories of social pedagogy in Germany, which aim to directly answer the question of what social pedagogy is. However, in attempting to contribute to a clearer understanding of social pedagogy as a theoretical phenomenon, it is not sufficient to describe these theories and the various ideas of social pedagogy they generate. Instead, it is essential to deconstruct how these theories reify their numerous assumptions on social pedagogy. We will therefore argue that it is worthwhile not to focus too narrowly on what is reified as social pedagogy in dominant theories in Germany. Instead, we suggest a careful analysis of how social pedagogy is commonly theorized. Our hypothesis is that, in Germany, prominent theories of social pedagogy reify social pedagogy by means of a distinctively ontological mode of reification. This mode we see as a common pattern of dominant theories of social pedagogy in Germany, regardless of the different objects of social pedagogy produced by these theories. Beyond a mere critique, we intend to also explain this mode at the end of our paper and raise the question whether it might point to a broader concept of how theories of social pedagogy and social work are usually generated in Germany and beyond.

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      Most cited references 21

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      Paradigms and Politics: Understanding Methods Paradigms in an Historical Context: The Case of Social Pedagogy

       W. Lorenz (2008)
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        Social Pedagogical Eyes in the Midst of Diverse Understandings, Conceptualisations and Activities

         Juha Hämäläinen (corresponding) (2012)
        The concept of social pedagogy consists of two parts. The principal term is ‘pedagogy’ and the qualifying one is ‘social’. The word ‘social’ is used in different ways and contexts. Therefore, there are also many kinds of semantic interpretations of the concept of social pedagogy. This paper discusses discrepancies of the concept of social pedagogy, paying attention especially to different uses of the qualifying attribute ‘social’. Attention is paid to varieties of theoretical self-conceptions of social pedagogy within the history of the concept.
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          Social education and social pedagogy: reclaiming a Scottish tradition in social work

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            University of Trier, Germany
            University of Fribourg, Switzerland
            Author notes
            Correspondence to: Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann, University of Trier, Department No. 1 - Educational Sciences, Research Unit: Social Pedagogy II, 54286 Trier, Germany. Email: sandermann@ 123456uni-trier.de ; Prof. Dr. Sascha Neumann, Université de Fribourg, Department of Education, Rue P.-A. Faucigny 2, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland. Email: sascha.neumann@ 123456unifr.ch

            *Dr. Philipp Sandermann is a Professor of Social Pedagogy at the University of Trier, Germany since 2011. He received both his diploma degree in social pedagogy (2004) and his PhD (2008) at the Free University of Berlin and was a visiting research associate at the University of Chicago from 2009 to 2010. His fields of interests include international comparisons of social work practice, welfare state sociology, child advocacy and welfare consumer protection, and research on social work theory.

            Dr.Sascha Neumann is a Professor of Educational Research at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and head of the University’s Centre for Early Childhood Education (ZeFF). He received his PhD at the University of Trier in 2007 for his dissertation on theory building in German social pedagogy. Before joining the University of Fribourg he worked as senior researcher at the University of Luxembourg and co-led several research and development projects focusing on the quality of publicly funded early childhood education. His main research interests include the theory and history of social work, social studies of early childhood, quality of early childhood education services as well as multilingual education in the early years.

            Journal
            ijsp
            ijsp
            International Journal of Social Pedagogy
            IJSP
            UCL Press (UK )
            2051-5804
            1 January 2014
            : 3
            : 1
            : 15-29
            10.14324/111.444.ijsp.2014.v3.1.003
            Copyright © 2014 The Author(s)

            This work is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-NC-SA) 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/, which permits re-use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided any modifications of this material in anyway is distributed under this same license, is not used for commercial purposes, and the original author and source are credited

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