Studying inequality, power and social justice in social work and child welfare research – Ph.d.-kurs på NTNU 22.-24. april 2024

Miniatyrbilde for Studying inequality, power and social justice in social work and child welfare research – Ph.d.-kurs på NTNU 22.-24. april 2024

Where and when?

22 – 24 April 2024, Tunga Campus, Dep of Social Work, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Room: Campus Tunga, Room TU-TS BU503 

The course is now open for registration – how to apply, see NTNU-admission

Admission deadline: 1st of February 2024

Course content

Inequalities in the context of social work and child welfare policy and practice have attracted much attention in research over the last decade. Much of this research has drawn on the techniques used by health researchers to map the social determinants of life expectancy, illness, and other outcomes. However, the study of inequalities in social work and child welfare must take into account the normative and value-based nature of these fields. While evidence of inequalities in child welfare interventions is steadily accumulating, theoretical conceptualizations regarding the mechanisms that underlie it are still in the early stages of development. How then can we address normative, relational, systemic and scientific complexities in research activities? How is inequality, power and social justice understood and conceptualized? How do we incorporate an intersectional approach to our research and develop more nuanced understandings of the field?
This course will examine some of the theoretical and ethical challenges associated with researching inequality in the fields of social work and child welfare. The course will also introduce students to methodological approaches and empirical findings from international studies within the area of child welfare systems.

Learning outcomes

Students will:
– gain knowledge about central theories in the field of social inequality, social work and child welfare
– think critically about researching, such as conceptualization and theorizing inequality and ethical dilemmas, in the context of social work and child welfare
– Gain knowledge on the empirical findings of the   international research projects and learn about –the methods used when researching child welfare inequalities
– Gain an in-depth understanding of the following key concepts: social justice, social power, stigma, intersectionality 

Learning methods and activities

Lectures, seminars, formative presentations by the participants, and facilitated in-class discussions. The course is taught in English. 

Compulsory assignments

Written assignment (4500-5000 words) linked to one issue that deals with theoretical and/or ethical challenges in social work inequality research.

Required previous knowledge

Master’s degree or equivalent

Course materials

General and individually selected syllabus. The general syllabus is announced at the beginning of the course. Deadline for submission of individually selected syllabus is stated at the beginning of the course.

Program (preliminary)

NTNU, Campus Tunga, Trondheim
Course coordinator: Bente Heggem Kojan
Involved staff: Anna Gupta, Royal Holloway University of London; Davara Bennett, University of Liverpool; Rick Hood. Kingston University London; Bob Lonne, NTNU

22nd of April                                    
12.00Welcome, Bente Heggem Kojan
12.15What is inequality? Welfare inequalities, Rick Hood
13.30Power, justice and ethical practice in child welfare – Sorting the research wheat from the chaff, Bob Lonne 
15.15-16.00What is Intersectionality? Why is it important to think about intersectionality in child welfare research? Anna Gupta
23rd of April                                        
09.00 Researching inequality in normative welfare interventions, Bente Heggem Kojan
10.15Researching welfare inequalities – quantitative approaches, Rick Hood
11.30Researching child welfare inequalities – a multi-method study on children in care in England , Davara Bennett
Parallel workshops with students presenting and discussing abstracts/ideas for essays. Workshops to be lead by involved staff. 2.5 hours (with 30 min break in middle). Appr. four students in each group = 30 mins per student to present.
a.           Presentation of case (5 mins)
b.          Clarifying questions (5 mins)
c.           Discussion (15 mins – presenter listens)
d.          Presenter concludes – (5 mins)
18.00Joint dinner for involved staff and PhD candidates (at own cost).
24th of April                                                     
09.00  Researching Experiences of child welfare inequalities – Listening to Children and families, Anna Gupta
10.45Couch talk led by Anna Gupta. Current and future challenges in studying inequality in social work – summarizing reflections and learnings with Bob Lonne, Rick Hood, Davara Bennett, Bente Heggem Kojan and PhD students
12-13  Lunch