What the History of Community Work for Community Work and Social Work in Contemporary Times Tells Us?

Detlef Baum

Detlef Baum’s main emphases in research and teaching are urban sociology, social problems in cities, socio-spatial segregation, poverty, and social exclusion in the city, social work, and community work in the city. He is member of the scientific board for the Poverty Report of the Rheinland-Pfalz, member of the scientific board “community work and the development of deprived areas” of the city Saarbrücken, and member in a working group that emphasises the development of social cities.

OBJECTIVES: The focus is on the historical reconstruction of community work. Two questions are important in this context: (1) Why is community work becoming increasingly important in social work today? (2) How has community work developed from a social work method to its own theoretical and analytical approach? THEORETICAL BASE: The history of community workdraw s attention to the relationship between the objective structures of disadvantaged dwelling areas and the behaviour, thinking, consciousness, and self-understanding of its dwellers because of their disadvantaged dwelling condition and how these conditions can be changed together with the dwellers. METHODS: The article focuses on the reconstruction of the history of community work from its beginning and in the newer history in Europe and especially in Germany in relationship to social work and social policy. OUTCOMES: The article describes the historical development of community work as an approach of a socio-spatial social work against the background of the social change in modern societies. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The article reflects the historical development of community work from a method to its own theoretical and practical approach of social work in specific socio-spatial contexts.

community development, deprived areas, socio-spatial segregation, social work and social policy in cities

p. 97-112