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Social Work

Programme of research

Research activities of the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Work, Social Pedagogy and Social Welfare (IRISS) are related to processes of social change by addressing the underlying dynamics and rationalities as well as the perspectives of individuals. Social change raises questions of social cohesion, well-being and of governance. Social change affects models of social justice and social inclusion, most notably with respect to vulnerable groups.

The research activities of the institute contribute to the development of Social Work as a profession and a discipline in an international perspective. They support innovation in Luxembourg’s social sector by scientific follow-up and evaluation, by generating knowledge and dissemination. The institute links Luxembourgian developments to international and global debates and hereby provides for reflexivity and sustainability in social development.

The main research questions focus on transitions and transformations in different fields of Social Work, Social Pedagogy, Education, and Social Welfare, including discourses, organization(s), and individuals:

The institutional frames regulating transitions (i.e. welfare regimes and their transformations) are of specific interest under a comparative perspective. They underline the role of specific national and supranational public policies in the dynamics of transitions.

From a perspective of organizational research, the interesting question is how social services change and due to which rationalities. This also aims at questions of organisational programmes and interactions, e.g. concepts of care and education in different formal, non-formal and informal settings.

At the same time, transitions are always linked with specific challenges for individuals who have to cope with these changes presenting risks and opportunities.

Three lines can characterize the profile of research activities:

  • Life-worlds, Social Support and Social Networks
    Rapid and on-going social change substantially affects social life-worlds, resources, and social relations of that Social Work wants to reach. Research focuses on suffering and burdens in life-worlds, biographies and communities. It highlights ways of coping, forms of mutuality, support, resiliency, and solidarity including the field of economy.
  • Transitions during the life course
    Research focuses on institutional framings of transition processes, i.e. transitions especially of young people into work, inclusion of individuals with disabilities, transitions in regard to care systems (e.g. care leavers, or assessment and planning), on older people into an after work period or transitions in contexts of migration. The institute’s research in this line tackles questions of ‘Bildung’ in non-formal and informal settings (informal and non-formal learning), of coping strategies and of institutional and organizational frames and social service provision, contributing to a distinct Social Work-perspective.
  • Transformations and Changes of Social Work
    Research activities accompany the reform of social work professions in Luxembourg and are dedicated to relevant issues of international discourses on professionalization (ethics, methods, interdisciplinarity). In respect to this, our aim is to contribute to innovation and quality in social service provision, guided by the needs and experiences of service users. Furthermore, transformations and changes of social policies are analysed on a national scale, and in an international comparative approach aiming at contributing to social cohesion and sustainability.

Activities and offers of IRISS

The team of IRISS is committed to contribute to the development of social services and their quality. If you are interested in a cooperation, please, do not hesitate to contact the respective team member or iriss@uni.lu


Former Employees:

  • Ute Karl
  • Julia Jäger, Dipl. Psych.
    Research Associate