Social Work Benefits and Risks through Evaluations of Social Workers

Social Work Benefits and Risks through Evaluations of Social Workers

Еlutina М.E.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof., Head of the Chair of Social Work Sociology, Saratov National Research State University named after N.G. Chernyshevsky, Saratov, Russia.

Klimova S.V.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof., Saratov Regional Basic Medical College, Saratov, Russia.

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For citation:

Еlutina М.E., Klimova S.V. Social Work Benefits and Risks through Evaluations of Social Workers. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 11. P. 107-117


The article is devoted to the study of social work benefits and risks in the Integrated Center for Social Services. It is based on the material of “internal” criticism. The research features are as follows: how social workers determine meaning of their activities; what are the motives for joining profession; how they determine the situation of interacting with clients, what are their expectations regarding the motives and actions of clients; which are established practices of relationships/interactions and their purely practical reasons. The analysis of in-depth interviews with social workers of the Integrated Center for Social Services allowed identifying substantial difficulties, vulnerabilities and advantages of this job. A study of mechanics of social workers’ behavior (ways to achieve credibility of clients, reasons for losing it) reveals the nature of their interaction with clients, as well as their logic of “circumventing” regulatory requirements and overcoming the boundaries of their own habits by expanding the range of orientating values in search for alternative solutions of everyday problems of customers life. In their professional work social workers tend to show characterological and/or professionally instilled moral orientation, rather than a self-seeking desire for personal advantages. Otherwise, inevitably the situation arises, which might be described as “a round peg in a square hole”. The close interdependence of such practices of social workers and their clients often leads to development of common culture in joint participation. It is especially important for older people who are cut off from any stable primary ties. According to the respondents, the profession of a social worker has a positive rating of “developed moral feeling”, but significantly lags behind in other indicators. It is still mainly branded as mechanical activity.

social work; social services; sources of motivation; care and maintenance practices; professional status; and culture of joint participation


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Content No 11, 2020