Our call for papers for this issue of ERIS Journal invited authors to deepen the understanding of the link between inclusion and participation, by presenting their research and projects with various publics. Whether coincidental or a sign of the times, the contributions gathered here focus largely on the expertise of social work service users as a means to improve the quality of services, training and professional support. It also represents a fertile ground for innovation, as is made apparent by the recommendations for professional practice in several contributions. Consequently, participation is understood as a way to deconstruct professional representations and practice, based on feedback from experts by experience – but the implication of service user participation in this framework raises numerous practical and ethical questions, emphasized throughout the articles.

Thus, Emily Chetty, Karen Mills, and Brian Littlechild’s article explores the participation of care leavers in social work training, the possible links with epistemic exploitation and how to mitigate them. From a theoretical perspective, the article draws on theories of epistemic exploitation in the context of oppression in the UK, identifying care leavers as a marginalized group while taking their experiences of oppression. Furthermore, among other things, the article “explores the participation of those with lived experience of social work involvement, commonly known in the UK as Experts by Experience (EbE) within social work education, specifically those who have the experience of being in local authority care, Care Leavers, alongside the concept of epistemic exploitation (Berenstain, 2016)”. Finally, the article also examines the practice of co-production and the involvement of those concerned (EbE), without omitting the historical context of participation within social work.

Kvetoslava Repková’s article also focuses on the use of service users’ expertise in the evaluation of social services. In it, the author reports on a pilot experiment in Slovakia, involving experts by experience in the evaluation of the quality of social services at the ministerial level. While the relevance of involving service users in evaluation processes is no longer a matter of debate, the article does raise a number of questions about the representativeness of the panel of service users, and the operationalisation of such approaches.

The article by Laurence Costes and Hakima Mounir addresses the issue of integration through economic activity for women who are far from employment in France. The two authors focus on a group of women, trying to understand the inclusion objectives of so-called “socio-professional remobilization programs”. The central question running through the article is: in what way do these actions not convey a promise of inclusion without being able to guarantee socio-professional integration? “Based on research conducted with women who have taken part in these schemes, this article aims at reviewing the effects of such measures on the inclusion and integration of women into the labour market”. These programs require a clientcentred support concerning a range of issues, aimed at increasing these women’s chances of gaining access to employment.

Finally, the article by Sabina Zdráhalová and Alice Gojová presents the results of qualitative research carried out in the Czech Republic with parents of children placed in care for reasons of neglect, with the aim of understanding their perspective and experience of separation. The authors consider neglect as a social construct and highlight the discrepancies between families’ needs and the social services on offer. They advocate a critical social work practice, a structural reading of families’ situations, and less standardized support, more focused on families’ needs.

Two of the articles in this issue are not directly related to the theme of participation. The first, by Magdaléna Hovanová and Katarína Šiňanská, deals with the correlation between social support (i.e., the quality and number of social bonds) and adolescent radicalization trajectories, based on research conducted in Slovakia. With the correlation clearly established by the research, the authors set out to draw recommendations for the prevention of radicalization by social workers.

The second is an article by Magdalena Opletalová and Zuzana Truhlářová, entitled “Social Work in (Not) Ending Housing Need”. It brings together the points of view of a number of actors in the housing field in the Czech context, to explore the role that social workers can play in resolving the housing crisis, as well as the levers at their disposal and obstacles. They highlight the need for concerted action at micro, meso, and macro levels, in order to overcome social workers’ sense of powerlessness, and to prevent situations of vulnerability among the client group.

To conclude our introduction, we refer the reader to a research note by Anita Gulczynska, Kornelia Kruk, Natalia Krupinska, and Marcief Plociennikowski, entitled: Post-industrial City Undergoing Regeneration as a Living Space of Disadvantaged Neighbourhood Youth. Qualitative Pilot Study. The aim of the study is to discover the reality of the city (Lodz) for some of its youth (places of inclusion versus exclusion in the city) and its complex determinants. This research attempts to enrich the theoretical justifications for the development of forms of social and educational intervention that empower young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in urban regeneration programs.

Liénard Laure, Jovelin EmmanuelEditors of the issue