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Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Introduction: point of entry
1 Social work within governmental, social and cultural regimes
2 Social work metamorphoses: practice, education and research
3 Professional practices in national contexts
PART I: Soft authoritarian governments
4 Hong Kong: ruling principles of the government and responses of social work education and practice
5 A new horizon for institutionalizing the social work profession: is there a new hope for Malaysia?
6 Social work education in soft-authoritarian Singapore
7 Socio-economic development in the context of social work and social welfare in Thailand
PART II: Liberal democracies
8 Professional uncertainty among Japanese social workers
9 Social work education in the making of a welfare state: South Korea’s experience
10 Social work in Taiwan: State programming and the search for an empowered profession
PART III: Fragile democracy
11 Programming of social work in Indonesia
PART IV: State socialism
12 The governmental technology of social work in China
13 Social work education in Vietnam
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Asian Social Work

The countries of East and Southeast Asia, taken as a whole, display a laboratory of social and political conditions, with individual countries presenting a variety of political, cultural and social characteristics, some with one-party state systems, others with stable liberal democracies and yet others with more fragile democratic systems. As such, the region presents a unique opportunity to examine the relationship between diverse national environments and social work education regimes. In this book, social work educators and theorists from around East and Southeast Asia provide accounts of the social work programs within the higher education systems of their respective countries and compare them to those of their neighbors. This is the first book to offer a structured account of how social work and social work education have emerged and finds their present place in the historical, economic, political, urban/rural and higher education contexts of Southeast Asia and East Asia. Experts from the region assess the extent to which these countries’ systems possess a collective coherence, while examining the diversity among them. Ian Shaw undertook work on this book while S R Nathan Professor of Social Work at the National University of Singapore. He also is Professor Emeritus at the University of York, England. He was the initiator of the European Conference for Social Work Research, the first chair of the European Social Work Research Association (ESWR A) and a founder editor of the journal Qualitative Social Work. He has authored almost 100 peer reviewed papers, over 20 books, approximately 60 book chapters and various research reports. Rosaleen Ow is currently Senior Lecturer at the Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore with an MSc from University College, Cardiff, Wales, and a PhD from the National University of Singapore (NUS). She was a social work practitioner, working mainly with children and families with very low income in Singapore and Wales, before becoming an academic at the National University of Singapore. Her research interests and writing are focused on family and child welfare and the broader theme of social work in cross cultural contexts.

Routledge Advances in Social Work

Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People Minding the Knowledge Gap Andrew King, Kathryn Almack, Yiu-Tung Suen and Sue Westwood Visual Communication for Social Work Practice Power, Culture, Analysis Sonia Magdalena Tascon Art in Social Work Practice Theory and Practice: International Perspectives Ephrat Huss and Eltje Bos The Uses and Abuses of Humour in Social Work Stephen Jordan Eco-Social Transformation and Community-Based Economy Susanne Elsen The International Development of Social Work Education The Vietnam Experience Edward Cohen, Alice Hines, Laurie Drabble, Hoa Nguyen, Meekung Han, Soma Sen and Debra Faires International Perspectives on Social Work and Political Conflict Edited by Joe Duffy, Jim Campbell and Carol Tosone Asian Social Work Professional Work in National Contexts Edited by Ian Shaw and Rosaleen Ow R ASW

Asian Social Work Professional Work in National Contexts

Edited by Ian Shaw and Rosaleen Ow

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Ian Shaw and Rosaleen Ow; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Ian Shaw and Rosaleen Ow to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-1-138-61179-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-46522-2 (ebk) Typeset in Galliard by codeMantra


Contributors Introduction: point of entry

vii 1


1 Social work within governmental, social and cultural regimes



2 Social work metamorphoses: practice, education and research



3 Professional practices in national contexts




Soft authoritarian governments


4 Hong Kong: ruling principles of the government and responses of social work education and practice


S A M W. K . Y U A N D RU B Y C . M . C H AU

5 A new horizon for institutionalizing the social work profession: is there a new hope for Malaysia?



6 Social work education in soft-authoritarian Singapore Y E N K I A T C HON G A N D I R E N E Y. H . N G


vi Contents

7 Socio-economic development in the context of social work and social welfare in Thailand




Liberal democracies


8 Professional uncertainty among Japanese social workers



9 Social work education in the making of a welfare state: South Korea’s experience



10 Social work in Taiwan: State programming and the search for an empowered profession


Y E U N -W E N K U


Fragile democracy


11 Programming of social work in Indonesia




State socialism


12 The governmental technology of social work in China



13 Social work education in Vietnam



Notes References Index

227 233 259


Editors Ian Shaw undertook work on this book while S R Nathan Professor of Social Work at the National University of Singapore. He also is Professor Emeritus at the University of York, England. He was the initiator of the European Conference for Social Work Research, the first chair of the European Social Work Research Association (ESWR A) and a founder editor of the journal Qualitative Social Work. He has authored almost 100 peer reviewed papers, over 20 books, approximately 60 book chapters and various research reports. In the last decade he has written extensively in the journals on issues arising from the relationship between social work and sociology over the last century. His work has been translated into several languages including Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Welsh. He has jointly edited the ESWR A sponsored book series ‘Research in Social Work’ for Policy Press. His present research is an archival project on the role of women in the development of social work with children and families in postwar Singapore. He is pursuing a graduate program in creative writing, which sits alongside his interests in gardening, his local church, volunteering in a village shop, playing badminton (badly) and Bob Dylan. His recent books include Private Troubles or Public Issues? Challenges for Social Work Research (2019, Routledge, with Walter Lorenz), Research and the Social Work Picture (2018, Bristol: Policy Press) and Social Work Science (2016, New York: Columbia UP). Rosaleen Ow is currently Senior Lecturer at the Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore with an MSc from University College, Cardiff, Wales, and a PhD from the National University of Singapore (NUS). She was a social work practitioner, working mainly with children and families with very low income in Singapore and Wales, before becoming an academic at the National University of Singapore. Her administrative role at NUS included being the Head of Department from 2008 to 2015 before stepping down to go on sabbatical leave in 2016. Apart from teaching, she has been and is still an active volunteer with government and non-government agencies serving children with cancer and chronic illnesses, and with families in need of formal social service support. Collaborating closely with NGOs and formal government bodies, her research and writing are focused on examining the social

viii Contributors and cultural factors that are interlinked with the needs and challenges of different types of families and the service provisions available to support such families. She was a founder member of the Singapore Social Work Accreditation and Advisory Board and a member of the steering committee involved in establishing the National Social Work Competency Framework in Singapore. Her recent publications include co-authoring of ‘Quality of Life, Self-Esteem, and Future Expectations of Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors’ (Health and Social Work, 2017); ‘Death of a child: Perspective of Chinese mothers in Singapore’ (Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 2017); ‘The Hong Kong Statement on Practice Research 2017: Contexts and Challenges of the Far East’ (Research on Social Work Practice, 2018). Recent book chapters include ‘End of life issues: perspectives in multi-­ cultural societies’ in Ling, Martin & Ow (eds.) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); ‘Towards a Resilience-Focused Approach for Advancing Children and Youth Services in Singapore’ in Ow & Khng (eds.) (Pearson, 2016); ‘Cross-Cultural Social Work’ in Munford & O’Donoghue (eds.) (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019); ‘Introduction to theories in mental health, illness and intervention’ in Ow & Poon (eds.) (Springer Nature, forthcoming). Currently, she is the editor of an online research brief ‘Snippet’ for the Social Service Research Centre at NUS. Alongside family commitments, she also volunteers at her local church, serving in the Rock Kidz ministry and watches historical dramas and takes long walks in her neighbourhood to ‘space-out.’

Contributors China LEUNG Tse Fong, Terry PhD is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She was a social worker and social service manager in non-governmental welfare organizations in Hong Kong for nearly 20 years before starting her academic career. Terry had several research projects on social work in Mainland China, exploring the relevance of social work in the socio-political context of socialist China and its significance to the development of civil society in Mainland China. She also researched on social work education, with particular emphasis on reflexivity of social work students at times of risk and uncertainty. Findings of her research works have been published in international academic journals. Dr Tak Chuen LUK is currently Project Coordinator in the Yunus Social Business Centre at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. First trained in social work and later earning his doctorate of Sociology from the University of Chicago, Dr Luk has previously been Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology in Hong Kong Baptist University, Head of Research in Oxfam Hong Kong, Chair of the Hong Kong Zigen Foundation, member of the boards of East Asia Greenpeace and Taiwan Greenpeace and has established the Centre of Research and Development in Beijing. He is committed to

Contributors  ix researching about NGO and social work practices on the issues of poverty and sustainable development. Currently, he is working on the development of Developmental Social Work in the areas of rural-urban migration, circular migration and indigenous communities in rural development and disaster affected regions. Dr XIANG Rong  is Associate Professor and Director of the Social Work Institute at the School of Ethnology and Sociology (Social Work), Yunnan University. Dr Xiang obtained her PhD from the Department of Applied Social Studies, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She founded the Yunnan Heart to Heart Community Service Centre, through which she and her team have been exploring and advocating for developmental social work through service learning, action research and on-the-job training. Dr Xiang and her team have completed research on ‘Rural-Urban Circular Migration and Developmental Social Work theories and practice models’ funded by the National Social Science Foundation. The team has also collaborated with various governmental and non-governmental bodies in China to develop service mechanisms and practice models for social work in China. In the last two years, Dr Xiang and her team have been developing the social work eco-­ system in Yunnan and assisted in establishing more than 20 social work agencies through incubators for social work agencies. They also participated in developing policy advocacy and research in the areas of poverty reduction, community governance and equitable access to social services.

Hong Kong Sam W.K. Yu is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at the Hong Kong Baptist University. He has taught social work and social policy for more than 20 years. His major research interests are welfare regimes, social exclusion of Chinese people in the UK and defamilisation/familisation. He is the programme director of a top-up Bachelor’s degree programme in social policy. He was the external examiner of social work education programmes in three higher education institutes in Hong Kong. He has authored and co-authored 53 articles published in academic journals in the fields of social work and social policy. Dr Ruby C.M. Chau  is an Assistant Professor in Public and Social Policy in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham. She has conducted national and comparative research on issues concerning women and family care, welfare for disabled people and health and social care for older people in several European and Asian countries. Her latest project, ‘Social Investment Perspective in Work-family Reconciliation Measures in Europe and East Asia’ (SIPEA), was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant no. 708305). She has published widely in international journals and refereed books. In the 2017 Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions Awards, she was selected as one of the top

x Contributors ten promising scientists in the category of ‘Contributing to a Better Society.’ She is an editorial board member of two international journals: International Social Work and Journal of Women and Aging.

Indonesia Professor Dr Adi Fahrudin is a Professor in Social Work at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Muhammadiyah Jakarta. He obtained a Doctorandus (Drs) in Social Work from the Bandung College of Social Welfare in 1991 and the degrees of Bachelor of Psychology (B.Psych) from Pasim University of Bandung (2010) and Master of Social Science (Social Work) at the University of Science Malaysia in 1996, obtaining a PhD in Social Work from the same university in 1999. He is research collaborator/visiting researcher at the Social Work Research Institute, Japan College of Social Work and Asian Research Institute for International Social Work (ARIISW), Shukutoku University, Japan. His research focuses in the field of micro social work practice, psychosocial aspects of disaster, aging, indigenous social work, social work education and training, child abuse and neglect, youth and family welfare, and also of chronic and terminal illness. He is currently researching psychosocial disaster in Indonesia and Malaysia and also indigenous and religious social work, especially Islamic social work. He has published widely on disaster social work, child abuse and clinical social work incident based-­ practice. Prof Adi is active in national and international social work communities such as; APASWE, APISWEA and the International Consortium on Social Development (ICSD).

Japan Dr Takahiro Asano is Assistant Professor, Integrated Human Studies Department, Japan Lutheran College, Japan. He joined Japan Lutheran College (JLC) in 2016 after completing his PhD at the University of York, UK. Before starting his PhD, he had worked for the Kyoto International Social Welfare Exchange Centre (KISWEC) for about eight years in Kyoto, Japan; KISWEC is a non-profit organisation which involves professional education for both pre-qualified and post-qualified social workers. His research interests in professional learning for social workers are, to a considerable extent, an outgrowth of his work experiences in KISWEC. His PhD study examined how Japanese social workers understood learning experiences and continued to learn as professionals in their working context with qualitative methods: interviews and observations. His ongoing interests focus on how we can design a learning environment so that social workers keep developing professionally in their current working context where ‘control and standardisation’ have been increasingly emphasised within the evidence-based practice movement.

Contributors  xi Dr Michihiko Tokoro is Professor in Social Policy, Department of Human Development and Welfare, Osaka City University. His main research interest is social security policy, in particular, cash benefits for families with children. He has conducted several comparative studies in welfare states, including Japan, UK and other developed counties. His research focuses on financial issues in household economy such as income, expenditures and housing costs. In recent years, he has been involved in research projects on child poverty. He has also published several English papers on the Japanese social care system in the last ten years. As population aging has become a serious issue in Japan, social care policy on the older people and community care system will be his major research topics for the next few years.

Malaysia Dr Azlinda Azman is a Professor in Social Work and the Dean of School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia. She is also the Convenor of the AIDS Action and Research Group (AARG), USM. She was a Fulbright Scholar and obtained her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University. Her fields of expertise include social work education/curriculum, theory and methods in social work and social work research. Her areas of research interest include poverty, HIV/AIDS and drug related issues. Currently, she is now enthusiastically advocating for the development of a Social Workers’ Act for the country. She chairs the National Joint Council Committee on Social Work Education ­Malaysia, is an executive committee member of the Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW), Honorary Secretary of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) and is on the Board of Trustees of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation. Dr Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh  is a Senior Lecturer and the Coordinator of the Social Work Programme in the School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He was a Visiting PhD Scholar at Wayne State University, Michigan, United States of America (the US) in 2014. His research interests focus on HIV and AIDS, drug addiction, harm reduction, criminal justice, mental health and social work with families. Prior to joining the university, he worked as a Senior Police Officer in the Crime Investigation Department, Royal Malaysian Police. He was recently appointed by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development to serve as an advisor to the Magistrates’ Court Judge, providing recommendations related to the sentencing and welfare of juvenile offenders.

Singapore Chong Yen Kiat  is currently a Master’s student at the National University of Singapore Department of Sociology. He used to work with low-income families as a social worker at South Central Community Family Service Centre.

xii Contributors Irene Y.H. Ng is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Director of the Social Service Research Centre in the National University of Singapore. She holds a joint PhD in Social Work and Economics from the University of Michigan. Her research areas include poverty and inequality, intergenerational mobility and social welfare policy. Her research projects include an evaluation of a national Work Support program; National Youth Surveys 2010, 2013 and 2016; a study of low-income households with debt; and an evaluation of Social Service Offices. She is active in the community, serving or having served in committees in the Ministry of Social and Family Development, National Council of Social Service, Ministry of Manpower and various voluntary welfare organizations. Her teaching areas include poverty, policy, welfare economics, youth work and program planning.

South Korea Dr Ok Kyung Yang (MSSW, PhD) is currently Professor of the Department of Social Welfare and Dean of the Graduate School of Social Welfare at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. She received her Master’s and PhD at the School of Social Work in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research areas are community mental health, social work practice, social work ethics and human rights, social welfare history and unification. She is currently President of the Korean Council on Social Welfare Education and the Editor-in-chief for the Asian Social Work and Policy Review (Wiley Publishing). She has served as President of the Korea Academy of Social Welfare. Dr Yang has published over 80 articles, alone or with co-authors, including “Family Structure and Relations” in Social Indicators Research and 30 books including Community Mental Health, Social Work Practice, Social Work Ethics and Human Rights. She served as Vice-President for University Relations and Development and Dean of Graduate School of Social Welfare at Ewha W.U. In 1998, she was the Fulbright Visiting Professor and lectured at Washington University in St. Louis, US. For community service, she serves as a board member in several foundations including the Samsung Foundation and the Korean Committee of UNICEF. Bong Joo Lee  is Professor of Social Welfare at Seoul National University. He earned his PhD from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Before joining the faculty of SNU, he had taught at Boston University School of Social Work and the University of Chicago. His research focuses on child indicators, child poverty, child welfare and social service reform issues. He is Editor-in-Chief of Child Indicators Research, an international journal on child indicators. He is also on the editorial boards of Child Abuse & Neglect, Asian Social Work and Policy Review, Journal of Asian Pacific Social Work and Development and International Journal of Social Welfare. He has published many books and papers in domestic and international peer-reviewed journals.

Contributors  xiii Kyo-seong Kim is a Professor in the Department of Social Welfare and a Dean of the Graduate School of Social Welfare at Chung-Ang Univ., Seoul, Korea. He earned his PhD in Social Welfare from the School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania. Research interests are welfare states, comparative social policy, income maintenance policy and poverty and inequality. He is currently a President of the Korean Association of Social Welfare Policy and a Vice-President of the Korean Association of Social Policy. He has served as a chief editor in various journals such as Korean Journal of Social Welfare, Korea Social Policy Review, Social Welfare Policy and Journal of Korean Social Welfare Administration. He has published many books, book chapters and articles in domestic and international journals.

Taiwan Yeun-wen Ku is currently Professor in the Department of Social Work, National Taiwan University and President of the Taiwan Association of Social Work Education. He was awarded his PhD at the University of Manchester (UK) in 1995 and then taught social policy at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work (National Chi Nan University, Taiwan) until 2007. He was the Head of both departments. Professor Ku is also one of the key members in founding the East Asian Social Policy (EASP) research network, established in January 2005 to facilitate research exchange and co-operation among East Asian social policy analysts; he was the Chair of the network during 2011–2012. Professor Ku has written widely on welfare development and policy debates in Taiwan, extending to comparative study of East Asian welfare. He has published 10 books and over 80 papers both in English and in Chinese. His English publications include single-authored Welfare Capitalism in Taiwan (1997, Macmillan), many collected volumes (e.g. Welfare Capitalism in East Asia, Palgrave, 2003; Social Cohesion in Greater China: Challenges for Social Policy and Governance, World Scientific Press, 2010) and journal papers (e.g. in Social Policy & Administration, Social Policy & Society, International Social Work).

Thailand Decha Sungkawan PhD  is Associate Professor, Thammsat University, Bangkok, gaining a PhD (from the University of Chicago) and MA (from Indiana State University) with scholarships from the Royal Thai Government and Thammasat University, after graduating in political science (BA and MA) at Thammasat University. He is Director, Center for Research and Development of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Faculty of Social Administration and Dean, College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Thammasat University (2016– present) and also President, Thai Association of Social Work and Social Welfare Education (TASWE), Board Member, Thailand Council of Social Work

xiv Contributors Profession and Chair, ASEAN Social Work Consortium for Thailand (2015– present). Teaching and research interests include social work, social development, social welfare policy and administration, criminology and criminal justice administration, and human rights development. David W. Engstrom PhD,  MA, is a Professor of Social Work at San Diego State University (SDSU). His research focuses on immigration policy and services to immigrants and refugees. Dr Engstrom has written extensively on the plight of vulnerable immigrant populations, such as torture survivors and trafficked persons, and has explored the role of bilingual social workers in service delivery. More recently, Dr Engstrom co-developed the concept of vicarious resilience which recognizes the positive affect of trauma work on therapists and has co-authored six articles refining its conceptual development. He has done research on human trafficking and the psychological consequences of torture in Thailand. Dr Engstrom founded the SDSU MSW Thailand Summer Internship Program in 2002 and has supervised nearly 120 students in internships ranging from child welfare to human trafficking to mental health. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Social Administration at Thammasat University and at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2019, Thammasat University appointed Dr Engstrom as a Bua Luang ASEAN Chair Professor, a position he will hold for two years as a visiting faculty member. Dr Engstrom has received several awards for his international work: for example CSWE’s Partners in Advancing Education for International Social Work (PIE) in 2017 and SDSU’s Outstanding International Scholar in 2016.

Vietnam Richard Hugman is currently Professor of Social Work at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and has previously taught, researched and practised in social work in Australia and the UK. He has researched and written extensively about professional ethics, with a particular focus on social work, most recently including Rethinking Values & Ethics in Social Work (edited with Jan Carter, Palgrave 2016) and Empowering Social Workers: Virtuous Practitioners (Springer 2017). He served for many years on the ethics committee of the International Federation of Social Workers and from 2008 to 2014 was its chair. Richard also teaches, researches and practices in the field of international social work and social development. Since 2004 he has worked with UNICEF to support the development of social work in Vietnam and he has published several journal articles and chapters on this together with Vietnamese colleagues, including Nguyen Thi Thai Lan. His recent publications also include Understanding International Social Work (Palgrave 2010) and Social Development in Social Work (Routledge 2016).

Contributors  xv Nguyen Thi Thai Lan is a social work lecturer at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University Hanoi. She is a pioneer within the first generation of trained social work educators in Vietnam. She got her Bachelor’s degree in Vietnam in Linguistics, MSW at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 2004 and PhD degree at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia in 2014. Her main interests are social work in child protection, social work indigenization and authentization, social work education, and social welfare. She has a few publications about social work in Vietnam and is the main author of a chapter in the book on Social Work Education in the Countries of the East: Issues and Challenges and co-­ author of a chapter in the book Social Work Education: Voices from the Asia Pacific. She is also the editor of two textbooks on social work with individuals and families, and with groups in Vietnam, the co-author of two social work textbooks on counselling, and an introduction to social work, and three monographs on social welfare and social work, published in Vietnamese.

Coauthor of Chapter 1 Dr Patricia O’Neill (DPhil, [Oxf], JD, MSG) is a social-gerontologist, attorney and academic editor. Her current research interests include what ageing is doing to China; what the future of Chinese elder care should be; financial elder abuse; and the growing conflicts between traditional filial obligation and the modern lifestyles of Chinese women. Patricia is a current member of Sigma Phi Omega Gerontological Honor Society, the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), the British Society of Gerontology (BSG), and the California Bar. She is a peer reviewer for Ageing & Society, Berghahn Books and the Journal of Population Ageing, and sits on the editorial board of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Social Quality. She is a frequent guest lecturer and has been the recipient of numerous academic awards.

Introduction Point of entry Ian Shaw

The book sets out to explore in a disciplined, conceptually clear way, the development of social work programs within higher education in Southeast Asia and East Asia, by offering an account of how social work education has emerged and finds its present place in the historical, economic, political, urban/rural and higher education contexts of Southeast and East Asia, and in relation to such wider national ‘programs.’ Our aim is not to provide a catalogue of the development of social work and social work education country by country,1 but to frame social work within national histories, governmentalities and social and cultural regimes of truth. We title the book as about Asia. While the book is about Southeast and East Asia and not the whole of Asia nor Oceania, we have avoided the circumlocution of ‘Southeast and East…’ We move within the book from talking about ‘Southeast Asia,’ ‘East Asia,’ and occasionally ‘Asia,’ making assumptions in each context as to the adequacy of such boundaries. While we have much to say about social work professional programs in higher education, the term ‘program’ in the book primarily connects with the idea that how social work and social work education are shaped is contingent in various ways on wider political and economic national – but not necessarily governmental – ‘programs.’ Midgley makes a relevant point in relation to international policy studies. The very different methodological approaches and disciplinary perspectives used in the field provide only partial glimpses into the complexities of international social welfare. For example, by focusing narrowly on the social policies and programs of governments, social policy scholars imply that welfare is the exclusive prerogative of the state and fail to recognize the contribution of families and communities or the role of faith-based and nonprofit organizations. (Midgley, 2017: 15) Our scope is still wider. We refer in Chapter 1 to Foucault’s orientation to the ‘historically specific mechanisms which produce discourses which function as true in particular times and places’ and as ‘the ensemble of rules according to which the true and the false are separated and specific effects of power attached

2  Ian Shaw to the true.’2 He regarded these as ‘truth regimes.’ If a book title claims ‘Social workers change the world,’ this is just such a truth claim. Hence ‘practices’ when referred to in the book may not mean social work practice but how actions are ‘practiced,’ or we might say ‘enacted.’ Foucault described the focus of much of his work as ‘practices,’ with the aim of grasping the conditions which make these acceptable at a given moment … practices being understood here as places where what is said and what is done, rules imposed and reasons given, the planned and the taken for granted meet and interconnect. (Foucault, 1991b: 75) His interest was in programs of conduct which have both prescriptive effects regarding what is to be done (he calls these effects of jurisdiction) and codifying effects regarding what is to be known (effects of veridiction). Such effects – for behavior and for what is known – surface through the book. Understanding the characteristics and potency of pivotal social and cultural regimes and programs in Southeast and East Asia includes how the role of the state is viewed in relation to social expenditure, the presence of civil society and the part played by identity politics. It also includes how social issues and problems are framed, such as human trafficking, migration, the role of social work as nation building, and the variability and uncertainty with which the very idea of ‘social work’ is understood from one country to another. Framing the book in this way, we seek to headline broader considerations. First, we endeavor to reach conclusions regarding the extent to and ways in which social work programs in the countries covered in the book possess coherence and are part of a whole. Second, we also undertake to do justice to the considerable diversity and divergence within the region. The primary way we will do this will be to distinguish nations and states according to their dominant national political and economic forms. Generally, within the region/s there have been three ‘inspirations’ for nationhood – communism, nationalism and liberalism. To understand these dynamics, one needs a ‘dialogue between generalizable propositions and detailed political histories’ (Bertrand, 2013: 227). Third, social work images may have been unduly static and the implications of the sometimes-­ far-reaching trends (e.g. demographically) need to be part of any analysis. We recognize that the dimension of comparative work calls for careful statement. First, selection of single country cases for comparative welfare research raises difficult questions of representativeness (e.g. Ebbinghaus, 2005, 2012). Second, given that we have selected in terms of an intra-country issue – the presence of social work education programs – there is an inevitable pragmatic ingredient in our choice and range. For example, China and Vietnam have not been chosen to be representative of all state socialist countries in the region. Third, and of considerable significance for the question of comparison by forms of nations/states, some of the countries in each region have known times of major change. Social work programs may have been first established under one kind of

Introduction: point of entry  3 economic/political regime but have transitioned gradually or very suddenly into a very different form, consequent for example on political shifts, demographic changes or inward/outward migration. Indeed, a challenge of writing this book is the rapidity of apparent change and understanding whether it is fundamental or a case of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Threaded through these national dynamics, each nation has its own histories, which condition how any given country identifies its kinship to or alienation from other countries. Histories are long-lived. To give but one example, the question of the existence and nature of forced labor of Koreans in Japan during the Second World War is as alive today as it ever has been, 3 and divisions of this kind are apparent not only at the level of national governments but, in this case at least, are mirrored between and within social work academic communities. In sum, notwithstanding the size and influence of China and Chinese migration and language, there is much diversity across the range of countries. There is no common language or cultural heritage, the presence of several major religions, the past involvement of several colonial powers and a spread of very different political regimes. In addition, there have been often significant change in the years since 1945. Language and previous colonial presences are linked. There is little cross-over, even to the present, between Francophone and English social work. The European Social Work Research Association,4 for example, has virtually no French members. This illustrates an often-neglected point that to speak of ‘western social work’ glosses over major differences. This is relevant to the general theme of this book in that the region has experienced a range of different colonizing powers in each of which social work means something rather different. Ward, writing in 2006, remarked how ‘Perhaps the most striking feature of the French system today is the complexity of the social work professions themselves. A total of thirty-seven different diplomas have been created with a confusing array of titles…’ (Ward, 2006). New nationalisms have emerged as imperial power faded, and the growth of communism around working class power and collectivisation was a powerful influence both positively and negatively. Finally, there have been pressures for democracy and capitalism. Yet despite these considerations, we believe a basis exists for framing the book in this way. This is partly because several of the key countries where social work education exists have not been the subject of major political/economic shifts for some time (e.g. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan). At the time of crafting our original ideas we included Malaysia in this list. The overturning of the established political administration during 2018 illustrated the risks of any judgement of continuities and discontinuities. However, even Vietnam, where significant social work developments can be tracked, has known a period of relative stability for several decades. American support for authoritarian regimes in Indonesia ended with the financial crisis in Southeast Asia at the end of the last century. Thailand is an exception, where the divided elite has led to alternating democracy and military rule, though the persistence of monarchy has been a factor giving continuity.

4  Ian Shaw

Research A characteristic of the book is the approach taken to research-informed discussion. In addition to briefing contributors to ensure a strong-as-possible ­research-informed account, we asked that writers consider three issues: a b


How far relevant research has been carried out in the country, in Asia, or in other parts of the world. To what extent any research that has been carried out in Asia has been associated with theorizing about social work and social welfare from the country and from Asia, and/or in other parts of the world. Finally, our concern is to consider the application of knowledge. How does research and theorizing gain policy and practical traction, especially in the country about which authors are writing and in the countries of Southeast and East Asia more generally – how far is it application for the country and for Asia?

Research in, theorizing from and knowledge for Asia. Generating research-­ informed arguments we took as a given, but our core concern was to understand what research is doing in and for social work in these countries. We reflect on this aspect of the book in Chapter 1.

Forms of national government The variegated but enduring state motives for intervening in what in subsequent years would be called pubic and social services have ever been mixed. We can observe this in the uncompromising wording of ‘A Decree on Building Schools’ over 200 years ago in Vietnam:5 …To establish the nation, study is first. To control the nation, talented people are important. When the country was in danger from invaders, people did not pay much attention to study, so talented people were limited. Oh! To end disorder is control, thus it is necessary to set up examinations to replace disorder with control. Following Bertrand, we make a broad assumption that ‘The presence or absence of democracy determines a terrain that allows or restricts other groups from advancing their interests or pursuing their goals’ (Bertrand, 2013: ix). In saying this we do not regard the book as being presumptively pro-democracy. Neither do we think ‘democratic/not democratic’ comes anywhere near to providing an adequate key to understanding social work in the countries under consideration. Southeast Asia includes Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Brunei. These are the members of ASEAN – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. East Asia includes South Korea, Hong Kong (a Special Administrative Region [SAR] of China), China,

Introduction: point of entry  5 Japan, Taiwan, N Korea, Mongolia and Macau (also a SAR of China). The countries included in this book are China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. We depart from much social work and social policy inter-country comparison, in that we do not take as our core category welfare regimes,6 such as Esping-­ Andersen’s Liberal, Social Democratic and Conservative-corporatist regime classification (Esping-Andersen, 1990). We distinguish countries in a more general way, in the first instance between those whose path has been marked by capitalism (and usually economic growth) from state socialist countries. We also distinguish between authoritarian governments and democracies. We restrict included countries to those where social work programs are present. While we group the chapters around these categories, we do not regard this as a typology (cf ­Ebbinghaus, 2012), nor do we consider most of these countries to be homogenous. The country classification is somewhat rough and ready. 1 State socialist countries: China and Vietnam. There have been economic shifts in Vietnam, introducing some market-friendly policies, but the grouping remains stable. 2 ‘Soft’ authoritarian countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand. Assessments of Malaysia may call for revision.7 In both Singapore and Malaysia, the supremacy of civilian rule has been maintained. Whether Hong Kong is ‘soft’ in the sense we develop through the book is open to debate as Ruby Chau and Sam Yu suggest in their chapter. Thailand is a difficult case, where democracy has been in advance and retreat over several decades. At the time of writing the return to democracy may prove more apparent than real. The power of the military elite always conditions the extent to which democracy takes hold and how far a civil society is possible. For these reasons we describe the political form as one of authoritarian government, although military rule is not the same as a one-party state. 3 Liberal democracies: Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. We realize that this grouping may be open to some debate. In Japan, for example, ‘crony capitalism’ seems to be flourishing – an economic system where the usual democratic checking functions do not work due to favors being handed out and where objections or criticisms are suppressed. 4 ‘Fragile’ democracies: Indonesia. The fragility of Indonesia partly rests in the way oligarchies retain a strong influence in the political system and the political elites are divided. This excludes Laos, the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, North Korea, Mongolia and Macau where, in almost all cases, social work is insufficiently present to enable analysis. These countries include the poorest in the regions as measured by GDP per head and in some cases by growth rates. This is not to deny the significance and interest of welfare policies in these countries. In the Philippines social work has an established role and some relatively strong social work scholarship (e.g. Roche, 2017; Roche and Flynn, 2018; Veneracion, 2003,

6  Ian Shaw 2011; Yu, 2006, 2013), written in part from outside the country. The history of social work education in the Philippines would bear fruitful analysis in relation to the themes of this book. This would include the role of the US through the Pensionado program (Veneracion, 2011) and latterly the more general influence of liberation theology and the work of Paolo Freire in a predominantly Roman Catholic country. The International Association of Schools of Social Work also played a role in the 1970s in a five-year project seeking to shape social work education. At the time of writing international attention has been drawn to the perceived threats to human rights under the government administration and to the nature of what has been called dynastic politics and political clans in the country, both of which contribute to the fragility of democracy. This has become linked to debate about federalism and constitutional reform. If and how all this may affect social work services remains largely unexamined, although Roche’s analysis of the national Child Protection Policy (Roche, 2019) offers insights into Filipino policy-making in relation to society. In Laos the government claims social welfare achievements in its Five-Year National Plan for 2016–2020. In terms of social relief, pensions, and support for handicapped and crippled people, the sector has put efforts into launching a campaign to raise assistance from domestic parties as well as foreign countries, in order to relieve the victims of disasters. The plan expresses ambitious aims such as ‘Achieve gender equality in services such as education, health and social welfare,’ albeit conceding (t)here are many pending issues in the social welfare area. There is no practical measure to encourage the general public to appraise the good deeds brought by officials, army and police who sacrificed their lives for the revolution. Moreover, there are complaints by the people on the healthcare service for the elders, people without shelters and the underprivileged.8 The plan acknowledges that a third of the population of Laos in 2016 were living below the international poverty line (less than US$1.25 per day). Laos’ ambitious strategies for development are based on generating electricity from its rivers and selling the power to its neighbors, namely Thailand, China and Vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a ‘land-linked’ nation, shown by the planning of four new railways connecting Laos to its neighbors. While the country’s growth rate is high, Laos is rated one of the most corrupt nations in the world.9

Globalization Consideration of the extent, nature and driving forces behind any shared programs and directions within social work bring us, perforce, to the vexed question

Introduction: point of entry  7 of globalization. Mondialisation (Fr), globalización (Sp), Globalisierung (Ger) – ‘The global spread of the term is evidence of the very developments to which it refers’ (Giddens, 2002: 7). This book has taken shape in a period when anti-globalist sentiment emanating from the US and new populist governments from Europe to South America and international threats to the rule-based trade and judicial regimes established after the Second World War have been in the spotlight. Indeed, Simon Jeffrey, in an interesting article in The Guardian newspaper in 2002 remarked that (i)t was the anti-globalisation movement that really put globalisation on the map. As a word it has existed since the 1960s, but the protests against this allegedly new process, which its opponents condemn as a way of ordering people’s lives, brought globalisation out of the financial and academic worlds and into everyday current affairs jargon.10 ‘Condemn’ is not too far adrift. It is easy to find negative judgements about globalization in social work. According to Lena Dominelli (2010) it has: 1 promulgated a new managerialism; 2 disempowered social workers by restricting access to resources; 3 increased the techno-bureaucratic nature of practice; 4 shifted practitioners away from relational social work; 5 turned service users into consumers in a quasi-market; 6 reduced solidarity; 7 moved away from universal services to residual ones; 8 led to an agenda of treating people as responsible for their problems; 9 increased the impact on local practice of poverty, the drug trade, trafficking, etc.; and 10 increased the (negative) impact of migration. She repudiates Americanization of social work and accuses western academics of talking down local practices. Globalization, so she laments, turns goods and people into commodities. These trends and others ‘bring the global to the local and raise the local to the global arena’ (Dominelli, 2010: 609). Much of social work hostility to globalization is at back influenced by some aspects of classic communist thinking. Hence in the Communist Manifesto (1888 edition) we have, with some prescience: (t)he need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere. The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country… All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed… In place of the old wants, satisfied by the productions of

8  Ian Shaw the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-­ dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property.11 In a more measured negative assessment than Dominelli, Young, Hong and Song (2010) reproduce an argument from elsewhere that globalization has three contradictions. It leads to: 1 social polarization among and within states through large capital inflows leading to rapid monetary expansion, inflation and widening deficits. 2 loss of states’ autonomous powers, e.g. to shield citizens from negative effects of globalization. Nation states increasingly react to international forces rather than initiate. 3 the decomposition of civil society. A growing gap between the base of society and its political leaders and loss of confidence in politicians as unable to resolve social problems. What should we think of this? Globalization refers to ‘complex and volatile forces that produce divergent and paradoxical results’ (Midgley, 2004: 18) marked by: 1 the spread of new forms of non-territorial activity, e.g. the Internet, video conferencing, e-commerce, and banking. 2 the processes whereby geographically distant events and decisions have a growing impact on ‘local’ life – i.e. the growth of social connectedness. 3 the speed or velocity of social activity. High speed technology is the obvious but not the only manifestation. It already is hard for us to appreciate the consequences of electronic communication via email in the 1990s. He adds that it is not only a recent or short-lived phenomenon. Indeed, centuries ago western mercantilist explorers to Asia were part of international economic networks created by Arab, Chinese and Indian traders. Increased trade, enhanced communications and greater population mobility merged. ‘Globalisation lies behind the expansion of democracy’ (Giddens, 2002: 5) but also exposes the limitations of democracy. We may suspect the global reach of Facebook, Amazon, Nike and the like, while in general welcoming the international influence of NGOs such as Greenpeace, Médecins Sans Frontières and Oxfam. Social work commentaries ‘have tended to oversimplify the issues and reduce its paradoxes to simplistic rhetorical condemnations’ (Midgley, 2004: 24). ‘The social work literature needs to transcend the rhetorical condemnation of globalization’ (p. 13f). Midgley and Giddens have helpfully underscored the central paradoxical nature of globalization. Globalization is ‘a multi-faceted process in which economic and social, political, cultural and other forces combine in

Introduction: point of entry  9 complex ways’ (Midgley, 2004: 17). The passage of time will tell whether current transformations are especially far-reaching. ‘The idea that a global consciousness is evolving to replace identities based on national affiliation is particularly controversial’ (p. 17). A major issue is whether change is seen as quantitative acceleration or qualitatively altering prevailing forms. This can be detected in some current social work applications of the idea of ‘superdiversity’ when applied to patterns of population movements (e.g. Geldof and Driessens, 2017). Midgley proceeds to argue that ‘Globalization is not a neat, linear process but involves complex and volatile forces that produce divergent and paradoxical results’ (p. 18) and that also yields ‘the paradoxical coexistence of unprecedented prosperity and widespread deprivation.’ ‘The coexistence of global integration and global fragmentation, and of modernity and post-modernity, is a paradox of the global era that has not been adequately debated’ (p. 20). Geopolitically, Giddens remarks in an oft-made argument of apparent paradox, ‘the world is becoming more polycentric’ (Giddens, 2002: xxiii) and ‘a more profound effect of globalisation is to produce greater local diversity, not homogeneity’ (p. xxiv). Hence globalization, it seems, ‘does not inevitably involve cultural homogenization’ (Midgley, 2004: 21). ‘Local nationalisms spring up as a response to globalising tendencies’ such as the weakening of old nation states (Giddens, 2002: 13). Local identities get renewed and corporate power ‘can easily be exaggerated’ (p. xxv). Part of the reason, Midgley argues, is that ‘social movements, and civil society organizations can thrive in the global context by providing people with new opportunities to link their daily experiences to global realities’ (p. 23). For example, ‘the spread of religious networks is one of the most important cultural aspects of globalization today’ witnessed in the ‘historical formation and contemporary flourishing of certain of the trade, temple and trust networks that emerged from the spread of migration of Chinese from the south and southeast coast of China to Southeast Asia.’12

Social work and globalization What are the implications for social work? It is ‘extremely difficult to reach definitive conclusions about the impact of globalization’ (Midgley, 2004: 23). The world cannot be understood ‘in terms of a single concept such as globalization or summarized in terms of the simplistic statements that have often characterized discussions on the subject’ (p. 23). This rejection of essentializing, universalizing statements is one of the drivers through the present book. Is it possible to achieve justice at a global level? It has become common to distinguish between cosmopolitans and communitarians.13 In the distinction as commonly understood in social work discussions, cosmopolitans underscore our universal moral obligations to those who reside far away and with whom we share little in the way of language, custom, or culture, arguing that claims to justice at home can and should be applied elsewhere as well. Communitarians by no means deny the need to redress global inequality. Nor do they necessarily deny that the process of globalization is real. Nonetheless, they doubt that humanity

10  Ian Shaw has achieved a rich or sufficiently connected sense of a common fate such that far-reaching attempts to achieve greater global justice, for example by substantial redistribution from the rich to poor, can succeed. Dominelli is a communitarian. She welcomes the development, as she sees it, of indigenous practice but also reminds, helpfully, that ‘learning from the experiences of indigenous peoples does not absolve other social workers in the global north from innovating…’ (Dominelli, 2010: 609). In contrast, Trygged’s response is toward cosmopolitanism. He ‘argues against an approach that only recognizes context-bound social work’ (Trygged, 2010: 645). His main message is ‘the importance of developing international social work in the spirit of universalism and critical modernity’ (p. 645), or as he later expresses it, ‘how to be universalist without being imperialist’ (p. 650), and believes ‘it is better to look for what unites people rather than how to preserve diversity’ (p. 654). Global standards do not exist in a vacuum; they both reproduce and strive to overcome the inequalities that exist between the industrialized and the developing countries. Yet global standards codify intentions and in the long run may help to unify social work in different parts of the world. (p. 652)

Social work education The premise that the principles and foundations of social work education in countries where it has been established for a century or more are established and consensual is somewhat wide of the mark. We offer here an impressionistic account of early social work education in the West, believing it helps disassemble generalizations regarding social work and may point to analogous questions worth weighing in Southeast and East Asian social work and social welfare. The comparison and reflection we invite is between rudimentary early social work education in the West with the contemporary challenges and concerns addressed by social work education in Southeast and East Asia. How far this comparison proves insightful or provocative is for the reader to judge in the light of the following chapters. The term ‘social work’ in its sense used today arrived later than we may assume. It is possible that the first occasion when the phrase ‘social worker’ was used in something approximating its later sense of a professional or occupational role is in a paper in 1889 by Mary Richmond – perhaps the most widely known figure in early social work in the US or Europe. After asking in a paper on settlements and friendly visiting14 the extended question, ‘What are the forces existing in and around the poor home with which the social worker must learn to work in sympathy and for which she must hesitate to furnish any more artificial substitute?’ Richmond complements this role with a list of other occupations and refers to a ‘modern city’s … general scheme of social work.’ Richmond was giving a list of occupations in the city that deal with the social and personal issues arising in the urban setting.

Introduction: point of entry  11 Hence it was in late nineteenth-century Europe and North America that the emerging outlines of what would become social work, as a distinct way of practice and thought, ‘came into being in the face of momentous historical changes and from the first was shaped by the experience of those changes’ (Abrams, 1982: 3). Embedded in the process of western industrialization, ‘Again and again we find the concern for facts and for rationalization mixed up with a counteracting moral sensibility’ (Abrams, 1968: 31). Here from its early roots we find social work’s concern with the relative weight to be given to reason and values. Indeed, why it was that certain task areas became part of social work and other tasks and roles did not is one of the more important but least understood questions regarding social work’s history (Abbott, 1995; Shaw, 2014). Where did the first Schools of Social Work start? In large cities. Social work education was an urban ‘invention.’ It may bear comparison with social work in China today where social work in this sense is perhaps only an urban form of work. New York, Chicago, Boston and London were first in the field. In 1898, the Charity Organization Society (COS) established the first Summer School in Philanthropic Work in New York. This would eventually become the Columbia School of Social Work. In Chicago a full course was running from 1908 in the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy under Edith Abbott and Sophonisba Breckinridge. This would in 1920 become the Chicago Graduate School of Social Service Administration. Boston followed a few years later at Simmons College. In London the key links were with the London School of Economics founded in 1908, but social work education’s roots were from the 1890s. Birmingham (England) and Edinburgh (Scotland) also were early, as was Berlin (Germany).15 But within a few years differences began to crystalize regarding the nature of social work and the appropriate kind of preparation for practice. For example, in 1912 Samuel Lindsay resigned from the New York School directorship over disagreements about social work’s knowledge base and tension between advocates of university based and agency-based education. Lindsay was a proponent of strong social science and policy-based courses. John Glenn the director of the Russell Sage Foundation (an important funder of social work schools) questioned that, saying that what workers needed was skill in working with people. After this the New York School, led chiefly by Porter Lee, focused on client-oriented casework. Lindsay saw the explanation of social problems as located primarily in the social structure, Lee in the individual. In Boston, after 12 years of affiliation, in 1916 Harvard University withdrew from the Boston School in a dispute over the proper role for women in social work. Simmons and the Boston Associated Charities saw social work as a natural extension of women’s traditional roles. It was something men were not seen as suited for. Harvard wanted no part of this and Simmons became a traditional casework school. In 1920, in Chicago, Edith Abbott and Sophonisba Breckinridge affiliated the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy with the University of Chicago in what was then the Graduate School of Social Service Administration. Abbott

12  Ian Shaw and Breckenridge wanted social workers to be administrators and policy leaders. The term ‘social service’ in the title of the school, rather than the already widely used term ‘social work,’ was seen as a way of referring to a reformist agenda. Even though they developed a casework curriculum their focus was still on the social structure and changing it as a way to improve problems. In the UK, early deliberations and sometimes disputes often were framed around the relative identities of settlements and the Charity Organization Society.16 As Clement Attlee, a generation later to be the British Prime Minister who steered through the post-war Welfare State reforms, memorably remarked: (o)ur attitude to social service will be different according to the conception that we have of society. If we regard it as at present constituted on the whole just and right, and approve of the present economic structure, social work will seem to us as it were, a work of supererogation,17 a praiseworthy attempt to ease the minor injustices inevitable in all systems of society. We shall see a set of disconnected problems not related to any one general question. On the other hand we may see as the root of the trouble an entirely wrong system, altogether a mistaken aim, a faulty standard of values, and we shall form in our minds more or less clearly a picture of some different system, a society organized on a new basis altogether, guided by other motives than those which operate at the present time, and we shall relate all our efforts to this point of view. (Attlee, 1920: 10) Here we can see most of the questions that would become the common agenda for social work education across Europe and the US and which have infused social work education across the countries that provide the focus for this book. Not – as we develop in Chapters 1 and 2 – as mere slightly fuzzy carbon copies, but nonetheless recognizably so. Is social work about addressing individual or structural problems? Are social workers called on to address minor injustices that lie within an acceptance of the basic framework of government, or to address systemic problems? Should good social work be learned in the university or the agency? What constitutes a social work ‘case’?18 How does social work reflect or challenge gender roles in society? Should social work training give greater emphasis to social science or practice skills?

Developing the book A venture of this kind reveals much of what is not known or opaque. For example, there have been few historical studies of the emergence of contemporary forms of social welfare and social work and the strands of continuity and discontinuity from the presence of, for instance, colonial or occupying powers. Yeun-wen Ku’s discussion of Taiwan and Adi Fahrudin’s chapter on Indonesia remind how Japan may also be regarded as a colonizing power alongside the usual list of Western countries. To develop one further illustration, nor do we

Introduction: point of entry  13 know much regarding religious and ethnic contributions, outside some coverage of Christian initiatives. One important constituent of this space is the role of Chinese clans and temple charities. Although charity and social services are provided by many of the Chinese temples, there is still no good study of these charities.19 In part contrast, the ways in which members of Muslim communities approach welfare intervention has had some attention. For example, in a study of perceptions of the counselling process (Ow, 1991), Chinese clients reported family socialisation and personal experiences equally as the most important sources of their worldview while Chinese counsellors cited formal education as having the greatest influence. By contrast, Malay clients and counsellors both reported religious beliefs and teachings from the Qur’an to be the most important source of their worldview about family and social relationships. But further work is called for on the relationship between social work and Muslim charity. An illuminating example of such work is Nisa’s analysis of the work of one Indonesian woman philanthropist – Peggy Melati Sukma – which runs counter to the norm that ‘the flow of money from the Gulf countries through their aid organisations has been geared particularly towards supporting da‘wa (proselytisation) in Indonesia’ such that in allocating charitable assistance for the building of mosques these donors have been motivated by transcendental values, especially relating to the belief of securing a place in heaven in the afterlife. In this regard, channelling funds for women’s empowerment can be difficult because it would go against the ideal image of Muslim women held by these donors. (Nisa, 2019: 2)20 We want the book to be usable in two senses. First, as a direct resource, should it be adopted as part of a module or other learning context. Second, as a basis for further thinking. To assist the former, we asked contributors to include at least one and preferably two ‘case examples.’ To enable the latter, we asked authors to include a note headed ‘Taking it Further.’ By ‘case example’ we had in mind examples of interesting findings from someone else’s research; an instance of contrasting arguments put forward by scholars from – say – two different countries; or a more detailed extract from someone’s political or practice argument. By ‘Taking it Further’ we did not want simply to include ‘Further Reading’ – advice that we suspect is rarely followed! Rather we suggested these notes would typically be an individual or small group learning task, or a problem-setting issue. The editorial contributions in Chapters 1 and 2 focus on developing the basic position taken in the book, showing how it illuminates social work in ways that place it in regional and national worlds. The two chapters act as mirror images of each other. In Chapter 1 the direction of thought is from the ‘outside’ inwards, by which we mean that we take up the central thesis of the book, developing and evidencing it both from the research and writing in related fields, and more extensively from the analysis taken up in the subsequent chapters.

14  Ian Shaw In Chapter 2 we move in the converse direction. We explore how far it is plausible and illuminating to synthesize the images of social work education and service development in each country, and in what ways a full understanding requires the embedding of diversity and divergence. In Chapter 3 we reflect by way of anticipation on the outcomes of the project as elicited from the invited chapters. Those core chapters are grouped and sequenced in ways that reflect the framework for the book. The first central section covers countries where governmental regimes are authoritarian in one form or another. This is followed by countries that are liberal democracies and then by those countries we describe as fragile democracies. We close with chapters on state socialist countries. Within each section of the book the chapters are sequenced in alphabetical order. It is almost conventional for authors to lament that little or nothing of what they attempt has been done previously. We would express matters rather differently. There has been important and relatively extensive work on studies of Southeast and East Asia. The Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, the East Asia Forum out of Australian National University, and Project Southeast Asia at the University of Oxford are but three examples.21 But social work scholars have played almost no part in these research networks. There is no core of shared relevance for social work in terms of literature. This is starkly illustrated in the present book by the fact that references drawn on in each chapter are almost entirely self-contained. Yet it is equally significant to observe that none of the network of research hubs and networks shows much by way of interest in and attention to welfare questions.22 The index to the book has been prepared painstakingly, with the intention that it may act as a valuable means for readers to detect and trace themes within the text. Reflecting on the process and outcomes of this joint endeavor brings to mind Foucault’s remark that ‘to work is to undertake to think something other than what you thought before’ (O’Farrell, 2005: 45 – her translation). We appreciate the endeavors of the book’s contributors to tread new paths in beginning to set an agenda for the field.

1 Social work within governmental, social and cultural regimes Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill

Understanding the variegated interplay between state and governmental regimes, and cultural and social forms across nations in East and Southeast Asia in relation to social work and social welfare is complicated by the fact that almost no work has been attempted outside of a small number of single country case studies. In the early paragraphs of this chapter we develop the terms of and implications that follow from framing the book in terms of governmental forms – state socialism, democracies of differing kinds and varying authoritarian governments. We then look briefly at social and cultural regimes – the power of elites, the role of civil society and the political and policy agenda that undergird welfare programs. We consider the example of migration patterns in illustration of some of these factors. We scan some of the key patterns of social change, especially in demographic terms and in relation to the role of women. This will call for a stock-taking to suggest the relevance for understanding social welfare, social work and social work education. We develop something of what we know about how social welfare has developed in these contexts. This requires us to look at what may be said about the nature of social work as seen, for example, through the language used across time, from government to government, and within the social welfare community. We then respond to the book’s promise to say something about research and technology – in, from and for the region/s and countries. Finally, we ask whether and how it helps to think of an Asian, Southeast Asian or East Asian social work.

Forms of government Democracy has been described as ‘a system involving effective competition between political parties for positions of power,’ with ‘regular and fair elections in which all members of the population may take part’ (Giddens, 2002: 68). ‘Democracy’ is an old word with the ideas of ‘people’ (Gk. Demos) and ‘rule’ (Gk. Kratos). Yet, as Raymond Williams remarked, ‘everything depends on the senses given to people and rule’ (Williams, 1983: 93), such that ‘(d)emocracy is easily

16  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill one of the most abused words in the English language’ (Springer, 2017: 32). Many and diverse governments use the term to describe themselves. Social work comments, perhaps especially from the USA, tend to be unduly simple and overly sanguine regarding the spread of democracy and its essential congeniality with social work. Introducing a journal special issue on social work in the Asia-Pacific region, Shek remarks ‘with the collapse of colonies, weakening of monarchies and retreat of Communist ideologies, there is a growing emphasis on the rule of law, democracy and civil society in the region’ (Shek, 2017: 1).23 Does democracy emerge in countries with high levels of development? This modernization thesis is predicated on arguments about the growth of a middle class, business groups and professionals. Singapore and Malaysia – both with high growth rates – defy this thesis by remaining authoritarian. Thailand returned to military rule with the 2014 coup, though it has had a growing middle class. This suggests a weak relationship at best between economic development and emergence of democracy. Although there is no plausible supporting evidence and some to the contrary, Shek goes on to conclude that (o)n the one hand, in those countries where Western democracy is not fully developed, social work is seen as an instrument to promote social stability or social control. On the other hand, social work is regarded as an important tool to promote social development, social justice, civil society and human rights in places identifying with Western values. (p. 1f) It is not difficult to find opposing and pessimistic views, albeit ones premised equally on an assumption of the merits of democracy. Slater, for example, believes that (n)ot since World War II has liberal democracy seemed so deeply endangered in so many places at once. For the first time in three quarters of a century, illiberalism and chauvinism have stolen the march, virtually all over the globe, on their liberal and cosmopolitan rivals.24 ‘If the flu of political and social illiberalism is circumnavigating the globe,’ he concludes, ‘Southeast Asia has precious little immunity with which to withstand it.’ The degeneration of a pretend democracy into outright autocracy in Cambodia through the suppression of the main opposition party in 2017 is but one example. Of Indonesia – perhaps the freest of Southeast Asia’s democracies – it has been said that State institutions, weakened by decades of overbearing interference and a crippling politicization, are compromised and corruptible. This is especially so for those institutions tasked with upholding the rule of law. Inequality is on the rise, poverty alleviation too slow and the creation of jobs in the

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  17 formal sector slower still. “Money politics” infects elections and legislation-­ making at all government levels. (Davidson, 2018)25 Pepinsky suggests that the more significant consideration in Southeast and East Asia is that authoritarianism is enduring.26 ‘The real story of the state of democracy in Southeast Asia is not the threat of contemporary reversal — it is the strength of durable authoritarianism in the non-democracies.’ Authoritarian leaders are less dependent on the West for their aid and investment needs, and thus have fewer incentives to cultivate support among western politicians by promising reforms and democracy. Where democracy, at the time of writing, is under threat – in Myanmar and the Philippines – it appears that illiberal policies are popular among many citizens.27 In terms that make the relevance of such arguments for social work transparent, he remarks that ‘The trend towards illiberal politics and authoritarian leadership styles is a consequence of the perceived weaknesses of democratic politics, which has proven unable to eliminate poverty, crime, identity-based conflict or political instability.’ In a secure authoritarian state such as Singapore the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) developed and refined state-controlled consultative institutions incorporating experts, civil society actors and others into public policy deliberations that were depicted as apolitical problem-solving exercises. ‘More citizen participation in governing may well prove a means of forestalling democracy — not an ingredient of installing it’ (Rodan).28 As is made manifest in Chong and Ng’s contribution regarding Singapore, influential figures within the social work world have been active participants, where ‘a sophisticated hegemonic party … manipulated its majoritarian electoral system to “manufacture” its legislative supermajority’ (Tan, 2013: 632). Springer remarks on ‘the limitations of democracy in the context of Southeast Asia’s cultural proclivity for patronage’ (Springer, 2017: 28). Systems of ‘consultative representation’ have been established, involving state-sponsored institutions for public policy consultation where elites control who participates and how. ‘In authoritarian and democratic states alike, such institutions allow governments to mitigate reform pressure without necessarily deepening democracy’ (Rodan), through the use of democratic electoral institutions for undemocratic gains. Shue and Thornton lament that western assessments of Chinese politics continue to be trapped in assertions of ‘authoritarian resilience’ or ‘democratic transition.’ They explain this as partly because by the turn of this century ‘“hybrid” political regimes (partly authoritarian and partly democratic) were perceived to be proliferating’ (Shue and Thornton, 2017: 3) and also because both assertions amount to an implicit or explicit belief that liberal democracy ultimately ought to prevail. The idea of party cartelization – initially developed in the context of European democracies – is relevant across democracies in Southeast and East Asia. Party elites coped with the uncertainties of transition and crisis by sharing executive power across the country’s most salient political cleavages (Slater and Simmons, 2013).

18  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill Party cartelization occurs when political parties are willing to share executive power with all other parties regardless of political affiliation. All significant political parties are brought into a ‘party cartel’ – a ruling coalition of political parties that share power despite some having campaigned directly against each other. The troubling outcome for democratic accountability is the stunted development of a clearly identifiable opposition. Social work, at least as understood in the West, is likely to thrive in political cultures where opposition is institutionalized and where there is a relatively vigorous civil society. This is especially so in circumstances where there are recognized social problems, where there exist political oppositions and where at least a significant level of political engagement is a norm within the social work community (or where social work proceeds on the basis that problems lie in structures and not only or even primarily in individuals or families). Distinctions we have made through this book between varying democratic forms, authoritarian governments – ‘soft’ and not so soft, and socialist states are essentially blurred. As Gillespie (2018) remarks of state socialism, (t)here are continuities, recurrences and cross-fertilisations between the regulatory technologies of the command economy and capitalist institutions, such as markets and corporations. One consequence of this variegated regulation is that China and Vietnam are simultaneously transitioning out of socialism and transforming socialism.29

Social and cultural regimes ‘Regime’ – echoing perhaps the Ancien Régime prior to the French Revolution – often carries a negative association, with links to authoritarian forms of government. We do not intend any essential value in our use of the term but refer to norms embedded either in institutions or institutionalized practices, which may be formal or informal but which are publicly enacted and relatively enduring. They may be seen as rules, or cultural or social norms that order the operation of a government or institution and its interactions with society. Foucault spoke of regimes of truth, defining these as the ‘historically specific mechanisms which produce discourses which function as true in particular times and places’30 and as ‘the ensemble of rules according to which the true and the false are separated and specific effects of power attached to the true’ (Foucault translated in O’Farrell, 2005: 65). We may think of professions in social work as regimes of truth in this sense (Brante, 2010). In this connection we need to understand the characteristics of some of the central social and cultural regimes and programs in the countries included in subsequent chapters. These include how the role of the state is viewed in relation to social expenditure, the presence of civil society and the part played by identity politics. It also includes how social issues and problems are framed, such as

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  19 human trafficking, migration, the role of social work as nation building and the variability and uncertainty with which the very idea of ‘social work’ has purchase from one country to another.

Civil society Bertrand describes civil society as ‘a public space in which organizations and groups can pursue their activities without the state’s interference’ (Bertrand, 2013: 26), represented in NGOs, voluntary and religious groups, some kinds of business groups and professional associations. In general, ‘(t)he presence or absence of democracy determines a terrain that allows or restricts other groups from advancing their interests or pursuing their goals’ (p. ix). Authoritarian societies vary in tolerance of civil society but on the whole place restrictions and provide a very thin space for civil society to emerge. Hoffman offers an interesting example in her ethnography, over several years to 2014, of government-sponsored volunteering in a port city of northeast China among young professionals, university students and white-collar workers (­Hoffman and St John, 2017). In the context of a new middle-class awareness of inequality, she explores why people participate. She distinguishes: • •

expression of responsibility. the idea of ‘affective economies’ from Richard and Rudryckys (2009), which she insists are not a mere side effect of neoliberal restructuring. From her data she emphasizes ‘affective resilience.’ self-development skills.

She has focused only on government-sponsored/encouraged volunteering. She does not deal with the idea of civil society and is reluctant to use the term, preferring to speak of liaising, collaborating and mobility. This is not the same as civil society, albeit neither is it the state. This also means she has nothing to say on volunteering as latent protest.

Migration Of the various issues that knowingly or unknowingly shape social work and social work education in the parts of the world encompassed in this book, migration yields an illuminating instance. International migration is one of the key factors shaping the Asia-Pacific region. The United Nations estimated that there were 59.3 million international migrants in the countries and areas of Asia and the Pacific in 2015.31 Migration patterns are, we believe, a significant element in understanding Southeast and East Asia as a whole and the priorities for social work in particular. A Migration Policy Institute study suggested there are five main corridors for intra-ASEAN migrants: Myanmar to Thailand, Indonesia

20  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill to Malaysia, Malaysia to Singapore, Laos to Thailand and Cambodia to Thailand. The Myanmar–Thailand corridor is the largest, with 2,000,000 migrant workers representing one third of intra-migration in ASEAN. There are around 1,000,000 migrants each from Indonesia, Malaysia and Laos moving to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand respectively (Sugiyarto and Mendoza, 2014). The World Bank sees these movements primarily in terms of low-skilled migrants looking for better opportunities (Testaverde et al., 2017) and population movements of this kind raise obvious social work challenges. Eighty-seven percent of intra-ASEAN migrants are low-skilled workers. Temporary women migrant workers are present in countries such as Singapore, coming from countries like Malaysia. Vietnam also has numbers of women migrants. Some migrant workers seek out informal channels to avoid procedural processes and costs, and they are prone to experience exploitation that can deprive them of social protection benefits and minimum wage coverage and remain largely invisible to social workers (United Nations, 2013). The responses of receiving countries such as Singapore are somewhat ambiguous. Writing in 2015, Tan remarked The last five years have witnessed a sharp increase in the number and proportion of foreigners coming to Singapore to work and, along with their dependents in some cases, living on a longer term basis… This has led to some adverse responses from Singaporeans…. (Tan, 2015: 54) Japan is in some ways an outlier. One or another person seen walking the streets of some Japanese city or university campus ‘is not pure Japanese,’ so someone might say. Faced with an ageing population and the beginnings of long-term population decline, the government of Shinzo Abe endeavored to relax the tight immigration laws to allow lower-skilled workers to enter, albeit in modest numbers. The characteristic Japanese sense of exceptionalism made even this move controversial. On 14 October 2018, a number of marches were held across Japan to mark what the organiser — the Japan First Party — labelled ‘anti-migrant day.’32 The risk is that a new foreign-born population in Japan, eventually with Japanese born children, will be marginalized and discriminated against in society. It is widely recognized that third generation Koreans, or Zainichi, do not get equal treatment in Japan today – a country whose total refugee intake in 2017 amounted to only 20 people. Internal migration raises equally testing questions. In China (t)he three groups in the cities that most worry the Party leaders are the “laid-off” and unemployed former workers, the resident farmers from the countryside who come into the towns in search of work, and the growing numbers of poor people, the latter a conglomeration for the most part of members of the former two. (Solinger, 2006: 178. See Case Example 1.1)

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  21

Case Example 1.1  Rural/Urban Migration in China An increasing number of rural peasants have been migrating to work as nongmingong (migrant laborers) in urban China in recent decades. Many nongmingong anticipate that working in cities will help them realize upward socio-economic mobility – higher income for themselves and their families, the acquisition of skills and education and escape from a monotonous rural life. But in reality, they must abandon established social networks, endure long working hours and insecure employment and tolerate overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions. Nongmingong also experience occupational discrimination compared to local urban workers. They often encounter restrictions on occupational mobility, lower earnings, higher unemployment risks, absences of sick pay and higher risks of arbitrary salary cuts. This discrimination causes or exacerbates poor mental wellbeing among nongmingong. Poor living conditions, social isolation, loss of family contact, exploitation and the discrepancy between the expectation and the reality of working conditions in China’s cities are all positively associated with the level of mental strain, diagnosis of mood and mental disorders and rates of self-harm among rural-urban migrants in China. Nongmingong face negative appraisal and social discrimination at work, including segregation and a lack of social support, and on a routine basis score more poorly on self-reported psychometric tests. Higher degrees of social stress, acculturation stress and a lack of upward mobility opportunities have all been found to jeopardize migrant workers’ mental wellbeing. The relatively low socio-economic status among nongmingong is also found to be associated with their relatively higher levels of perceived discrimination and lower mental health scores compared to local urban workers. The cosmopolitanism, dynamism and income opportunities presented by urban life are all factors driving rural dwellers to live and work in cities as nongmingong. Rural incomes are on average just under one third of urban incomes. But when nongmingong move to cities they are required to pay an expensive mental health vulnerabilities’ fee. Alternatively, they can work as illegal migrant workers and risk facing further exploitation by employers. Both options create financial, occupational and mental health vulnerabilities among the migrant population. Source: Hung, J. 2018. ‘Urban paradise actually purgatory for ­China’s migrant workers.’ http://www.eastasiaforum. org/2018/09/13/urban-paradise-actually-purgatoryfor-chinas-migrant-workers/

22  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill There is a tendency – albeit less pronounced in social work than in some other disciplines – for understanding of migration to be set in a ‘hypermasculine framing … as smooth, undifferentiated circulations of capital.’33 We forget that (s)ome migrants move in order to fill the demand for corporeal and intimate labour in sectors that require “the work of tending” … – as nannies, nurses, hospitality workers, caregivers, serving staff, domestic workers, and beauty salon staff. Other migrants seek to pursue romance, enter into marriage, and form, support, and sustain new families, hence fostering or refashioning relational ethics of care in the enactment of intimate labour in less explicitly remunerated and more loosely organized ways. Viewing migration in this way creates helpful questions for social work that bring to the fore the overlap of public and private spheres, ‘of work and love, or money and affection.’ Questions of age, generation, ethnicity, nationality, class and race are central, interwoven and of distinctive character for social work in all parts of Asia.

Welfare and social work Social work has been reluctant to historicize contemporary institutions and ways of doing social work. Welfare development was promoted by governments after the Second World War. Writing before the close of the war and while Japanese occupying forces were still present in parts of the world, Mair describes and anticipates the work of British colonial services concerned with social welfare, tracing the main lines of development in illustrative countries including Malaya and Hong Kong and doing so in ways that render transparent the relationship between governmental regimes and social welfare. She outlined the work of colonial services concerned with social welfare, tracing the main lines of development in illustrative countries including Malaya and Hong Kong. Her approach was that work done in one sphere, whether education, health and nutrition, labor, adjusting to modernity, or ‘developing a sense of community and social obligation in the new urban populations … reacts upon that in every other, so that neither problems nor measures of policy can be divided into watertight compartments’ (Mair, 1944: 7). If there can be said to be any single key to all the social problems arising out of modern developments in the colonies, then education is the key. Its broadest function could be described as the promotion of a satisfactory adjustment of the peoples of the colonies to the new conditions created by the impact of European civilization. She means ‘education’ in the widest sense, including adults as much as children, and also health services as much as education, saying ‘community work … is essentially educational’ (p. 24)34 – an argument that, taken away from its colonial context, is not without merit.

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  23 Mair’s remarks about Malaya are echoed in Anderson’s account of colonial medicine in Malaya of that same period as ‘a “cultural system” designed to protect the health of the colonizers, ensure a productive “native” labor force, and secure political and social control.’ It ‘did more to legitimize state authority than to prevent or cure consequent disease’ (Anderson, 2018).35 Anticipating subsequent discussion, generalizations of the identity and nature of social work are hazardous. Yet there are connections and continuities. Mair, speaking of a more rural society 70 years ago, urged the need for a different kind of teacher ‘who would be trained in rural surroundings and would be capable of acting as a community leader’ (Mair, 1944: 27). Writing around 2010, Sulistyowati says, speaking largely of village activists: (i)n Indonesia, the term social worker usually relates to people who work for those who are marginalized … The term does not reflect the approaches used for solving problems of the target group … Sometimes, they are also called social/environmental activists. (Sulistyowati, 2011: 135) By contrast, (w)hile Japanese social work has been influenced by American ideas including democracy, individualism, pragmatism and Christianity, it was not influenced by Japanese traditional thoughts such as Mu (emptiness or nothingness), Wa (harmony), Buddhism or Confucianism. Through this analysis, it seems clear that Japan both consciously and unconsciously imported Western styles of social work into the nation’s culture. (Katsunobu, 2011: 225) The social, ethnic, religious, political and cultural roots of well-known figures in Japan’s social work history such as Toyohiko Kagawa, Keiichiro Shimada, Katsuo Takenaka, Dorothy Dessau and fleetingly even Jane Addams suggest reasons why this might be the case. While this may benefit general standards ‘this would not be very good for those clients, especially elderly people, who live their lives in a traditional Japanese context’ (Katsunobu, 2011: 25). The power – and ­weakness – of language are at play here. While the Japanese language has terms for social welfare (e.g. Shakai Fukushi Shi) ‘social work’ is a western import. Attention to the significance of language for the understanding of the development of social work in individual countries and also for the light it sheds on comparative social work is not well developed.

Welfare and the state The wealth of the 11 countries included in this book ranges widely. Measured by 2018 estimates, the average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) adjusted for price differences across the world is $18099. Table 1.1 gives the figures for the countries of immediate concern in this volume.

24  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill Table 1.1  G  DP Per Capita Adjusted for Price Differences – IMF Projections for 2018 Country/national region


Vietnam Indonesia China Thailand Malaysia South Korea Japan Taiwan Hong Kong Singapore World average

7443 13162 18066 18944 30858 41388 44426 52308 64533 98017 18099


Relating this to the size of the state as measured by government spending, the figures can be illustrated from Japan and South Korea who are member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).36 Japan’s government spending amounts to 39.4% of GDP and in South Korea it is 32.3%. In Singapore the figure is approximately 10% although rising slowly. Of more direct interest is social spending on health care, housing, education and the like, and in particular such spending that comes as social benefits to households. Japan and South Korea are the only OECD members of the countries here under review. Japan spends 12.5% of GDP as social benefits and South Korean 5.5%. The proportion of GDP spent on persons with ‘incapacity’ is 1.0% and 0.6% respectively.37 By comparison with western countries, Southeast and East Asian governments are relatively low spenders on social welfare. Taking Singapore as an example, the state ‘subscribes to the principle of co-payment by both state and citizens, together with self-reliance on the part of citizens’ rather than a welfare state model (Tan, 2015: 38). The figures from the OECD show how important is this difference. The expectation is not merely about welfare provisions for low-income citizens, but more importantly also about supporting middle-class aspirations, and reducing middle-class anxiety regarding their future, not least that of their children … 70 per cent of our respondents believe that middle-income people should qualify for subsidies, and slightly more than a third support the idea of granting middle-income people, together with those among the low-income, “more” cash transfers. (p. 38) Tan explores the complex implications. If Singaporeans support an inclusive society in which all income categories receive some subsidies and cash transfers, how then do they propose to fund the welfare provisions? Some three-quarters of Singaporeans

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  25 are either ambivalent or mostly supportive of the market-oriented, “low subsidies, low taxes” approach. (p. 42) There is a significant number who support higher taxes to support a welfare approach. Yet while most Singaporeans expect some welfare provisions, though to different extents, those in the middle and higher income categories are less prepared to pay more taxes in return for more subsidies, but they are somewhat more willing to support a redistributive approach involving paying higher taxes to subsidise the poor. Herein lies a contradiction and thereby a dilemma for social policy. (Tan, 2015: 42, emphasis added) However, state involvement in welfare provision is not as modest as some commentators suggest because other means e.g. insurance are used. ‘The state has acted pervasively in East Asia to achieve welfare goals by other means. Most notable is the strategic role of states in directing a process of economic development with distributive as well as growth objectives’ (White and Goodman, 1998: 13). Welfare often has been introduced to build legitimacy for regimes or forestall opposition. Welfare needs to be explained in terms of politics as much as policies. The ambiguity of ‘nation building’ surfaces as an aspiration or precept for social work. ‘Despite these common elements, however, the evolution of each country’s welfare system has had its own distinctive trajectory’ (p. 14). The foregoing reminds us that we should not equate welfare expansion with social advance. In state socialist nations there is a link between national character and social work. Campaigns aim to raise the ‘quality’ of citizens by inculcating values associated with a socialist society with spiritual civilization and an equitable and civilized society in China, and steadfastly advancing towards socialism in Vietnam. Interestingly, party leaders continue to assert the right to engineer the national character long after they abandoned cradle-to-grave social welfare and other trappings of socialist paternalism (c.f. Leung et al., 2012). Identity politics, for example, make the application through social work education programs of almost given principles of western social work such as acceptance, individualization and a non-judgemental attitude problematic. The problematics of this are most keenly evident in Indonesia, but may come to the fore in Malaysia where, following the 2018 election result, Islamic parties were drawn to the principle of ketuanan Melayu (Malay ascendancy). This view embodies the Malay form of ‘ethnic nationalism: the powerful political fantasy of living exclusively among one’s own people, people of one’s own kind, on one’s own preferred cultural and historical terms, undiluted and undisturbed by strangers and outsiders’ (Kessler, 2018).38 In cultural and religious contexts with these emphases social work ideas of equality, discrimination, oppression and diversity take on a very different hue.

26  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill In an illuminating essay on the development of social work in Greece, Dedotisi and Young offer what may stand as a significant case study of the relationship of social work to governmental and political regimes, and a form of analysis that may well apply in countries in this present volume. They describe the period following the freeing of Greece from occupying Nazi powers when ‘Britain’s and America’s interests in local politics and the common “threat” of communism, led to these allies switching their support to the political right and to defeating the left’ (Dedotsi and Young, 2019). Hence the American government, through the Marshall Plan which was supported by the local political elite, funded, designed and implemented national policies including welfare … However, the criteria determining welfare provision were underpinned by political agendas. Leftists were excluded from welfare provision, creating a dual society of deserving and undeserving citizens. Therefore, this early social policy was regulated by favouritism, oppression and clientilism.39 In the period following the Second World War American interests in opposing left wing movements meant that social workers ‘were involved in systematically discriminating against large segments of the population by limiting their services to the ‘national minded citizens’40 as well as participating in the political rehabilitation of children from left-wing families in the so-called children’s cities.’ They conclude (i)t would be inaccurate and unfair to descend into generalisations and describe all social workers and academics of those times as “evil agents” of the anti-leftist movement … However, good intentions with a lack of political reflexivity were not enough; not only did social workers of the time not challenge and influence the oppressive welfare state but actually participated and complied with discriminatory even brutal interventions, despite their declaration of political neutrality. (Dedotsi and Young, 2019: 78–79) An illustrative case closer to home can be drawn from Loh Kah Seng’s research on the 1961 Singapore Kampong fire (Loh Kah Seng, 2009). Tracing the history of previous kampong fires he records how after one such fire in 1958, acting as a de facto arm of government, the Social Welfare Department instituted a ban on the presence of political parties at the relief centre. W.S. Woon, its Director, who had observed political party workers distributing gifts to fire victims, declared, “We do not want to allow a tragedy to be exploited for political propaganda purposes”. (Loh Kah Seng, 2009: 639) The idea of ‘soft’ authoritarianism employed in this book implies a distinction. In Singapore, for example, numerous government organizations were established.

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  27 All ‘served the dual purpose of enhancing development while increasing the regime’s political control. The government established a form of social contract by which Singaporeans were willing to accept less political freedom in exchange for rapid socio-economic development’ (Bertrand, 2013: 111). Legal instruments were put in place to marginalize political opposition. Our understanding of social work in Southeast and East Asia remains restricted for these and other reasons covered here and elsewhere in this book. For example, what also we need, and do not have, are contemporary and historical studies of ordinary social work encounters in the countries under review, so that some understanding can be gained of how different cultures interacted and attempted to negotiate with and understand each other. An example of how ­ethnographically-informed research can illuminate issues in a more grounded way comes in current work by Roche, where he concludes (i)n the Philippines … (s)ocial work practice can be thought of as a hybrid model, whereby Western exports of social work knowledge are modified to suit local needs. Distinct to Filipino social work practice is a focus on informal interactions with clients, typically in communities, drawing on strong relationships with clients and other helpful actors. Social workers, where appropriate, deploy skills around communicative body language, physical contact, and jocularity, while taking a wide view of clients’ supportive relationships, involving extended family and community. In many instances, expressions of faith are a key aspect of social work practice. On social work education he remarks how ‘Under resourced universities are unable to access international social work journals, and rely heavily on traditional social work knowledge, as well as the professional experience of lecturers.’41

Social and political change Some countries saw frequent political change while others remained stable in the second half of the twentieth century. Bertrand understands stability in terms of the role of elites, national economies and societal movements. ‘If business groups thrived because of their links to the state, they tended to be conservative and mainly interested in preserving the status quo’ (Bertrand, 2013: 21). Hence, they are likely to support regimes that are in their interests, whether democratic or authoritarian, but are not likely to be drivers of change. We noted that in relation to the process of cartelization. It is the presence of professionals, students and intellectuals that is more likely ‘to demand more open and representative politics’ (p.  21) but even in states such as Singapore with a large student and professional population, pressure for change is managed down in part by the patronage and procedural ties of patrimonialism (c.f. Davidson, 201842). Yet social change is apparent. Japan is a super-ageing society with a shrinking taxpayer base. The United Nations and the World Health Organization define ageing rate levels as follows: over

28  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill 7% is considered an aging society, over 14% is an aged society and over 21% is defined as a super-aged society. The biggest challenge for Japan – a leading consequence of population a­ geing – is to maintain the sustainability of its social security system given increasing medical and nursing costs. The ratio of Japan’s population over the age of 65 … was 28 per cent as of February 2018 – far in excess of other Asian nations … Japan passed the point of super-aged society in 2007, and the ageing rate is expected to grow to nearly 40 per cent by the year 2065. (Kanda, 2018: 32f) However, Japan is simply the flagship for other states that follow. By 2030, for example, the number of seniors in Singapore’s population is expected to double. Declines in fertility rates contribute to the looming crisis. In China the fertility rate is a greater problem than population ageing. The latest UN figures suggest that China’s fertility rates have declined from 5.4 in 1955–1960 to 1.6 for the most recent data (Table 1.2). Social work education programs and service development in Japan reflect these shifts regarding ageing although perhaps less so in relation to fertility rates. While there are the so-called ‘little pink’ – young people who express enthusiastic sympathy for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – less attention has been given to youth culture across the region. For example, in countries where ideals of filial piety are regulative, young people’s participation in social and political networks may be restricted – generally speaking the Asian mentality of filial piety creates a form of oligarchy. Youth unemployment in Malaysia is three times the average for the country at more than 10%, while 25% of university graduates remain unemployed six months after graduating despite employers complaining about difficulties sourcing talent. Malaysia has long been a net exporter of skills despite being a net importer of labor. However, the following account by O’Neill of Chinese women in urban contexts suggests the kind of research that may illuminate the roles of young people as well as women. Table 1.2  Fertility Rates: Children Per Woman (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017). World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision. Country



China Hong Kong Indonesia Japan Malaysia Singapore South Korea Taiwan Thailand Vietnam

3.00 2.23 4.73 1.83 4.20 1.84 2.92 2.74 3.92 5.50

1.66 1.33 2.21 1.48 1.93 1.26 1.40 1.31 1.41 1.93

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  29

Case Example 1.2  Urban Chinese Daughters Increased longevity and low fertility across Asia have resulted in ageing populations with growing numbers of vulnerable elders. Concurrently, Asian culture has changed. This book explains how urban Chinese daughters, who have traditionally remained at home to care for aging parents and in-laws, are today well educated, employed and self-sufficient. Notwithstanding this deep normative shift, underpinned by economic globalization over the past half century, most Chinese women still expect to provide instrumental care for their parents, even if they are also supporting them financially (historically the role of the eldest son). This research thus examines the ‘central paradox between traditional Chinese values and the modern lifestyles of Chinese women’ (p.  292). It asks why contemporary urban Chinese daughters are still willing to undertake traditional parent caregiving activities considering their self-reliant modern attitudes and lifestyles, and what their coping strategies are for accommodating the tensions and conflicts involved with discharging filial obligation. To answer this, three generations of Chinese women were interviewed in three transitioning Asian societies: Hong Kong, Singapore and Kunming, Yunnan province, mainland China. Speaking with them, it was clear that filial obligation remained a strong normative value. However, traditional Chinese values no longer meant the same thing to everyone. In theoretical terms, the filial piety debate appeared to be outdated. Most of the women were unable to resolve the structural role in motivating care. Relational norms were stronger, but affection, gratitude and duty were amalgamated and indivisible. The nature of caregiving had also changed, largely due to the decline in intergenerational households. In a more stratified model, healthy parents enjoyed regular communications and weekly meals with adult children. As parents aged and their health deteriorated, care increased in intensity. However, it could be provided by a domestic helper, particularly if the daughter was the only child. Institutional care was also an option. Although it was not favored, it had lost its stigma. All of this suggests that the line between filial piety and familism has become blurred. A more profound finding from the research was the importance of self-image. Whatever else motivated the women in this study to provide parental support or care, self-image was the driving force behind it. This is not a new construct in the Chinese culture. However, unlike in the past, in a major normative revision, it was the standard each daughter set for herself-based on her own values or ‘rules’ – that she had to live up to. The consequences of failure in this regard were inextricably linked to heavy and irreversible guilt. This is what held the caregiving arrangement together, especially when it became difficult, and it could become extremely

30  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill complex and onerous if daughters were torn between traditional and contemporary norms. Looking to the future, perhaps the take away message for family social work and welfare intervention may more broadly be that although the daughters wanted to care for their parents, they did not want to impose the burden of filial obligation on their own children. Nearly all the daughters indicated they would institutionalize themselves before they would appeal to their children for help. The daughters were, therefore, refusing to transmit to their children the very values with which they were raised. Source: O’Neill, P. 2018. Urban Chinese Daughters: Navigating new roles, status and filial obligation in a transitioning culture. Palgrave Macmillan

Social work and social welfare research This research by one of us leads into the agenda set in the Introduction. What part has been played hitherto by social research in social work and social welfare? In particular, how far has relevant research been carried out in the countries under review? To what extent has any research carried out in Southeast and East Asia been associated with theorizing about social work and social welfare from these countries? Finally, how does research and theorizing gain policy and practical traction for the country and for Asia? None of these questions is straightforward. The apparently most undemanding is how far relevant research has been carried out in the countries under review. But here we are largely dependent on reviews carried out elsewhere. Roche and Flynn review ‘recent articles authored in the global South and published in the ten largest social work journals’ (Roche and Flynn, 2018: 1). They conclude that ‘major social work journals are publishing minimal research by scholars in the global South, publishing even less indigenous research, and are highly focused on domestic contexts, leaving major gaps in social work theorising, research and knowledge.’ They also conclude that ‘research into methodology and ethics are major research gaps in Southern social work scholarship.’ Yet there are areas of significant and independent social work scholarship in the global South, a high level of geographical variation, evidence of high levels of South–North collaboration and increasing numbers of articles from the global South, all indicators that Southern social work scholarship is emerging. (p. 14) The difficulty, acknowledged by the authors, is that all but two of the journals were from the US, two from the UK, none from other countries in Europe and none from the global South. All were English language journals.

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  31 Ho et al. (2018) take a different approach. They review a special issue of another journal on democratizing social research (Brannelly and Edwards, 2017). They argue that ‘The democratisation of knowledge production requires more than an epistemological, ethical and practical agenda. It requires a political one’ (Ho et al., 2018: 476). ‘There is a profound asymmetry between theory and research generated in the west (or the metropole) and that generated elsewhere … At the same time, however, we cannot but be aware of Asian economic ascendancy’ (p. 470). They retain a belief that ‘(s)ocial research, if conducted innovatively and democratically, can still provide a space for supporting and sustaining counter-­ authoritarian narratives. Compassionate awareness and consciousness may bring about collective ethical actions … that are political in nature’ (p. 477). Though they do not make this fully explicit, it appears their position may be that it is within a particular form of participative democracy that ideal forms of social work and research will thrive. They do not explore how or whether this might work within the diverse and generally wholly other forms of state regimes in the global South in general or Southeast and East Asia in particular, though they acknowledge in general that ‘there is no guarantee that inclusive researchers will satisfy all stakeholders or achieve discussion harmony or solidarity amongst participants owing to the dynamic nature of inclusive research’ (p. 472). (C)onducting ‘care’-ful research in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China has become something of a double-edged sword, and going forward we can also anticipate even more obstacles to such research given that democracy is perceived by both the Hong Kong and Beijing governments as an invasion of western values and subversion of the party-state. (p. 477) One should not see all dominant research – or technological – forms as western imports. On the latter Anderson remarks on examples of the ‘co-­constitution’ of technology and authoritarian politics – ‘the complicated entanglements of technological determinism, regime legitimacy, and modern yearnings’ in post-colonial states. Thus ‘new technologies informed and framed nationalist consciousness’ (Anderson, 2018). These may operate in different directions, as national security concerns in China, Russia, the US and elsewhere may limit the globalization of technology, with possible consequences for exchange and mutuality within the international social work community. On balance it ought to be said that social work scholarship has not hitherto taken a strategic position on the strengths of research in the field and on future directions. This is not, of course, to say that no good research has been carried out. One can point, for instance, to the work of Paul Yip and his colleagues at the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention in the University of Hong Kong43 where culturally relevant research questions have yielded policy-relevant evidence. We also have referred to occasional qualitative and ethnographically informed

32  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill research that abrades and chafes at the surface of conventional regime forms. The work of Hoffman and St John (2017), Teo (2018) and O’Neill (2018) all presses at conventional understanding. An interesting student thesis by Lim Yan Ming (2014) draws on Giddens’ structuration theory and earlier work on street level bureaucracy to show how state discourse and ideology are embedded within the practice of medical social work and how conditions on the ground relate to the exercise of discretion by medical social workers. Drawing from the narratives of medical social workers in local public hospitals, this … showed that while state discourse and ideology are being reproduced at the street level, medical social workers are knowledgeable agents who create new meanings of welfare through their practices. (Lim Yan Ming, 2014: 2) This indicates that research and theorizing by western scholars may not be superfluous in this connection. The work we cite elsewhere in Case Example 1.2 illustrates as much. Work in the field of comparative social policy also suggests ways around simple ideas of policy transfer or applying ideas of ‘cultural competence’ to social work research and practice generated in the First World. International conferences take place, some of which accentuate research, in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and elsewhere, but there is limited sense of a cross-nation disciplinary community with a sense of critical research awareness and direction. The dominant intellectual influences on such occasions tend to be from the USA, Australia and northern Europe. In his review of social work in the Asia-Pacific region Shek presented the limitations of research in terms of largely US style research – validated measurement scales, western theoretical frameworks, very few longitudinal studies, and a paucity of evidence-based practice (Shek, 2017). The great majority of the fourteen articles in the issue were by writers in Australia. The establishment of a high-profile Asia Social Work Research Institute and an Asia analogue to the European Social Work Research Association that provides a voice for diverse European social work national identities may be appropriate medium-term vehicles for such critical awareness and direction. Such initiatives would provide a basis for developing research carried out in Southeast and East Asia associated with theorizing about social work and social welfare from these countries, and for social work research and theorizing to gain policy and practical traction for the country and for Asia.

An oriental social work? Western discourses about Asia ‘function in effect as a new, positive form of … “Orientalism”’ (White and Goodman, 1998: 5). This sometimes is reflected in social work through assertions that Asian cultures think holistically rather than

Governmental, social and cultural regimes  33 analytically. There is a mirrored eastern ‘negative Occidentalism’ that portrays the West in highly negative terms, as a model to be avoided at all costs. Following the Second World War, and with the growth of the ‘tiger economies,’ ‘positive Orientalism and negative Occidentalism achieved much wider currency’ (p. 7). Since the 1970s, Confucianism, in a fluctuating variety of versions, has been rediscovered as a positive historical force. It is now commonly cited as having provided the fundamental cultural underpinnings for East Asian economic success, particularly through its perceived emphasis on education, strong family relations, benevolent paternalism, social harmony and discipline, respect for tradition and a strong work ethic. (p. 8) Singapore provides a classic example, such that there is evidence that the government uses filial piety and Confucian values as an ideological tool to promote economic development and modernization. It has promoted Confucian ethics to offset influences from the West, justify its social welfare policies and reinforce its authority. Under the guise of civic responsibility and moral education in a multi-ethnic population, Confucian values have been integrated into society through the school system, public awareness programs, financial incentives, and the law.44 Lee Kuan Yew remarked that ‘Confucianism helped in two ways: it instilled, one, a willingness to place the needs of the nation or the society above oneself and, two, the habit of seeking a consensus,’ and that ‘Western-style welfare states are not only economically too expensive for Asian states to copy but also culturally inappropriate in that they foster laziness and dependency’ (White and Goodman, 1998: 8–9, 11). How far has positive Orientalism shaped thinking about social work and welfare Confucianism based on hierarchy, duty, compliance, consensus, order, harmony, stability? We inferred in the Introduction that it is misleading to think of one homogenous over-arching Asian Welfare Model. White and Goodman conclude ‘in all East Asian societies there have been – and remain – subtle and complex interactions between negative and positive evaluations of their own and Western social values’ (p. 13). There are two kinds of problems in thinking about Orientalist or Asian social work and social welfare. First, contrary to widespread efforts to justify neo-­ Confucian bases for welfare policy, Ho and colleagues caution that ‘Democratic practices in knowledge production not only run counter to the political revival of Confucianism as a valued part of China’s cultural heritage … but also challenge hierarchical decision-making and respect of seniors by juniors,’ believing that Confucianism ‘provides new discursive resources for continuing authoritarianism, central to which is emphasis on harmony’ (Ho et al., 2018: 477). Consistent with this is Bertrand’s note that the Chinese state conflated Soviet command regulation with Confucian moral rule.

34  Ian Shaw and Patricia O’Neill Second, it is theoretically inadequate and hence undermines adequate ways of developing models of social work intervention. Goodman and White criticize such arguments for being: • • • •

Essentialist. As if they had a timeless character. They tend to marginalise other explanations or reduce them to expressions of Asian essences. Static, so not helpful in dealing with social change or conflict. Overly abstract. Dichotomizing and obscuring the complex ways in which societies interact.

Bertrand concludes that it is the mix of factors rather than individual unique circumstances that make Southeast Asia distinctive. There are three reasons for arguing in this way. 1 The middle class has been more dependent on the state than elsewhere in, for example, Singapore and Malaysia. Many benefits depend on support for and loyalty to the government. 2 The state has been stronger. 3 Economic development has provided ‘performance legitimacy’ to some authoritarian regimes. (Bertrand, 2013: 225) Framing the question in terms of a distinctive mix of factors is illuminating when applied to social work. We draw out the possible character of these distinctives in social work terms at the close of Chapter 3. To practice and think about social work in regime contexts of this kind demands commitment and risk.

Taking it further From the main part of this book select a chapter about a country with which you have some familiarity. Consider in a small group discussion how far the chosen chapter illustrates the themes in this first chapter. In the light of the present chapter, what more might one need to know and understand about the country under consideration? A variation on this task is to select one of the sources cited in this first chapter, read it, and then undertake the group exercise in relation to that single source.

2 Social work metamorphoses Practice, education and research Rosaleen Ow

Introduction Social work as a professional activity can be said to be ‘imported’ and not native to the countries found in this book. Its current form is a hybrid of Eurocentric and American approaches to the provision of welfare, often influenced by past colonial presence in the social, economic and political life of these countries. In addition, it also includes local efforts made to develop a brand of professional social work that is aligned with the national needs and characteristics of the context in which it is situated. Social work, its practice, education and research, and formal recognition as a profession could thus be said to have been gradually and organically constructed in tandem with the development of the country in which it grew. Therefore, it is no surprise that across countries and within them, social work as a profession is complex given its position and interaction with other systems and institutions in society and with the state. This chapter will address the content and the process of co-construction in the metamorphosis of social work as a profession and its role in response to national needs (political, economic and social) through practice, professional education and research. The challenges and potential that the social work profession in East and South East Asia may face in the uncertain global future will also be discussed.

Social work – the profession The task of understanding and defining social work as a profession in East and Southeast Asia is as complex and variegated as understanding the interplay between social work and social welfare, the state and governmental regimes and the socio-cultural forms that exist in these nations as expounded in the previous chapter. According to Vimla (2010: 815), (t)he recognition of professional social work and the need for quality social work education in Asia has been slow moving. Historically, social work has meant giving charity and helping the destitute and orphans, widows, the aged, and other ‘poor’ people, greatly influenced by religious philosophy and values.

36  Rosaleen Ow In some countries, professional recognition seems to be an on-going struggle such as in Malaysia (Hatta and Saad, 2014) where social work tasks may be largely carried out by personnel with no formal training in social work and minimal social and statutory sanctions. In other countries professional recognition came about through state mandate as a consequence of the pragmatic need for professional social work to support the process of building the nation aspired to by the government of the time. An example of the latter is Singapore where the co-constructing role of social work is manifested in its National Social Work Competency Framework (NSWCF), launched in 2015 by its then Minister of Social and Family Development. In the foreword of the NSWCF document, the co-chairs of the steering committee that helped to develop the framework stated that ‘The social work profession has over the years, gained recognition for its value in addressing complex societal issues’ and should consider ‘the larger roles that social workers play in a changing and more complex social landscape’ (MOH et al., 2015: 3). The social constructionist perspective will be utilized to examine the metamorphoses of social work as a profession, changing its form when appropriate as a response to the outer environment such as the political, economic and ­socio-cultural forces in the context where the profession is situated. Ideas about social construction came from the work of sociologists who believed that reality is social knowledge that people agreed upon which helped them to live an ordered life. Burr (1995: 8) proposed that social constructionism is where explanations of social phenomena are found in the ‘interactive processes that take place routinely between people’ and within ‘a consideration of how certain phenomena or forms of knowledge are achieved by people in interaction. Knowledge is therefore seen not as something that a person has (or does not have), but as something that people do together.’ Payne (2014: 17, 19), in writing about ‘what social work is,’ stated that ‘social work is socially constructed by our practice, the people and organizations involved with us and the theories that inform our practice’ and that using social construction ideas in social work is this idea that social arrangements are not set in stone. The nature of social work, and any other social construction, changes as events in history or relationships in various social contexts alter. Social constructionism, therefore, seems to be a useful and relevant lens to examine and understand the changes in the metamorphosis of social work as a profession in this chapter. Every metamorphosis is characterized by significant milestones that will bring it towards an anticipated outcome like the changes from a caterpillar to a chrysalis and finally to a butterfly. There are changes but there is also continuity. Viewed from a historical perspective, the development of social work in most countries can be divided into two main eras of change: pre- and post-industrial revolution (for example, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of American (US); pre- and post-World War II (for example, Taiwan, Singapore and

Practice, education and research  37 Japan); pre- and post-national independence (such as Malaysia and Indonesia), pre- and post- market economy (for example, South Korea, Vietnam and China). There may be other ways of categorizing these periods of economic, social and political changes but these are proposed because subsumed under these categories are the processes of de-colonization and the growth of neo-liberal trends in newer regimes in East and South East Asia. In these countries, the pursuit of political and social goals intertwined with economic goals is becoming more prominent in every facet of life in recent years as a response to global neoliberal trends. Social, political and economic changes have concurrent implications for the growth of social work as a profession. While it is not possible, due to space constraint and often limited literature on the topic, to explore changes across eras in all the countries represented in this book, the following section will use some countries as illustrations. Understanding the development of social work and its evolution can best start with the UK and the US as examples of a profession that grew and changed during the pre- and post-industrial revolution eras. They provide examples of how the historical threads of social, political and economic forces bind and interact with helping the needy impact on the metamorphosis of a particular brand of social welfare, social work practice and social work education unique to the context. In addition, these two countries also influenced the development of social work in many of the countries in this book such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. In the construction of what social work is in the development of professional social work in the UK, Timms (1973: v), in the editor’s general introduction to Seed’s book (1973) on the expansion of social work in Britain, wrote that ‘social work can only be understood if the historical threads, usually separated for close scrutiny, are woven together again.’ According to Seed (1973), social work originated from the philanthropic tradition of ‘doing good’ by wealthy people, often men, who sought to provide charity initially as an attempt to build symbolic images of freedom and well-being masking the realities of an unequal distribution of wealth and power in the nation. Philanthropy intensified in the nineteenth century during the first industrial revolution as urbanization, industrialization and economic exploitation widened the gap between the rich and poor. Volunteers were found to be inadequate in the administration of poor relief and training was needed. The University of Edinburgh in its centenary timeline website (2019) reported that social study training began as a voluntary enterprise in the 1890s closely associated with the London School of Economics and Political Science. Subsequently, formal lectures began in 1902 under the London School of Sociology and Economics and the curriculum comprised content from three fields: social theory and administration, sociology and practical instruction. So began the first formal social work education at the university level aimed specifically at helping the poor. Over the years the British model of the welfare state evolved as a response to different eras of political, economic and social change in the nation and the formal training of social workers evolved in response to the needs of the time as welfare was expanded to include the vulnerable and not just the ‘poor.’

38  Rosaleen Ow Social work in the US and UK was said to have had similar beginnings (­Woodroofe, 1962) but the evolution ended with a slightly different picture. The difference between the UK and the US in terms of the development of social welfare and subsequently social work is associated mainly with social demography and political factors. For example, ‘The US was not settled by wealthy people’ (­Morales et al., 2010: 18) but mainly by poor migrants attracted to seek a better world living together with a group of non-white persons who were slaves brought in to work in plantations and First Nations people who populated the country before it was colonized. Individuals and families in colonial US depended on mutual aid and self-help as there was no formal provision of personal welfare services by the colonial administration. Against a historical social demographic backdrop of industrialization, urbanization and individualization, voluntary organizations such as Settlement Houses were established to provide the needed community services. The Great Depression (from 1929 to 1939) brought home the recognition that even able-bodied persons might need help against conditions outside their control. The roots of a more radical community intervention lie in this period with activists such as Saul Alinsky in Chicago. As society became more complex and individual needs came to the fore, the lack of coordinated welfare across the vast land mass and the different administrations across many states within the US became a fertile ground for the development of private clinical social work. This development prompted debates as to whether private practitioners had abandoned the social work mission and were ‘unfaithful angels’ (Specht and Courtney, 1994). The role and value of private, clinical practice continues in the US in ways very different from the UK and other mainland European countries. The precedents of the UK and the US provide the backdrop for understanding the roots of social work as a profession, how it began and its continued influence on global social work. With the exception of Thailand, all the other countries in the book had at one point or another been subjected to some degree of political, social, economic and pedagogical influence from the UK or the US and, to a smaller extent, the Netherlands and France. Although social work had for a long time looked towards the non-Asian world for knowledge transfer, Katherine van Wormer, in the foreword to a recent book on social work in East Asia, wrote that with global interconnectedness and shared concerns about social and economic sustainability, ‘it is now time to turn toward the East. Big things are happening in this part of the world consistent with burgeoning economies’ (2014: xvi). The search for plausible new paradigms outside Europe and the US is beginning to be recognized. Following on with the idea that the development of social work could be perceived as falling mainly into two eras in a nation, Japan and Singapore are examples of those that belong to the pre- and post-World War II category. Ito (1995) described the development of social work in Japan as falling into four historical periods. First, the pre-W W II period where social services were mainly provided for by voluntary organizations with a mandate from the state to provide services but with minimal material support. The earliest forms of

Practice, education and research  39 charity activities were providing food and shelters to the poor and were mainly organized by local communities and religious organizations. During W W II, social welfare was mainly focused on supporting soldiers and their families (Schaede and Nemoto, 2006 cited in Liu, 2014) and social work was dormant during this period. In the post-W W II period of US occupation (1949–1951), the American General Head Quarters (GHQ) took the lead in reforming the organization of social services and began the professionalization of social work in Japan. During the post-war period, the US-Japan alliance was foremost in the political arena. It was also a period of strong economic growth and according to Liu (2014: 18), ‘The changes, both in the economic and political aspects are significant to the development of social work in Japan’ as manifested in the establishment of a social service system, social work education and accreditation closely influenced by the US models until the end of the American occupation in 1951. The American GHQ also introduced American social workers to supervise local welfare officers in the provision of social relief (refer to Liu, 2014 for more details). However, the period of post-occupation was described as a period of stagnation for social services and social work where the Japanese political leadership ‘showed obvious hostility to welfare states’ (Ito, 1995: 265). Suffice to say at this point that the Japanese social service system developed post-W W II with American social work as the model for service delivery. The poor were not divided into the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ since the Japanese attributed the cause of poverty not to individual responsibility but to ‘fate.’ Liu (2014: 17) maintained that ‘the spirit of cooperation between the government and the voluntary sector cannot be seen in social welfare legislation, but the social work services.’ However, according to Ito (1995), while social services grew, social work as a profession was only officially recognized in 1987 through state involvement with the certification of social workers and care workers. He summarized the status of social work in Japan as follows: (d)uring the more than one hundred years following modernization, Japan has been developing social services following Western models. The current social service system was formed during the first fifteen years following World War Two, and through several reorganizations Japan has accomplished a reasonable standard of service in respect to pensions, health insurance and medical services. Yet compared to these services, personal social service and child protection have lagged behind, as has social work as a profession. (Ito, 1995: 258) What is the situation in the metamorphosis of social work in Japan since 1995 when Ito’s article was published? The chapter by Asano and Tokoro in this book sheds further light on this question in relation to the continuing process of constructing what social work is in Japan in the face of social, political, economic and educational changes in recent years.

40  Rosaleen Ow Singapore is another example of a country where social work as a profession was recognized and developed after WW II. The number of female Chinese immigrants in Singapore increased substantially from the late nineteenth century till the outbreak of WW II. With the increase of families and children, each immigrant group established communally related temples, guild houses, clan associations and vernacular schools to respond to communal needs (Wee, 2003). Similarly, the social needs of other non-Chinese migrant communities were also met mainly by ethnic mutual aid associations (Ow, 1999). However, it was in the face of poverty and malnutrition of children after WW II that the first medical social work service was established in 1949. This development marked the beginning of professional social work in Singapore (Vaithilingam, 1980) with the London School of Economics as the major British provider of social work education during that period (Wee, 2012). State involvement began in earnest post-WW II with the establishment of the Social Welfare Department in 1946 (Wee, 2011) providing relief to the poor and services for marital and intergeneration disputes, working together with voluntary organizations in the provision of these services. The state continued to work collaboratively with community partners in what is known as the ‘many helping hands’ approach in the provision of social services and meeting national development needs. National organizations supported by different ethnic communities, albeit often prompted by the government, were established to help address issues related to their own communities (Ow, 1999). The practice of encouraging communal responsibility in social care by clan associations and other mutual benefit organizations is an example of continuity with change in pre- and post-WW II Singapore. Social work practitioners together with the state and other voluntary bodies and academia worked together in the co-construction of the social work profession as it developed in tandem with the political, economic and social changes in the nation. The following chronology of events serves as a case example of the post-WW II changes that occurred in the identity and role of the social work profession: The first professional social work association, the Malayan Association of Almoners, was formed in 1954 when Singapore was still part of the British colony of Malaya. In 1960 the Association of Professional Social Workers (APSW) was registered. When Singapore and Malaysia parted ways in 1965, the first Singapore Association of Medical Social Workers (SAMSW) was registered in 1967. In 1970, the APSW and SAMSW amalgamated to form the present day Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW) (Fong, 1987). Since then, the SASW and its counterpart in Malaysia, the Malaysian Association of Social Workers had fought different battles and won different victories in the interaction with its political, social and economic environment in the construction of its professional practice and identity. The SASW and its members were active partners in the co-construction process in the development of the Singapore Social Work Accreditation and Advisory Board (2009) and the National Social Work Competency Framework (2015). Social workers were recognized by the state to have significant roles to play in the areas of practice, policy making and research in a

Practice, education and research  41 changing and more complex landscape (MOH et al., 2015: 3). Chong and Ng provide a critical account and assessment of the development of Singaporean social work in its relationship to government. Malaysia affords an example of a country where the dividing line historically in social work’s development was the moment of independence. Unlike Singapore, social welfare and social work in Malaysia seemed to be less impacted by WW II but more by political changes arising from national independence from Britain. Social work as a profession in Malaysia and Singapore shared the same beginnings in social work under British rule as reported in the paragraph above. However, its development can be traced more to political changes arising from post-independence factors rather than the impact of WW II. Malaysia, being largely rural, experienced less intense devastation of life and property during WW II than urban Singapore. A Department of Social Welfare was established by the colonial government in 1946 to address the poverty, nutrition and dislocation after WW II. However, in Malaysia, there was strong community involvement in providing care, ‘Community work has been part of the traditional Malay community’s customs and practice since long before being colonized by foreign powers’ (Hatta and Saad, 2014: 105). In a similar fashion, as in Singapore, ethnic communities had their own village and clan mutual benefit associations to meet communal needs. Malaysia has a large rural population and its political and economic attention post-independence has been focused on attempts to reduce rural poverty. Communal support in nation-building became more prominent post-independence when these various communities established their own communal political parties as an extension of mutual help and advocates for welfare issues related their own ethnic group. For example, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) were the biggest parties representing their own community. Since then there has a been a myriad of registered political parties each with a specific agenda for addressing social concerns and well-being. In post-independence Malaysia, allocation of resources cannot be divorced from politics. The ruling party in 1971 introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP) to ‘accelerate the process of eradicating poverty and restructuring society to correct social and economic imbalances’ (Hatta and Saad, 2014: 108) through affirmative policies and allocation of resources. Although the NEP did not reach its stated goals (Funston, 2001), its objectives continued to be the basis for future plans to improve the well-being of citizens (Abbas, 2003). Post-­ independence thus saw a range of welfare services developed in tandem with the political changes to meet the social needs arising from the transition of an agricultural economy to increased industrialization to meet economic goals under the NEP. A range of professionals, including those in healthcare and social work, were required to support the welfare policies established to meet emerging social needs, particularly those related to urban poverty arising from post-­ independence economic development. The number of professionals with formal training in social work was inadequate and welfare officers with minimal training in social work practice were employed for social work tasks (Department of

42  Rosaleen Ow Social Welfare, 2009). However, in the face of rising rural and urban poverty and other communal-related needs post-independence resources were mainly allocated to addressing political and economic challenges faced by the state rather than addressing needs for social service delivery. The recognition of the role of social work in contributing to the building of national stability and well-being was not highlighted by the state and society and the professional identity of the profession was weakened. The challenges and opportunities for the development of the social work profession in the future in the light of a new political leadership from 2018 will be explored by the chapter on Malaysia in this book. Indonesia’s geography and demography are fairly similar to that of Malaysia with a large land mass characterized by a rural/urban multicultural population under years of colonization (by the Dutch and the Japanese occupation). Although the post-independence era was just as significant for social work in Indonesia as in Malaysia, its development in social welfare and social work seemed to have taken a different trajectory. The post-independence era came with the departure of the Japanese in 1945. Unlike Malaysia where the social welfare system and social work were influenced by the British system, the Dutch and Japanese colonial powers had minimal influence over the Indonesian social welfare system and social work (Fahrudin, 2013). In fact, Adi Fahrudin’s chapter sets out how the Americans wielded the most influence through the advent of organizations from the United Nations, notably the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (c.f. (Sulaiman, 1985). The UNDP contributed to the development of Indonesia’s social work curriculum, field work, teaching material and the training of social work faculty in social work education through providing external experts in knowledge transfer programs. However, because of its unique context, it is interesting to note that in spite of the post-independence American influence, current definitions of social work could take on a different slant. For instance, Sulistyowati (2011: 135) writing in the context of social development said that (i)n Indonesia, the term social worker usually relates to people who work for those who are marginalized … to refer to people who join the effort for creating social change for their own social group or for other marginalized groups. Sometimes, they are also called as social/environmental movement activists. Social work among Indonesian professionals also include social development with a social justice and equality emphasis in addition to casework and personal social services. Traditionally, Indonesia values the spirit of communal self-help or gotong royong, as is typical in many Asian societies. Geertz (1983) described gotong royong as comprising a large inventory of specific and often intricate institutions that are used to effect cooperation in work, politics and personal relations involving mutual adjustment and reciprocity. Gotong royong enabled communities and individuals to address tasks brought on by emergencies such as earthquakes or day to day life such as the repair of bridges in the village. In the

Practice, education and research  43 post-independence era the construction of social work as a profession in Indonesia thus has to take into consideration lay and professional (mainly American) views of what social work is, who can do it and for whom, in its journey to gain recognition by society and the state. The struggle for an official status is similar to Malaysia though their contexts are different. How would changes in political regimes and economic challenges affect the welfare system and redistribution of resources and impact the metamorphosis of social work practice, identity and education in the context of Indonesia? Countries in the book that belong to the pre- and post- market economy include South Korea, China and Vietnam. The 1997 financial crisis was a major event in South Korea’s economic history, bringing economic hardship to many citizens. Structural adjustment and massive layoffs resulted in millions of unemployed people, huge debts and broken families. Following the economic crisis, Korean society changed drastically. It adopted the neo-liberalist approach to governmentality and converted into a highly competitive society. The proportion of precarious workers and working poor expanded, and poverty, deprivation and income inequality became serious social problems (Shin, 2013). The government responded with aggressive efforts to legislate new welfare programs and expand or strengthen existing policies to cope with various social risks and emergency relief with more social work positions. Therefore, according to Kim (2013: 9) (u)p until around 1980, all the work in this field had been called “social work”, thereafter the terminology “social welfare” was used but there is no longer any differentiation between the two terms as the microscopic approach of social work on personal services and the macroscopic approach of social policy are jointly called “social welfare” … the change of word usage can be viewed as a product of history that reflects its epoch and society. South Korea is an example of how a change in economic directions under a changed political regime could impact the face of social work and caused it to redefine itself and respond continually to new issues and challenges in the wider environment in the co-construction of its identity and practice. Although the political system in Vietnam remained that of state socialism since reunification in 1975, the shift to a market economy meant that the government faced the challenge of developing state social services to address problems associated with rapid economic and social changes. These included a high incidence of poverty, large disparity between the living standards of the rural and urban populations and the emergence of a large number of vulnerable persons needing assistance. The origin of contemporary Vietnamese social work was said to have arisen from the advocacy of community practitioners in Ho Chi Minh City who formed non-government organizations to provide community services in response to needs that became evident through the rapid social change that was occurring (Nguyen Thi Oanh, 2002). To understand what social work is and to know what social workers do, Vietnam, like a number of other

44  Rosaleen Ow countries in the region, looked to the countries with more established social work professions such as the US, UK, Australia and other parts of Europe (Han et al., 2016; Hines et al., 2015). At the same time, however, there have also been influences from Asian social workers to balance the non-Asian sources of theories and practices such as inputs from practitioners and academics in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and the Philippines. While these Asian inputs might be more aligned with the Vietnamese context these countries themselves also had a colonial presence which might have influenced their own construction of social work in context. Hence, the challenge remains in Vietnam of how to construct a social work profession that meets international standards and norms without sacrificing the local essence, as is true of social work in the other countries in this book. Although very different, China is another country that could also be usefully categorized under the pre-market to post-market economy eras in terms of the development of social work from a governmentality perspective. Prior to the introduction of the market economy, social problems were viewed as problems of the masses but after the introduction of the market economy, the existing government instrument, the danwei system, for meeting social needs and to maintain social stability, was found to be ineffective. The rapid growth in social problems and divergent community needs made it imperative for the state to search for an alternative governance paradigm (Li et al., 2012). Problems were redefined to be a product of individual deficits rather than of the masses. Social work as an acknowledged discipline with its emphasis on clinical work with individuals was perceived to be a good fit with the state in addressing social issues and safeguarding social stability in urban China (Leung et al., 2012; Zhang, 2011). The construction of social work as a profession thus had its beginnings in performing a functional role in governing change in people with difficulties in the process of building a harmonious socialist nation. The move in the early construction of social work in China received state support but at the same time experienced direct and indirect control of social work education and practices. In recent years, the advent of social media and their wide usage could however make it possible for social workers, academics and social work students to access alternative thoughts and critical thinking and other perspectives in social work that are not available within the context of the profession’s own country. Such platforms may produce an impact on discourse in alternative forms of social work practice in China. An example of online platforms about social work and social work practice is the Global Institute of Social Work (GISW). Social work first became a profession in non-Asian contexts based on the belief that the state could resolve social problems through the provision of social services with government resources (Offer, 2006). Hence one of the roles of social workers is to advocate for the marginalized and the disadvantaged. However, in the region covered by this book, countries in their new-found sovereignty away from a colonial past experienced vulnerabilities in social, political and economic fronts that require social work to be more collaborative rather than confronting. The co-construction of what social work is and can do and the extent to which it

Practice, education and research  45 can be officially extended a mandate to exist as a profession with the state and the community seems to depend largely on its functionality in the process of nation building (Ow and Goh, 2009).

Social work – education The history of university education was said to have had its beginnings in the twelfth century in Europe for example at Bologna, Paris and Oxford. Bologna was reputed to be Europe’s oldest university, founded in 1088 with groups of mature students employing teachers to help them gain extra skills to practice medicine or law. However, in contrast, in northern Europe it was teachers who initially founded universities to teach younger students and this was the beginning of the apprentice and master system (Willetts, 2017). Universities then, as now, were not totally divorced from politics. Oxford was apparently established in 1167 when King Henry II banned English students from going to study in Paris because France was too closely connected to his arch-rival Archbishop Thomas Beckett (Willetts, 2017). The lesson to learn from this snippet of history was that universities began with the teaching of vocational skills but their courses could inevitably be influenced by the politics of the time. Globally, universities and university education could be said to have evolved over the years from their beginnings as places for vocational training to seats of discourse and theory development to being a pragmatic instrument for achieving neo-liberal social, economic and political goals in the process of building a nation (Rhodes, 2017). For instance, in a speech on the achievement of the National University of Singapore (NUS) as top in THE Asia University rankings in 2018, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye was reported saying, (a)s the higher education landscape continues to evolve rapidly, we aim to accelerate NUS’ transformation over the coming years … nurturing future-­ ready graduates and expand lifelong education initiatives to benefit our alumni and Singaporeans … also deepen the translational impact of NUS’ research, and enhance our vibrant ecosystem to further foster innovation and entrepreneurship. (Tan, 2018) Brown (2015), quoted in Rhodes (2017: 21), defined neoliberalism as ‘the encroachment of economic and market logics on all forms of human endeavor, not the least education.’ Some questions arise from such global trends in the environments of social work education. Social work education began as skillsbased training for volunteers and was later officially included in a university department in the UK to train individuals paid to provide social services. As social needs change and social services and social work practice evolve in tandem with social, political and economic changes in society, what will be the impact of these changes on social work education? In turn, what will be the role of social work education in the metamorphosis of the profession in terms of the nature of

46  Rosaleen Ow social work practice in a particular society that may be constantly evolving? What is the nature of the transactions between social work practice and social work education together with the state in the co-construction of social work? In spite of the long existence of social work, is it still a semi-profession (Flexner, 2001) and according to whose evaluation? Gelman and Gonzalez in an article on reconsidering social work 100 years post-Flexner asked where is social work now, where is it heading, what had been gained and lost because to quote ‘The question of who we are and where we are clearly caught the attention of social workers not just in the United States but around the world’ (2016: 52–53). Hence, social work in East and South East Asia is not spared from considering similar questions. The previous section has briefly reviewed the development of social work as a profession in several countries in the region. The next section is an attempt to understand the transactional relationship between social work practice and education. First, it may be necessary to confront the question of the need for the professionalization of social work especially when traditionally (and still in some societies such as Malaysia and Indonesia) social needs were often taken care of by the efforts of community volunteers. In social work, a commonly held view is that in working with the vulnerable it is essential for a professional helper to be accountable in terms of competency (knowledge and skills), ethics (values in action) and relevance (in terms of functionality) in order to justify a social mandate and the legitimacy to enter into the private lives of individuals and groups. The social work profession, discussed in the previous section on the metamorphosis of social work in context, had engaged in ways to evolve a system to achieve professionalization through the development of formal social work education and the formation of national social work associations. These two tasks were carried out while continually attempting to retain aspects of traditional help-giving by the state, community and non-government bodies in content and pedagogy. Two case studies, Vietnam and Japan, are included below to illustrate the point that defining what social work is in the community remains a challenge that may influence the development of content (knowledge and skills for practice) and pedagogy (how that knowledge and those skills are to be communicated and taught) in social work education. In Vietnam for example the strong reliance on international collaboration in social service provision and the development of social work education had raised concerns about the transportability of ideas, concepts and practices developed in a non-Vietnamese context to local contexts. Integration of ways of thinking and practice includes relevance for the local social, economic and political structures and Vietnamese culture including those of minority groups. According to (Nguyen Thi Thai Lan, 2017) there is a difference between traditional expressions of culture and modernist secular perspectives on help-giving. For example, ‘social work’ is translated into Vietnamese as ‘công tác xã hô ̣i’ which traditionally refers to anyone engaged in work in response to the needs of their neighbors or the community. Social work education, in its effort to indigenize content and pedagogy from non-Vietnamese sources, became the major force in the metamorphosis of social work in Vietnam as it went through phases from traditional

Practice, education and research  47 help-giving to professional social work practice (Nguyen Thi Thai Lan et al., 2010; c.f. Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan, herein). In Japan, a similar challenge in defining social work locally vis-a-vis international definitions was acknowledged by Sasaki (2010: 866) who explained the lack of direct translation by noting that ‘The author (himself) recognizes the risk of using the terms ‘social work’ and ‘social welfare’ to explain the Japanese situation. Therefore, in this paper, the author uses ‘social work/social welfare’ to describe ‘Shakai Fukushi Gaku Kyoiku’ in Japanese, which has been developed by learning from the world as well as reflecting on Japan’s own history of social work and social welfare.’ Second, it will be useful to review what formal training via social work education comprises and the challenges and potential present in the development of social work education in East and South East Asia. The nature of social work practice in a society will have implications for social work education and even social work research in the search for new knowledge and skills to meet new social needs. To be relevant for practice, should a curriculum be geared towards generalist community practice with a systemic/ecological emphasis given the structural and cultural institutions within which the social work profession is situated? Should social work education focus on clinical practice with specialization on individual and family therapy? Recent research in the US and New ­Zealand seems to indicate a trend towards more professional social workers choosing to work in private clinical practice instead of community welfare agencies (Lord and Ludice, 2012; van Heugten, 2002). Should social work education be a handmaiden to facilitate existing practice, whatever that might be in context, or be a leader to forge new pathways for practice? To what extent would it be possible to develop a transactional relationship with constant exchanges of evolving knowledge and skills based on research and reflexive practice between social work practitioners and academia? Third, to what extent does social work education have to consider the role of spirituality, religion and religious institutions in the development of the social work curriculum? The impact of these non-secular forces in problem definition, problem resolution and the provision of resources both material and spiritual in meeting human needs would make it difficult for secular social work theories to continue ignoring this aspect of practice and hence social work education. In East and South East Asia where culture, traditions, customs and religion are often a part of the phenomenological self, social work education often includes the spiritual part of the Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual (BPSS) framework used in the holistic understanding of the functioning (and conversely the dysfunction) of a person. We assess the basis in this book of claims to holistic social work in the next chapter. The indigenization process which begins with non-western social work as an exogenous entity to be adapted to local use is essentially different from social work that reflects the local culture, worldviews and spirituality from an insider perspective, i.e. the process of authentication (Ling, 2007). Content and pedagogy in social work education in different political, economic and socio-­cultural contexts may have to reflect on what is the insider perspective and the extent to which content and pedagogy from outside the local context remain relevant and can be retained or indigenized.

48  Rosaleen Ow Fourth, cross-border migration such as refugees, economic migration to maximize business opportunities and bi-national marriages is bringing people together from across the globe. Competency for cross-cultural social work is now an emerging practice issue and has implications for the development of the social work curriculum. The business community has long recognized the importance of competence in cross-cultural communication and work styles in an increasingly connected world. However, research has shown that the challenge of teaching this competency in the classroom continues to exist (Luck and Swartz, 2016). Social work literature abounds with books and journal articles on cross-cultural practice. As part of the process in developing a local approach to social work practice, social work education provides the best learning and research opportunities for the social work profession to develop knowledge and skills in understanding how to work with individuals and groups across cultures in East and South East Asia. In addition, within the region, there is diversity within diversity. Different worldviews, customs, traditions and work styles can exist within the same general group e.g. the Islamic community comprises many different sub-groups with roots from different interpretations of some aspects of Islam. Social work education has the potential to contribute to the nature of social work practice locally and perhaps even be able to engage in a ‘reverse’ transmission of knowledge and skills in cross-cultural social work to non-Asian countries with a large migrant population from Asia. Last but not of least importance, is the challenge of teaching theories and models of practice as reflecting some form of certainty about the human condition and human behavior in the context of an uncertain world. Social workers carry out their tasks in situations that often do not fit into any set formula of responses because every individual or group with a need is located in their own unique context and experience. In the face of increasing quality control and audit measures as evidence to enhance risk management and the maximization of limited resources for what is perceived as non-productive economic outcomes, how would social work education teach future social workers to negotiate the need between learning to fulfil bureaucratic requirements and the care of individuals in their unique context? How would social work education teach future social workers to process the tension that exists when the practice environment leads them to become ‘case managers’ rather than ‘case workers’? Social workers increasingly work to identify and manage risk rather than meet needs and provide care’ (Howe, 2014: 43). Can or should social work education teach ‘certainty’ in an ‘uncertain’ world, both individual and global? In summary, to accelerate its progress and gain international recognition as a profession, social work education in the region has received much help from the international social work community in terms of collaboration and knowledge transfer in research and curriculum development. The two main challenges that may confront social work education in the future are (1) the development of a curriculum that meets local practice needs without sacrificing its connectedness with the global social work education community and (2) its continued relevance to the political, economic and social needs required in the process of nation

Practice, education and research  49 building in view of the neo-liberal direction that state-funded universities will increasingly be moving towards in the future.

Social work – research ‘No social work is free from science’ (Shaw, 2016a: 1). This opening statement in a volume on social work science succinctly reminds us that social workers are not just doers but also thinkers. Argyris and Schon (1974: 3) wrote about theories in action among the professions many years ago. I quote them extensively here for the relevance of the passage to social work. They wrote, (i)ntegrating thought with action effectively had plagued philosophers, frustrated social scientists, and eluded professional practitioners for years. It is one of the most prevalent and least understood problems of our age. Universities have shunned it on the ground that effective action was too practical or – the best kiss of death – vocational. We believe that exciting intellectual problems are related to integrating thought with action. Effective action requires the generation of knowledge that crosses the traditional disciplines of knowledge – with as much competence and rigor as each discipline usually demands. This is a difficult task not only because scholars rarely cross disciplines but also because few scholars are inclined and educated to generate such knowledge. Although not specifically about social work, the relationship between the generation of knowledge and practice cannot be ignored. Research is one of the vehicles for human beings, including professional practitioners, to develop competency in decision-making and taking actions. Sims (2017: 227) argued that ‘teaching and research are complementary activities, each of which wilts in the absence of the other … the separation and separate valuing of the two activities is harmful to the pursuit of excellence in the academy’ (university). In recent years there has been a burgeoning of knowledge development in social work as evidenced by the numerous empirical articles published in an ever-increasing number of peer-reviewed international journals on different aspects of social work practice, policy and research. The University of Houston, for example, published a 105-page list of journals on social work and related disciplines (Leung and Cheung, 2014) complete with impact factors and manuscript submission details for its Graduate College of Social Work. In addition to peer-­ reviewed journals, there are also increased electronic databases and other online resources that support indexing, systematic reviews and quantitative analysis for evidence-based research. However, the question remains as to how much of such research production is relevant to social work in East and South East Asia where social work practice and education are to a large extent in their infancy? Other than randomized clinical trials and evidence-based interventions, there may be forms of scientific inquiry and using of evidence from research to inform practice and vice versa. Recent thoughts on social work research include terms such

50  Rosaleen Ow as research-informed practice and practice-informed research where the practitioner and the researcher work together to identify what works, for whom and under what conditions (Williams, 2016). In the East and South East Asia context, it may be necessary to focus first on collecting sufficient primary data to understand inductively social needs and problem-solving rather than data analysis from conveniently available official statistics, although such findings could provide the big picture to understanding the macro-systems that impact on social work practice, social policy and service delivery. This trend towards more focused practice research is globally evidenced by the growth of interest in supporting and establishing practice research as an important paradigm in the totality of research approaches in social work. The First International Conference on Practice Research (2008) was held in Salisbury, UK, then Helsinki, Finland (2012), New York City, US (2014), Hong Kong (2018), moving to Melbourne, Australia (2020). The conference series aim to explore and generate innovative approaches to practice research in social work including recognizing gaps and stressors between practice organizations and research endeavors. The Fourth International Conference on Practice Research, for example, was specifically tailored to the context of Asia ( A case illustration on the increasing importance of practice research in Asia would be the research fund endowed by a local philanthropist, the Mrs. Lee Choon Guan Trust Fund, to promote research collaboration between social work practitioners and academia at the National University of Singapore. The Mrs. Lee Choon Guan Endowed Research Fund, launched in 2017, awards grants to social service agencies for practice research projects. The launch of the fund set out how (i)n practice research projects, practicing social workers and NUS researchers will work hand in hand to address real-world challenges in Singapore’s social service sector, and in the process, social workers could build their capacity and capability to handle a variety of local issues. Findings from such research projects will also contribute towards improving the accessibility, delivery and design of social services; enhancing the well-being of service users, as well as contributing to policy discussions at the service providers and government levels. (w w­ research-fund-to-expand-social-service-research). In envisioning the future of social work research and education, Lein et al. (2017: 67) reported on ‘how organizations engaged in social work research can collaborate towards achieving the core values and goal of social work in contributing to social equity and opportunity’ and that social work research should be ‘applied, community based and interactive.’ The universality of the need for collaborative efforts is indeed true for the region but the practice of it may need to be contextualized in the light of the ever changing contexts of the research environment. The historical grounding of the development of social work and its present metamorphosis in different parts of East and South East Asia may

Practice, education and research  51 influence how its professional values and commitments to social equity may be the first challenge for social work research. For example, questions such as how the research findings are to be used, by whom and for what purpose in a particular society will influence research funding and the openness of academics and practitioners to research on particular topics and social issues. In addition, within academia, the relentless pursuit of key performance indicators (KPIs) for tenure and promotion will inevitably pose a challenge for all academic researchers because corporate style management and its attendant culture of competitive individualism is increasingly prevalent as the mode of governance used in universities around the world. At a time where neoliberalism has all but succeeded in becoming the master discourse that defines the workings of all social, political, cultural and economic institutions, it is at the hands of “management” that the vision of market-driven research and education will be realized. (Rhodes, 2017: 19) Williams (2017: 131, 132), wrote that ‘As an applied science, social work is committed not merely to rigorous scholarship, but to research that makes a difference … to address major social issues and practice challenges …’ If universities in the region inevitably, under the global neoliberal trend, were to transform into quasi-corporations in the pursuit of funding and growth, what would the impact be on social work research when research is primarily to find social and not economic solutions? The case of mainland China oversight of the University of Hong Kong illustrates a further direction from which social work research that ventures onto critical territory may encounter governmental constraints. Social work education, research and practice are inevitably connected in the co-­ construction of its professional identity and its recognition in the sphere of influence in the process of nation-building. Would social work research and the need to meet utilitarian KPIs prove to be a dilemma for collaborative efforts between academic researchers and practitioners? There seems to be no set universal structure for achieving this academia-practitioner collaboration across all countries. In Singapore, the Mrs. Lee Choon Guan Research Fund is an example of collaboration between philanthropy, practitioners and academic researchers in practice research that does not appear to be directly associated with economic gains. Perhaps the next challenge in terms of equity and holistic practice research is the inclusion of the service users in the research process, other than as a participants/interviewees providing data for analysis.

Conclusion The social work profession in each country is in the process of negotiating its way towards collaborative efforts in all three aspects of professionalization (practice, education and research). This chapter has attempted to understand

52  Rosaleen Ow the development of social work as a profession as a process of metamorphoses influenced by the environment in which the profession is situated. The political environment in particular is significant because the nature of the political regime of a country and its governance largely influence the social and economic responses the country makes to forces trending in the wider regional and global context. Social issues related to individual and community well-­being are likely to arise as a result of changes in different eras of a nation’s history and the metamorphosis of social work as a profession will arise in response to addressing such social needs. However, the process of metamorphosis of social work as a profession is not just being influenced by the wider environment but in its own ways the profession is also influencing the wider environment through professional education, social work practice and research. As such, the co-construction of social work can be viewed as on-going partnership (in varied forms) between the state, the profession, the service users and social work academia, perhaps to be negotiated and renegotiated as times and regimes change.

Taking it further 1 Given the contextualized nature of social work practice, it may be useful to consider the emerging issues of indigenization, authentication and cross-cultural practice (not just ethnic but across all forms of differences e.g. gender, disabilities, socio-economic divides). Recognition of context in social work services, practice, research and education in the region are discussed in a number of publications. For example: a


Noble, C., Henrickson, M. and Han, I.Y. (eds) 2013. Social work education: Voices from the Asia Pacific. Sydney: Sydney University Press. (2nd edition). Ling, H.K., Martin, J. and Ow, R. 2014. Cross-Cultural Social Work: Local and Global. South Yarra, Melbourne: Palgrave Macmillan.

2 Research and knowledge development are significant contributors to the development and growth of the social work profession. How would potential changes in focus in university education, from being the seat of knowledge for professional development to the cultivation of self and pursuit of knowledge to the current neo-liberal pursuits in academic research in general, influence social work education and practice? How does one find the balance between science as mere knowledge and science for practice through research? Here are some suggested readings for further thoughts (similar titles but very different content): a b

Shaw, I. 2016a. Social work science. New York: Columbia University Press. Kirk, S.A. and Reid, W.J. 2002. Science and social work: a critical appraisal. New York: Columbia University Press.

Practice, education and research  53 3 Social work education and its future direction may differ from country to country as it is being influenced by existing political regimes and the social and economic climate. Is there room for ‘international social work’ in the wake of the tension between ‘indigenization’ and ‘authentication’? A useful text to refer to for further thought on what is global, what is international, what is cross-nation, what is cross-cultural and what is social work in context includes: a b

Lyons, K. and Hokenstad, T. (eds). 2012. The SAGE handbook of international social work. Thousand Oaks, California; London: SAGE. Hugman, R. 2013. Culture, values and ethics in social work: embracing diversity. New York: Routledge.

3 Professional practices in national contexts Ian Shaw

We aim throughout this book to explore the development of social work programs within higher education in Southeast Asia and East Asia as displays of programs and regimes in state and nation. Our focus has been historical and contemporary, in endeavoring to understand how social work finds its present place in developmental, cultural, social, economic, political, geographical and educational contexts. Our attention has been further focused by the question of whether across the nations of Southeast and East Asia it is possible or important to speak of something approaching an ‘Asian’ understanding of the nature, scope and development of welfare in general and social work in particular. In venturing to do so we were conscious from the outset that the terrain may not prove either obvious or easy. In eliciting the strands from the contributions of the following chapters, we consider five questions which may act as both inferences and ongoing agenda. First, should social work be seen as part of a modernizing agenda? Second, how far has research contributed to the field in terms of the three questions we set at the opening – research in, theorizing from and knowledge for Asia? Third, as illustrative instances of cultural and social regimes and programs, we ask about the significance of patterns and developments regarding migration, family and citizenship – themes of central significance for social work. Fourth, we ask what we may conclude regarding social work education. Finally, we return to the question of whether and how it is possible to speak of an Asian model of social work education and practice.

Modernization Globalization raises, as we noted in passing in the Introduction, questions about modernity and modernization. Scanning national policies, one is struck by the frequency with which modernization has become an enduring agenda, especially of postcolonial governments. References to modernization, usually as a government program, appear in the subsequent chapters about Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Indonesia. As a government agenda it seems largely unquestioned. Indonesian governments have had a modernization program, perhaps unchanged, stemming from Suharto’s years. Yet the Indonesia chapter is one place where it is presented as being problematic, when Adi Fahrudin laments that ‘with modernization, mainly due to the cry for control, domination, power

National contexts  55 and group interest, we have been divided in society by class, clan, creed, caste etc., which resulted in much human suffering.’ Poverty and apparent increase in inequality are major issues, and Indonesia still spends considerably less on social assistance compared to other countries at a similar level of development. Social assistance spending in Indonesia is limited to 0.7% of GDP, which is less than a half of the average for lower middle-income countries (1.5% of GDP).45 Mainstream social theorists have ‘analysed modern society by contrasting it with archaic or feudal societies and come to the conclusion that modern society should be understood as a unit of differences rather than of commonalities’ (Schirmer and Michailakis, 2016) in terms that echo Tönnies’ long ago distinction between gemeinschaft and gesellschaft.46 To sidestep the interminable discussions of the meaning of ‘modernity,’ Giddens describes it as in part historical period and in part a set of attitudes, and as … a shorthand term for modern society, or industrial civilization. Portrayed in more detail, it is associated with (1) a certain set of attitudes towards the world, the idea of the world as open to transformation by human intervention; (2) a complex of economic institutions, especially industrial production and a market economy; (3) a certain range of political institutions, including the nation-state and mass democracy. Largely as a result of these characteristics, modernity is vastly more dynamic than any previous type of social order. It is a society—more technically, a complex of institutions— which, unlike any preceding culture, lives in the future, rather than the past. (Giddens and Pierson, 1998: 94) There is an air of almost desolation in much Western analysis. Schirmer and Michailakis (2016) go on to say that people, ‘know hardly anything about most of the colleagues, students, clients, customers or patients they deal with on a daily basis other than what is relevant to the functionally specific task at hand.’ Furthermore, social inclusion is tied more often than not to personal achievement rather than to inclusion by birth. For Bauman, speaking of modern urban life, a city is ‘a human settlement where strangers are likely to meet.’ In such an encounter there is ‘no shared recollection: nothing to fall back on or to go by in the course of the present encounter’ (Bauman, 2000: 95). Human encounters typically are events without a past and often without a future. It follows that urban living requires ‘a rather special and quite sophisticated type of skill’ around ‘civility.’47 Modern urban dwellers are wearing a mask which is essential to such civility. Quoting Sennett, he asserts ‘civility has as its aim the shielding of others from being burdened with oneself’ (p. 95). Bauman’s lament is that efforts to keep the stranger, the ‘other,’ the different, the foreign, at a distance – to preclude the need for communication, negotiation, mutual commitment – are ‘the expectable response to the existential uncertainty rooted in the new fragility or fluidity of social bonds’ (p. 108). ‘“Don’t talk to strangers” – once a warning given by worrying parents to their hapless children – has now become the strategic precept of adult normalcy’ (p. 109). Strangers are those with whom one refuses to talk.

56  Ian Shaw Schirmer and Michailakis apply one form of this argument to the transformation of the family system,48 arguing that to the extent that the importance and influence of the collectivity as a whole decrease, the ties between individuals and their families become less strict. This yields more freedom but also more responsibility, less control but also less caring. ‘The decline of the extended family goes hand in hand with the decline of the seniority principle, a severe loss of status.’ ‘Older people are no longer seen as the centre of power, wisdom and experience; they are instead considered potential problems that need to be taken care of.’ ‘As a result, inclusion of older people in their families is no longer a matter of course but rather a fragile matter that evokes feelings of duty and bad conscience.’ So, ‘loneliness is not only an issue for older people without family but also for those who have a family but whose contacts are weak’ (Schirmer and Michailakis, 2016). Given this largely is a European view of things, what are we to make of this in the context of Southeast and East Asia? Slater remarks that (d)emocratisation scholars hate modernisation theory as much as anybody. From a modernisation perspective, so-called ‘developing countries’ are on some sort of uniform track toward a liberal and democratic future, as if some imagined unity called “the West” had already laid it down for them. This notion has long been discredited and is even considered offensive in most academic circles. As countries like China, Malaysia and Singapore have gotten rich while remaining authoritarian, the contrary perspective only seems to become more obviously correct: that there are multiple pathways to the modern world, many of them illiberal and undemocratic.49 What may we conclude from the foregoing for social work? It poses a question of the role of social work as nation building – a notion that occurs from time to time in the succeeding chapters. It is most to the fore in contexts such as when Sam Yu and Ruby Chau say of Hong Kong (in Chapter 4) that there is a ‘subordination of social policy to economic policy, and strong government,’ and in Chong and Ng’s epigraph quotation (Chapter 6) regarding Singapore from one of us that social work ‘cannot be divorced from the reality of community building and social, economic, political and cultural development in the nation building process.’ It also is implicit in allusions made regarding South Korea and by Yeun-wen Ku regarding Taiwan, and more so in the analysis of governmentality in the chapter on China. The tone and agenda of this book are in some ways Weberian, especially in the underlying question of different types of rule.50 His recent biographer suggests that ‘Weber’s originality is his differentiation of forms of rule by their type of legitimacy, rather than by their institutions and instruments’ (Radkau, 2009: 422) and hence a variety of forms of rule can be envisaged from one state to another and more so within each state. Hence, the discourses of nation building are exactly about how forms of rule are legitimized. But, apart from Ow’s discussion in Chapter 2, nation-building has not been placed center-stage in an explicit way by any of the writers. This is partly a matter of language. We have said enough

National contexts  57 in these few lines to illustrate the different ways in which the issue may be discussed. It can be illustrated further by just one quotation when Lee Kuan Yew – regarded as the architect of the case for Asian values in state welfare – remarked regarding Singapore that ‘Confucianism helped in two ways: it instilled, one, a willingness to place the needs of the nation or the society above oneself and, two, the habit of seeking a consensus’ (c.f. Barr, 2000). But it also suggests that social work scholars have done little to examine or disentangle this multi-faceted and rhetorically diverse notion,51 and hence to explicate ways in which it relates to national regimes or may have positive (for example, Malaysia’s rural poverty-­ reduction role for social work) or negative consequences for social workers. A further inference that may be drawn regarding modernization as a state agenda in much of Southeast and East Asia is that pleas that detect and advocate a positive association between the development of social work and the strength of democracy may be wrong-headed. This is, however, an area where debate continues and it is possible within the pages of this book to detect the contrary position. Anthony Reid suggests persuasively that we need to reflect on ‘modernity’ and ask how it is different in Southeast Asia compared with elsewhere. He argues, for example, that ‘We remain strangely trapped in a mind-set that sees Asian women held back by their “traditional” cultures from full participation in modern aspirations for equality.’52 We outlined in Chapter 1 O’Neill’s exploration of her question, ‘Why are contemporary urban Chinese daughters still willing to undertake traditional parent caregiving activities considering their self-sufficient, modern lifestyles and attitudes and what are their coping strategies for accommodating the tension and conflict involved with discharging filial obligation?’ (O’Neill, 2018: 3). Indeed, as Giddens lamented some years ago, ‘There are endless discussions of … what it means to be modern, but few indeed about tradition.’ ‘The idea of tradition … is itself a creation of modernity (Giddens, 2002 38).’ As Geertz remarked, speaking of a traditional mode of community problem solving in Indonesia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia (that surfaces helpfully in Fahrudin’s chapter), ‘like many other things supposed to go away – mullahs, caste, and the Emperor of Japan – now that modernity has at last arrived, it has, somehow, an odd tenacity’ (Geertz, 1983: 214).

Research The question of the degree to which research scholarship within social work education has yielded research in, theorizing from and knowledge for Asia has proved perhaps the most demanding brief for editors and contributors to meet. The research-related questions around which the book crystalizes are ones that for social work at least have been thought through but slightly. The chapters begin the task. But there is still much to do. The cluster of questions regarding research stands well for that ‘much to do.’ The direction of gaze in the West still appears to by-pass Asia. A four-volume work of how a 14-country panel rated the best social work research papers resulted in a collection of over 60 papers where

58  Ian Shaw Southeast and East Asia were more or less absent (Shaw et al., 2016). However, developments in the field of practice research sketched in Chapter 2 by Ow do indicate an Asia-movement in focus of interest in one area. It was not part of our intention to undertake a country-by-country review of social work research, but rather to consider in these broader terms the role and contribution of research as part of the overall brief we set ourselves for the book. It is plausible to suggest that research in countries that regard themselves as in the early years of social work’s development (or re-development) may foster a more pragmatically-oriented agenda. Leung, Luk and Xiang, for example, suggest that ‘As social work was recognized as legitimate for tackling the host of social problems in socialist China, social work research in the Chinese context has largely been focused on practice issues.’ A similar factor may be at play in Taiwan, from Ku’s report of a survey of social work dissertations marked by ‘an indigenization of social work in Taiwan that focused on serving and meeting community needs in the national context.’ The preoccupation with national service-level matters continues to be seen in some Taiwanese research (e.g. Mei-Kuei Yu and Min-Yu Liao, forthcoming). Fahrudin observes a comparable feature of social work research in Indonesia, saying that ‘research is still limited to describing social problems.’ In terms of the three guide-questions regarding research, most research in the countries under review has been research in, more than theorizing from or knowledge for Asia. In some countries even ‘in-country’ research is limited. As Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan illustratively remark, ‘research undertaken about Vietnam in this field is still a relatively small body of work.’ Social work research in these countries faces inequality of opportunity from a different quarter. The majority of the social work (broadly defined) journals – all the 43, for example, that appear in the Clarivate Analytics Master Journal List – are English language journals.53 Those countries in the scope of this book where the language of the university world is English are placed at an advantage and others at a disadvantage. Looking ahead, reflections on the chapters suggests the potential relevance for the development of such research in Southeast and East Asia of three general points. We would stress the value, and relative absence in social work hitherto, of: 1 what Warren has called ‘research from below’ or a ‘people’s history’ (e.g. Warren, 2003). 2 historical research to understand social work that, in addition to its general value, informs social work with the characteristic patterns of social and political change. 3 the integration of research with appropriate welfare theorizing. Social work needs research from below – what the late British scholar and community activist Bob Holman called ‘research from the underside’ (Holman, 1987). This has two applications. First, it refers to the case for research that is grounded in the sense we expressed in Chapter 1. We referred to existing research by Hoffman, O’Neill, Roche and Seng that has done so. Second, it alludes

National contexts  59 to the need to hear those who by and large are powerless, ordinary and  – in historical terms – whose lives have not been inscribed on the record of society. Holman, addressing a conference, remarked on ‘Researchers whose studies have done something to improve services for the socially deprived,’ adding ‘(m)ay such efforts continue.’ He went on ‘(b)ut valuable as it is, it is largely research about, on or for the poor, not by or with the poor’ (Holman, 1987: 669). The case for a particular emphasis on ‘grounded’ research in Southeast and East Asia may be developed from two further studies. First, an originally conceived account of housing relocation and settlement in Singapore consists of a sequence of linked sets each comprising an interview with a resident, a reflection from a volunteer associated with a community action settlement team and an academic essay (Ng Kok Hoe and Cassia Resettlement Team, 2019). The light it sheds on the disruptive impact of government-prescribed relocation of a rental housing neighborhood to a block fifteen minutes’ walk from the original but six decades away in time is striking. As with the modernizing momentum of housing policy that in post-war Singapore resettled into newly built rental flats kampong dwellers – regarded as ‘unsanitary, unsafe, illegal, disorderly and on the whole a barrier to the colony’s progress’ – so ‘just a few decades on, public rental housing now finds itself in a similar position to the kampongs of the 1950s, its persistence problematized and seen as a disruption to the vision of a home-owning nation’ (Ng Kok Ho, et al 2019: 10). This is a book that ‘delves deeply … into the very local in order to find universal meaning and value,’ and where a small estate is ‘not the perimeter, but an aperture: a space through which the world could be seen.’54 The case for such research gains additional cogency from a study that relied on interviews in a survey style, that compared the views about disability of older people in the US and Singapore (Verbrugge et al., 2005). In mainstream surveys ‘questions about disability may be interpreted in unexpected ways by Asian samples, compared to Western ones’ (Verbrugge et al., 2005: 3). ‘We find that older persons’ views in the two cultural settings differ a great deal’ (p. 1). For example, ‘Singaporeans cannot extricate themselves from personal help, due to co-residence with children. They accept and appreciate help, but wish they had more privacy and control.’ ‘In sum, older Singaporeans live in a culture of interdependence, while older Americans live in a culture of individual independence (p. 24). Yet they are not wholly different and certainly the contrast does not fit stereotypical images. ‘Definitions of independence are similar for both countries, and definitions of dependence are diverse within each country’ (p. 24). They conclude that Singaporeans come to terms with the cultural imperative of co-residence with their children and daily help from them. They appreciate the instrumental and emotional benefits, but worry about being a burden, and yearn for more personal freedom. Americans in assisted living residence insist on that freedom. They rely very little on their children for help, preferring professional staff when necessary. By maintaining their own abode, they keep a distinct boundary between private life and needed services. (pp. 26f)

60  Ian Shaw The case for grounded research follows from two inferences drawn by the authors. First, although the Singapore government at the time was putting forward a view of disability similar to the US and to parts of Western Europe, it had not penetrated the perspectives of elderly Singaporeans. Second, they argue, albeit out of a survey mind-set, ‘open-ended questions and small-scale studies are a necessary adjunct, not for “cultural flavour”, but to permit veridical profiles and interpretations’ (p. 27).55 Issues central to face-to-face social work may be illuminated by such work in adjacent fields. Warren’s work on people’s histories covered the period of colonialism and transition to Singapore independence – of rickshaw coolies and prostitutes. Yeoh’s work on urban space in Singapore (Yeoh, 2003) explores how ordinary people contested urban space over issues of sanitation, housing, street names, control over pedestrian ‘five-foot-ways,’ and sacred spaces such as burial grounds. The value of this was expressed almost 100 years ago by the Chicago sociologist Ernest Burgess, when pleading ‘How invaluable for case work and, I am frank to admit, for sociological research, would be the case records entirely in the first person’ (Burgess, 1927: 193). Referring to – and quoting from – the English housing reformer, Octavia Hill, he drew the chastened conclusion that (e)xisting case records seldom, or never, picture people in the language of Octavia Hill, with their “passions, hopes, and history” or their “temptations”, or “the little scheme they have made of their lives, or would make if they had encouragement.” The characters in case records do not move, and act, and have their being as persons. They are depersonalized, they become Robots, or mere cases undifferentiated except by the recurring problems they present. (Burgess, 1928: 526–527) He explained this by reiterating that the ‘characters … do not speak for themselves. They obtain a hearing only in the translation provided by the language of the social worker’ (Burgess, 1928: 527). Such accounts may show how people are able to make the unbearable bearable.56 This glimpse of a forgotten, because uncomfortable, kinship of early sociology and social work suggests the value of archival research. As with Warren’s work, it assumes the importance of kinds of records that may quite easily be lost or destroyed. The national archives in Singapore, for example, hold numerous interviews carried out in the 1990s as part of the ‘Women through the years: economic and family lives’ project. One value of these archival deposits is to enable social work students – and no doubt faculty members – to see something of cultural patterns and diversity within one country. To give but one example, Daisy Vaithilingam, speaking in the 1990s about her experience working in medical social work in Singapore in the 1950s, remarked the difference between Chinese and Indian families following a death of a child in hospital. Among the Indian families ‘the parents would come and cry and make a big thing.’ But Chinese parents, when a child died in hospital, often would not come to take the body. I thought this was a very (“cruel” is too harsh a word) unusual thing to do. Until it was explained to me that the Chinese couldn’t take to the house

National contexts  61 somebody who was younger than the parents. If it was an old person who died, they would take the body back … This was something I had to explain to my English colleagues who found it very, very unacceptable. So, it then made it clear to me, that you have to understand the different cultures. What do Chinese people do about this? What do the Indians do about this? What do the Malays do? You can’t just take your values and impose it on others.57 On the integration of research with welfare theorizing, two disparate observations may be drawn from the following chapters. First, the most sustained theorizing across the chapters has been from the work of Michel Foucault, suggesting the potential cross-fertilization of ideas from his strand of European social theory. Second, in methodological terms, research from below lends itself to inquiry that may appropriately theorize and include matters of globalization, modernity, government, cultural forms and their diversity, and the often distinctive social, community and individual challenges of those on the daily receiving end of social work.

The family, migration and citizenship One of the recurring themes through this book has been the importance and prevalence of migration. The contributors have explored some of the implications of this for social work, especially in the chapters regarding China, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia. In Indonesia, for example, professional certification for social work and indeed all professions falls under the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration. While population movements and questions of diversity have figured in social work elsewhere and especially in Europe as a consequence of major south to north population movements from the Middle East and Africa, it offers special insight to bring migration issues in Southeast and East Asia together in terms of changes in the nature and role of the family. In recent decades, for example, there has been a marked increase in cross-border marriages in East Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore. Explanations of pattern-shifts of this kind are complex (e.g. Williams, 2010). While the internet and social networking sites have enabled intimate relationships to develop over geographical distance, which may or may not result in migration or in partnerships being formed, migration patterns in Southeast and East Asia have a much longer and multifarious history. Marriage migration and the rise of cross-cultural/cross-national families raise questions about the nature and meaning of citizenship. Citizenship is not a fixed identity from one country to another or even within a given country but is shaped by state programs and regimes as well as ideologies of gender, race and class that are socially embedded, yet also negotiated on an everyday basis within public and private spheres. Citizenship is, so Allerton suggests, a practice rather than a status (Allerton, 2018). Female marriage migrants are a case in point, as their citizenship is shaped partly by ideas of familial obligation but also by patriarchal family patterns and

62  Ian Shaw collectivist programs within states in the region. If women are positioned as wives and dependents of their husbands, the family becomes a site where citizenship is mediated and even contested. Marriage migrants have an ambivalent position of being ‘outsiders’ both within the state to which they have moved and their families of origin and destination, and hence are at risk of being marginalized and invisible. The practice of social workers in much of Southeast and East Asia ought to be shaped by an approach to citizenship that has the family in the foreground and not only the individual. The social work relevance applies equally to the children of such marriages. The increasing prevalence and wide dispersion of children born of cross-­border marriages in Southeast and East Asia, while from one perspective matters primarily of demography, have profound implications for social work in almost every country represented in this book. Distinguishing concerns and characteristics are important. In China, with its strict single citizenship regime and policies relating to household registration (hukou) and nationality laws (guoji), children born across borders can be torn between conflicting cultural, moral and legal dimensions of citizenship, which are played out within the family (e.g. Grillot, 2015). In Malaysia, Allerton effectively displays in her research exploring experiences of exclusion, belonging and potential statelessness amongst the children of Indonesian and Filipino refugees and migrants in Sabah (East Malaysia), how children have almost no access to health care, social care or education, especially in cases where they have no identity documents (Allerton, 2018). They are, Allerton expresses it, ‘impossible’ children – legally impossible but socially real. Their non-citizenship is shaped by their family lives. In Japan Kudo has explored how the families of young Japanese Muslim women born to Japanese mothers and Pakistani fathers negotiate their citizenship. Haafu – the term referring to children of bi-national marriages – have to cope with conflicting identities between home and, for example, school (Kudo, 2017). Yet what they – children and mothers – have in common is equally important for social work in two aspects. First, they exemplify ways in which issues of family, citizenship and migration – typically kept apart – are inextricably intertwined for each of these population groups. Second, their precarious legal status as ‘category mistakes,’ or people with more than one identity that ought to be impossible (Allerton, 2018), means that to state constituted social work they are barely visible, almost not existing and hence marginalized in service provision. The challenge for social work education is transparent.

Social work education The description and analyses of social work education offered in the ensuing chapters indicates the importance of three rather different observations. First, governmental motives for initiating and developing social work agencies and social work education programs are likely to draw on political and social drivers quite loosely, if at all, related to welfare needs. Several chapters recall how social work programs were disbanded from universities with the advent of Communist

National contexts  63 regimes. However, the reasons for so doing may be less clear. Taken together three reasons are suggested during the book. First, that under the new regime the government claimed that there were no problems. Second, that such programs reflected capitalist presence and agenda. Third, and as a variant of the first, that such problems as did exist were the consequence of colonialism. Yu and Chau, in their account of Hong Kong, make a point that can be applied to several of the countries present in this book when they say, ‘It was not unusual that the expansion of social welfare in Hong Kong was closely related to the colonial government’s response to political conflicts.’ Speaking of 1950s Taiwan, Yeun-wen Ku notes that ‘the authoritarian regime enforced social work as a form of state control,’ such that ‘social work was never independent from the state in either colonial or postwar Taiwan.’ Similarly in Singapore, Chong and Ng say that the ‘shift towards an expansion of social welfare can be viewed as a political strategy of the post-war British welfare state to secure social order.’ Second, the influence of political and governmental programs can be seen, most visibly, in the shifting designation of social work and also in the path of upward accountability to one kind of government department or another. In Vietnam for instance, in 2004 the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training gave approval of social work training with a core curriculum, but more recently the Ministry of Labor Invalids and Social Affairs [MOLISA] has the role of the key government department. In Malaysia social work education came under the Ministry of Social Welfare until 1985 when the ministry was abolished and became a department within the Ministry of National Unity and Community Development. From 2004 the government agenda was signaled by the renaming of the ministry as the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. We noted above the upward accountability of professional recognition in Indonesia to a central ministry that includes migration in its remit. The almost tangible association of state interests and social work education is perhaps most explicit and sustained in Yuen-wen Ku’s account of Taiwan, though addressed also by Chong and Ng in their chapter on Singapore and is theorized in terms of governmentality in relation to China by Leung, Luk and Xiang. Third, an area where little appears to have been undertaken is in the field of developing indigenous pedagogic models. Not surprisingly in the light of this, we encountered no obvious attention to pedagogic research. Some universities initially transplanted the whole social work curriculum in both course materials and pedagogy from American Universities. The subsequent influences on social work curricula seem to have come from two directions. First, broader movements elsewhere in the world gained traction, at least for a period, in social work programs. Liberation theology, out of Latin America, is one such example, which advocated breaking down social hierarchies to form co-operative communities of faith. In social work in the Philippines – a largely Catholic country that perhaps lends itself to such influences – this was manifested ‘especially with regard to the concept of base communities’ (Veneracion, 2011: 398). Veneracion points out, in addition, how, in the Philippines, indigenization was seen as ‘an articulation of the demand for the profession to participate in or be engaged

64  Ian Shaw with social transformation’ (p. 398) and Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed ‘soon found itself into Filipino social work classrooms’ (p. 399). It is reasonable to see the process of development as having a paradox near its center, in that in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia the following chapters indicate how social work education has proceeded with processes of indigenization and internationalization in parallel and even in proximity. Baba and colleagues remark of Malaysia how early models of intervention from the UK influenced Malaya, but ‘(t)hese, however, have long since given way to diverse forms of indigenous and authenticized paradigms of social and community welfare, whilst at times building on received ideas’ (Baba et al., 2011: 279, emphasis added). This paradox is perhaps most sharply illustrated in Leung, Luk and Xiang’s chapter on China. An especially valuable feature of their chapter is the rounded way they set out how western social work templates have been imported to serve the purposes of the state, thus helpfully complicating discourses about East and West in social work. As Fahrudin and colleagues remark regarding social work education in Indonesia, ‘The debate on western social work education and indigenization will continue for some time to come’ (Fahrudin et al., 2014: 63).

An Asian model? ‘Singapore plans to revive study of Confucianism.’ So ran a report in the New York Times in May 1982,1 noting the introduction of Confucian ethics in the Moral Education syllabus of Singapore schools as cultural ballast against what were perceived to be undesirable aspects of Western culture. And so we come full circle. ‘Model’ is a much-used term in social work, but its meanings are rarely explored. Sometimes it is regarded as a blueprint for action. It describes what happens in practice in a general way. Hence a behavioral model (based on learning theory) gives specific guidelines for how to effect change in accord with learning theory, e.g. by tackling reinforcement mechanisms. Sometimes ‘model’ is used in a different way, as almost interchangeable with ‘theory’ – or what may be called a ‘practice’ or ‘intervention’ theory. ‘Task-centered’ for example may be followed by ‘model,’ ‘theory’ – or even on occasion ‘approach.’ It does not seem that Asian models exist, or perhaps are even sought, in either of these senses of the word. But model may be used in a different sense, perhaps more like Weber’s much discussed notion of an ideal type. ‘Ideal,’ in Weber, does not mean ideal as norm, for he said one can have ideal types of brothels. ‘We do not mean anything exemplary’ as he said to a colleague, but it is about ‘thought constructs’ (quoted in Radkau, 2009: 258). It is not meant to refer to perfect things, or moral ideals, nor to statistical averages but rather to stress certain elements common to most cases of the given phenomenon. An ideal type is formed from characteristics and elements of the given phenomena, but it is not meant to correspond to all the characteristics of any one particular case. This is a more useful way of presenting the question, leading us to ask if there are certain elements common to much social work in Southeast and East Asia that are less apparent in the same conjunction in social work in Western Europe, North America and so on.

National contexts  65 This appears consistent with what seems to be claimed when people speak of ‘holistic’ social work approaches. The term needs care. Indeed, rather to our surprise, it is given no sustained discussion by the contributors to this volume. International social work attempts to define social work give the word prominence. The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), for example, in its Global Definition of Social Work, lists one of several ‘core mandates’ as social development, saying that ‘It is based on holistic biopsychosocial, spiritual assessments and interventions that transcend the micro-macro divide, incorporating multiple system levels and inter-sectorial and inter-professional collaboration, aimed at sustainable development.’58 The expansion of the definition subsequently seems to understand ‘holistic’ as entailing ‘incorporating into a coherent whole the micro-macro, personal-political dimension of intervention.’ The IFSW allows that the ‘holistic focus of social work is universal, but the priorities of social work practice will vary from one country to the next, and from time to time depending on historical, cultural, political and socio-economic conditions.’ However, they insist that “Amplifications on national and/or regional levels shall not interfere with the meaning of the elements of the definition and with the spirit of the whole definition” (italics original). Hence, any national or regional interpretations must not change the meaning of the ‘elements’ or conflict with the ‘spirit’ of the definition.59 Constituents of this language may surface in national, government-led statements when, as Chong and Ng note, the Singapore government introduced a ‘Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual (BPSS) assessment framework.’ Scanning the literature, however, the term sometimes means little more than ‘taking everything into consideration in an integrated way,’ as when the World Bank urges that (t)he migration strategy should … consider all types of migration, including nonemployment channels such as students, tourists, and noncitizen family members. These different streams affect each other, and should be evaluated holistically when considering how to use migration to fill shortages. (Testaverde et al., 2017: 272) This carries over to social work as when we read ‘Holistic social work is striving to get the broadest possible understanding of the client’s situation and what is creating the problems. The work is then directed towards preventing and redressing these problems’ (Hutchinson and Oltedal, 2014: 6). The term means much the same on occasion when it is employed by social workers in Asia. Lim Yan Ming quotes Nadhirah, a medical social worker in Singapore, saying, ‘(t)here is no hard and fast rule for approving cases. We make our assessments holistically… [Medical social workers] must understand the illnesses that patients face, how it affects their family, and assess the kind of pain they are experiencing’ (Lim Yan Ming, 2014: 18). The ‘holistic’ idea, as deployed in a special sense in social work, means, as White and Goodman expressed the key distinction, that ‘all east Asian cultures think holistically rather than analytically’ (White and Goodman, 1998: 9). The general sense of this distinction is that analytic thinking involves understanding a system

66  Ian Shaw by thinking about its parts and how they work together to produce larger-scale effects. Holistic thinking involves understanding a system by sensing its large-scale patterns and reacting to them.60 This may be what Shek had in mind when saying ‘Social work students’ exposure to humanistic approaches such as General Education and vocational subjects is helpful to the holistic development of social work students’ (Shek, 2017: 3), though it is difficult to be sure.61 When it is mentioned by writers from the Global North as something to be valued, it may be a further instance of the positive Orientalism that marks some western social work.62 The reality is less straightforward and may be less sanguine. Less straightforward because in Chinese culture the emphasis on proceeding from the whole to the part – central to holistic thinking – can be placed in conjunction with a widely respected Confucian precept to ‘improve upon yourself first, then manage your family, then govern your state; that is the only way to bring justice and virtue to the world’ (修身, 齐家, 治国, 平天下). Bringing the two into ­conjunction – both macro to micro and micro to macro – may, indeed, be a helpful way of integrating a vision for social work. But the reality is less sanguine, because Ho and colleagues concluded that, ‘although we work in post-colonial societies struggling to maintain some elements of ‘Chineseness’ and local culture, we can find few examples of research methods that have developed from the de-colonisation and de-imperialisation agendas’ (Ho et al., 2018: 475). Referring to examples of their own work where they endeavored to adopt the concept of body-mind-spirit to make sense of the holistic health of patients and to develop a familial community of practice with domestic violence survivors to support the democratic transformation of family practices, they considered that ‘these efforts have not yet led to the translation of cultural, social and spiritual concerns into methodological approaches’ (p. 475).63 The mention of ‘post-colonial’ connects with a further inference we may suggest from the contributions to this book. The colonial heritage is complex. This is partly for a reason we suggested in the Introduction, that the region has experienced a range of different colonizing powers in each of which social work means something rather different. The chapter on Taiwan illustrates this in an interesting way. Japan was for a period the colonial power and the introduction of social welfare services was through their direct initiative. But in addition, there were important indirect influences. British precedents exercised a clearly identifiable indirect influence through the importing of the London Charity Organization Society model, as did the US – albeit not in that context a colonial power – through the emulation of the Hull-House settlement in Chicago and of course more extensively and profoundly from the 1950s. Vietnam yields a further instance of colonial complexity in its relations with French and American influences. Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan conclude ‘it could be said that the colonialism of pre-1975 social work has been replaced by neo-colonialism, in which theories and practices of social work have effectively continued to be imported from other places.’64 This perhaps explains in part the recurring stress through the following chapters on the problematic identity of ‘social work.’ Asano and Tokoro write about Japan as the country in which, maybe more than any other

National contexts  67 in this book, social work has been shaped deeply and often intentionally by social work from the West, especially the USA. Yet it is in this chapter that the nuances of the uncertain identity of social workers are most fully laid bare. The question as to Asian social work may also be expressed in wider terms as to welfare systems. This brings us to the question of Asian values, discussed vigorously over two decades from the early 1980s and with continuing life.65 ‘This refers to the position, set out most famously by Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore, who referred to the attribution of a set of cultural values to East and Southeast Asian societies by Western social scientists in order to contrast the recent dynamic progress of Asian development with the stagnation and social disorganisation of contemporary Western economies and societies. The contrast provided legitimation for some of the nation-building policies of political leaders in such countries as Singapore and was incorporated in attempts to identify and institutionalise core values. (Hill, 2000: 177) ‘The prime tactical premise of the “Asian values” argument is one of cultural relativism: that many of the hegemonic political, social and cultural norms of the late 20th century are western, rather than universal, norms’ (Barr, 2000: 310). It allows China, for example, to make strong claims of state sovereignty. ‘Cultural relativism therefore acts as a cover for cultural and political assertion, which is the heart of the “Asian values” argument’ (p. 310f). ‘(P)roponents of “Asian values” argue for a paternalistic, illiberal state, which is presumed to be strong and stable’ (p. 312). One sense of illiberal was seen when Lee Kuan Yew told a meeting of university students in June 1966: I think one of the facts of life is that no two things are ever equal either in smallness or in bigness. Living things are never equal. Even in the case of identical twins, one comes out before the other and takes precedence over the other! So it is with human beings; so it is with tribes and so it is with nations. (Quoted in Barr, 2000: 323) But as we have suggested earlier in the book, ‘It is misleading to think of one homogenous over-arching “East Asian Welfare Model” common to Japan, T ­ aiwan, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong’ (White and Goodman, 1998: 5). Rather, as we have implied, and as the core chapters illustrate, (w)idely varying political tendencies have constructed competing models of East Asian realities in the service of their own ideological and practical needs. A bewildering array of positive images became projected on to East Asia that have told us as much about those doing the projecting as about the societies themselves. (p. 3)66

68  Ian Shaw As Geertz, with characteristic illumination, remarked ‘in the mysterious East as in the pellucid West, constitutions, however detailed, are no better than the institutions they are written into’ (Geertz, 1983: 204). None of this should be taken to mean that social work education and practice in Southeast and East Asia lacks distinctiveness in several indelibly important ways – the patterns of population movement; the characteristic if uncomfortable blend of fragile democracies, authoritarian states, state socialism and liberal democracy; the demographic challenges of ageing and fertility trends (East Asian countries now have the lowest fertility rates in the world);67 and the force of social change as it bears on traditional and shifting family patterns, citizenship and related matters. These offer profound and, in their interaction, deeply significant challenges and obligations to social work. ‘Some Asian critics of “Asian values” have been searching for a balanced approach to the debate that allows them to criticise authoritarianism without embracing what is seen as the West’s excess of individualism’ (Barr, 2000: 329). The social work community in parts of the world where in some respects it has been longer established will have much to learn from the ways social work education and practice in Southeast and East Asia engage with these challenges.

Taking it further This exercise could be undertaken towards the end of a social work program. It also could be used as a staff development exercise in either a social work agency or among social work faculty. It is intended to be followed when readers have an overall familiarity with the whole of this book, a reading of which will suggest that the social work challenges that have a distinctive form in Southeast and East Asia include: 1 2 3 4

migration and patterns of population movement. the demographic challenges of ageing fertility trends social change as it bears on traditional and shifting family patterns, especially for women and children. 5 citizenship and identity issues In groups, select two or three of these on a random basis. Share what you know about each of your two or three ‘challenges.’ Then consider to what degree you think social work in your country has been – and should be – influenced by each of these analyses.

Notes 1­revive-studyof-confucianism.html

Part I

Soft authoritarian governments

4 Hong Kong Ruling principles of the government and responses of social work education and practice Sam W.K. Yu and Ruby C.M. Chau Introduction The objective of this chapter is to discuss the responses of social work education and practices in Hong Kong to the government’s strategy for dealing with the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism. This strategy is marked by its emphasis on four ruling principles, namely low direct tax, budget surplus, subordination of social policy to economic policy and strong government. These principles, which are reinforced by fiscal policies, political reforms and government’s actions for tackling financial crises, set the limit on the development of social welfare. By fulfilling the objective of this chapter, we contribute to the analysis of the development of social work in Hong Kong, the welfare regime research and the discussion of how to promote social work in a context dominated by the pro-market ruling principles of the government. This chapter is organized into three major sections. The first highlights the debate on whether countries in the East and South East Asia can form the ‘fourth world of welfare capitalism.’ The second focuses on the strategy used by the Hong Kong government to handle the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism. In the third section, we discuss the responses of social work practices and social work education to this strategy.

Different views on the fourth world of welfare capitalism Since Esping-Andersen (1990) presented the ‘three worlds of welfare capitalism’ thesis, there has been an increase in the number of studies exploring the ‘fourth world of welfare capitalism’ (Chau and Yu, 2013; Holliday, 2000; Jones, 1993; Karim et al., 2010). Some of these studies focus on the examination of whether and how welfare organized in some East and South Asian countries (such as Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan) forms this world of welfare capitalism (Aspalter, 2006; Holliday, 2000; Jones, 1993; Karim et al., 2010; Yu et al., 2015). There is a lack of consensus on this issue as different studies have varying views on the similarities and differences in the welfare arrangements between the 18 OECD countries studied by Esping-Andersen (1990) and some countries in East and South East Asia (Chau and Yu, 2013; Jones, 1993; Kwon, 1998). The difference between the studies of the welfare arrangements in some

72  Sam W.K. Yu and Ruby C.M. Chau East and South East Asian countries to a certain extent reflects that these studies are influenced by two competing perspectives: the cultural and the political economy perspectives. The cultural perspective provides support to the view that some countries in East and South East Asia which share the same cultural root can form a distinctive welfare model. This perspective is represented by Jones’ study (1993), which stresses that countries sharing a Confucian root form a unique welfare regime. According to Jones, the Confucian welfare regime has these elements: (c)onservative corporatism without (Western-style) worker participation; subsidiarity without the Church; solidarity without equality; laissez faire without libertarianism; an alternative expression for all this might be ‘household economy’ welfare states – run in the style of a would-be traditional, Confucian, extended family. (Jones, 1993: 124) Jones’ view is reinforced by other research (Karim et al., 2010; Leung and Chan, 2012; Rieger and Leibfried, 2003). According to Karim et al. (2010), the ‘Confucian welfare state’ is characterized by low levels of government intervention, underdeveloped public service provision and fundamental importance of the family. Some studies of the welfare arrangements in East and South East Asia attach more importance to the political economy perspective than to the cultural perspective (Walker and Wong, 2004; Yu et al., 2015). These studies stress that the development of social welfare in East and South East Asia is highly influenced by the government’s mixed attitude to social welfare. On the one hand, some East and South Asian governments are wary of the negative impact of social welfare on capitalism, such as reducing incentives to invest and fostering dependency culture (Kim, 2008; Walker and Wong, 2005). On the other hand, they attempt to strengthen capital accumulation and secure social stability through the provision of social welfare (Chau and Yu, 2013; Yu et al., 2015). Despite the fact that some political leaders in East and South Asian countries identify themselves as upholders of Asian values and have worries about the negative effects of social welfare on these values (Walker and Wong, 2004), they devote considerable resources to the development of education, health care and social security measures (Chau and Yu, 2011; Kim, 2008). Therefore, while the significance of the cultural factors in shaping social welfare in some East and South Asian countries should not be overlooked, it is necessary to stress the similarities in the welfare arrangements between the East and South Asian countries and the 18 OECD countries studied by Esping-Andersen (1990) (Chau and Yu, 2013; Walker and Wong, 2005). Some welfare policies such as minimum wage and welfare to work measures for single parents are found in both Hong Kong and the UK (LegCo, 2008). The social insurance programs in Korea and Japan have drawn on the ideas of those in Germany (Yu, 2012). Analysts argue that East and South Asian countries and some of the 18 OECD countries studied by Esping-Andersen

Hong Kong  73 (1990) have similarities in their defamilisation patterns (Yu et  al., 2015). For instance, it was found that Hong Kong and the US had the same relative female labor participation rate of 14 for persons aged 15–64 in 2010; and Taiwan and Switzerland had the same relative female tertiary education attainment at four in 2007 (Yu et al., 2015). The following section discusses the responses of the colonial administration and its successor in Hong Kong to the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism. The discussion provides further support to the political economy perspective on social welfare development.

Case Example 4.1  Ethnocentric Bias in the comparative studies of social welfare Walker and Wong (2004) argue that the ethnocentric bias can be caused by over-emphasis on the differences between Western and non-Western societies in organizing social welfare. This argument is founded on their observation that many studies of classifications of welfare regimes are mainly drawn on the experiences of advanced capitalist parliamentary democracies which are members of the OECD. Examples of these studies include the work done by Esping-Andersen (1990) and Korpi (2000). These studies convey a message that welfare states are a capitalist-­democratic project. Such a message in turn justifies giving little attention to those societies without either one or both of the supposed core institutions – a capitalist economy and a Western parliamentary democracy. In relation to this point, Walker and Wong argue this: … the Western welfare state paradigm is an ethnocentric construction. Their (Countries’) exclusion is not based on the policy content or institutions of welfare in those countries, but on other institutional requirements that are not concerned with the welfare state per se but rather its cultural, economic and political context. (Walker and Wong, 2004: 118). To challenge the ethnocentric bias in the comparative studies of social welfare, it is necessary to provide case examples of significant similarities in the way welfare is organized in Western and non-Western countries. In this chapter, we show that the Hong Kong government, like other Western governments, takes an active role in responding to the contradictory relationship between capitalism and social welfare. The strategy it uses to serve this purpose to a certain extent affects social work practices. Discussion of the Hong Kong government’s responses to the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism provides support to the view of Walker and Wong (2004) on the ethnocentric bias in the comparative studies of social welfare.

74  Sam W.K. Yu and Ruby C.M. Chau

Hong Kong government’s responses to the contradiction Hong Kong was a British colony before 1997. The colonial government had long been regarded as a defender of capitalism (Chau and Yu, 1999). Its ruling philosophy was reflected in the positive non-intervention principle (Yu, 1996). The foundation of this principle was laid by two former Financial Secretaries, Cowperthwaite and Haddon-Cave. Both emphasized the market as the main mechanism for creating and allocating wealth: (i)t is still the better course to rely on the nineteenth century’s hidden hand than to thrust clumsy bureaucratic fingers into its sensitive mechanism. (Hong Kong Hansard, 1962: 133) The Government adheres to a philosophy of ‘positive non-interventionism’, that is to say, we take the view that it is futile and damaging to the growth rate of the economy for attempts to be made to frustrate the operation of market forces, particularly as it is so difficult to predict, let alone control, market forces applicable to an open economy. (Hong Kong Hansard, 1976–1977: 827–830) The colonial government implemented a number of policies with a focus on welfare residualism – for example, almost negligible public debt, free movement of capital, limited regulation of working conditions, reluctance to carry out rent control policies and emphasis on the primary role of the family in meeting individuals’ needs (Yu, 1996). Despite its stress on the positive non-intervention principle, the colonial government devoted considerable resources to the development of social services such as housing, education and health care. Half of the total population was living in public housing in the 1990s (Chau and Yu, 1999) and nine-year free, compulsory education was provided. Social welfare to a certain extent was regarded as an economic and political instrument. Patten (1995), the then governor, argued that spending money on people’s health, education and welfare as a kind of social equity investment would help an economy work better. It was not unusual that the expansion of social welfare in Hong Kong was closely related to the colonial government’s response to political conflicts. For instance, Hong Kong faced serious riots in 1966 and 1967 in which more than 40 people were killed (Youngson, 1982). In order to secure social stability, the colonial government expanded social welfare on an unprecedented scale (Jones, 1990). Because of these economic and political considerations, the colonial government adopted a flexible attitude to social welfare in the sense that it allowed social welfare to expand more than laissez faire ideals would allow. However, such flexibility was not without limit. It is evident that the colonial government attempted to prevent the development of social welfare challenging its ruling principles concerning low direct tax, budget surplus, the subordination of social policy to economic policy and strong government (Chau and Yu, 1999; Yu, 1996). Between 1949 and 1994, only six out of the 55 financial years showed a

Hong Kong  75 fiscal deficit (Chau and Yu, 2005). Direct taxes in Hong Kong include earning tax, profit tax and estate duty. Their rates were low. For example, the standard rate of tax on income and profits was 12.5 from 1951 to 1966 (Ho, 1979; Yu, 1996). According to Walker (1984), the economic hegemony in the provision of social welfare can be manifested in different forms – for example, economic goals are identified as national goals which are supposed to be superior to any other goals and social services are confined to artificially constructed ‘non-­economic areas’ and are restrained from challenging market relationships. Despite its commitment to the provision of social welfare, the colonial government could be considered a supporter of economic hegemony. It was wary of the negative impact of social welfare provision on the economy. When discussing the future development of social security in the 1960s, it stressed that the introduction of any further elements in a social security system would require very careful consideration of the potential effects on the economy (Hong Kong Government, 1965). There were several occasions in the 1960s and 1970s that the colonial government cut back social development when the economic future became uncertain. The Hong Kong polity was often termed an ‘administrative state’ because most of the important decisions in the political system were made by bureaucrats (Harris, 1978; Yu, 1996). When facing social conflicts, the colonial government did not hesitate to extend its control over the public (Chau and Yu, 2005). After the riots of 1966 and 1967, it tightened the law against public disorder. In 1979, a group of petitioners, including social workers and people living on boats squatting in the typhoon shelter, were arrested for launching petitions without permission and violating this tightened law (SOCO, 1982). In 1997, Hong Kong was reintegrated into China as a Special Administrative Region (SAR). Despite facing economic crises in the late 1990s, the Hong Kong economy had impressive performance over the following two decades. The GDP per capita (USD) was $25,413 in 1997. It increased to $64,794 in 2018 (International Monetary Fund, 2018). The GDP (USD) increased from $177.35 billion in 1997 to $360.32 billion in 2017 (International Monetary Fund, 2018). However, not all people in Hong Kong could share the fruit of economic growth. Hong Kong is far from an equal society. The Gini-coefficient increased from 0.518 in 1996 to 0.539 in 2016 (Hong Kong Economy, 2018a, 2018b). In 2016, more than 1.3 million people lived in poverty (Commission on Poverty, 2017). If the SAR government was determined to reduce social inequality, it would guarantee disadvantaged groups a socially acceptable standard of living through a comprehensive provision of social welfare. The public expenditure on social welfare as a percentage of GDP increased from 1.46% in 1996 to 2.75% in 2016 (Social Indicators of Hong Kong, 2018). However, the development of social welfare was not without limit. The SAR government has been as wary of the negative impact of social welfare on capitalism as the colonial administration. With the blessing of the Beijing government, it is keen to stress the political and financial limit to the development of social welfare. Hong Kong has been ruled under the Basic Law since the handover. Article 5 of the Basic Law stipulates that ‘The socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong

76  Sam W.K. Yu and Ruby C.M. Chau Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.’ Article 107 of the Basic Law stipulates that (t)he Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall follow the principle of keeping expenditure within the limits of revenues in drawing up its budget, and strive to achieve a fiscal balance, avoid deficits and keep the budget commensurate with the growth rate of its gross domestic product. The Basic Law also specifies that the SAR government should be executive-led – the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR has the power to lead the SAR government, sign the bills passed by the Legislative Council, decide on government policies and issue executive orders. The SAR government defends economic hegemony by encouraging the public to take part in the market. In 2014, the then Chief Executive C.Y. Leung introduced a poverty alleviation policy to encourage young people to become self-reliant through employment (Leung, 2014). Under this policy, low income working family allowance was given only to those who worked long hours. The SAR government also actively searched ways to encourage more women to participate in the formal employment market (HKSAR Government, 2014). The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, in her 2017 Policy Address pledged further efforts by the Hong Kong SAR government to unleash women’s working potential (Lam, 2017). It is increasingly difficult for the SAR government to defend its ruling principles. Hong Kong was hit by financial crises from time to time after the handover (Chau and Yu, 2005). In order to deal with these crises, the SAR government adjusted the direct tax rate. Despite its mildness, the adjustment made by the SAR government has given the public an impression that it is not always able to defend the low direct tax principle. Because of the ageing population and the shrinking labor force, government officials have expressed worries that the long-term economic growth will slow down gradually; and as a result, Hong Kong would face the risk of fiscal deficits (Commission on Poverty, 2015). Issues in relation to the ‘strong government’ have become one of the major sources of public discontents. Since 1984 when Hong Kong moved into the pre-­handover period, there have been voices saying that the government is ‘too strong.’ Quite a number of people have demanded a higher degree of democratization of the political system. This is due to anticipation that Hong Kong will have a series of political reforms including the election of the Chief Executive through universal suffrage, as stated in the Basic Law. However, the pace of the political reforms has not been fast enough to meet the demands of many political groups. Such demands have aggregated more and more support from the general public throughout the pre-handover period to the years after the handover. Various large-scale demonstrations have been launched to express public discontents since 1997 (BBC News, 2014; Reuters, 2018; South China Morning Post (SCMP), 2016a) – for example the protest march on July 1 every year (the anniversary of the handover) since 2003 has become an annual event for people in Hong Kong to express their grievances towards government policies; and there was an ‘occupying

Hong Kong  77 movement’ in 2014 in which demonstration continued day and night in the central business district for more than a month. There were different explanations of these social actions. Some attributed them to discontent over the quality of life among young people (Epoch Times, 2016, 2017); some saw the demonstrations as a result of the government’s reluctance to further democratize the political system (HKFP, 2016; SCMP, 2016b). The Hong Kong SAR government proposed the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill in February 2019. This bill was commonly received as resulting in blurring the demarcation between the legal systems in Hong Kong and mainland China, and dismantling the legal firewall between the two systems. The opposition to this commonly known as ‘extradition bill’ rocketed to an unprecedented level in the weeks from June onwards, some time after this chapter was first written. This extradition bill provides food for thought for observers of the reaction of social work practices to the government’s ruling principles. Some attribute the protests to the government’s failure to reduce social equality through economic and social policies. As with their reactions to other areas of discontent regarding the government’s ruling principles, social workers made, and may continue to make, diverse responses to issues raised by the extradition bill. Operating within the framework of government policies, some social workers provided counselling services to those people whose mental health is threatened by the disputes on the extradition bill issues. Some social workers challenged the government’s policy and advocated political reforms. Through actions such as strikes, protests and silent marches, social worker associations put forward demands for political reforms, investigation of excess police force being used, and for the government to be held responsible for the social divide caused by the extradition bill issues. Although Hong Kong is praised by international organizations as the champion of economic freedom (Miller and Kim, 2017), it is seen as a politically underdeveloped place by international standards. According to the Freedom House Index, Hong Kong scored ‘5’ for political right in 2018 on a scale of 1–7 where ‘1’ represents the highest level of freedom and ‘7’ symbolizes the lowest (­Freedom House, 2018). There are also concerns that the Hong Kong SAR government is not strong enough to defend the ‘one country two systems’ principle; and there are doubts that it can safeguard a high degree of autonomy as stipulated by the Basic Law Article 12. The view of the public on the future is from time to time dominated by worries that Hong Kong may one day lose its uniqueness and become no more and no less than one of the cities in China. It is not unusual that the public has expressed its disquiet over social issues, such as the increasing importance of Putonghua at the expense of Cantonese in the education system (HKFP, 2017; SCMP, 2014). The difficulties in accessing particular market goods (such as formula milk powder) or services such as private hospital services and quality education at kindergartens and primary schools are always hot talks of the town. Many people attribute these difficulties to an increase in the number of consumers from other cities of China coming to Hong Kong to consume goods and services (BBC

78  Sam W.K. Yu and Ruby C.M. Chau News, 2017; SCMP, 2013a, 2013b, 2016b, 2016c, 2018a). There are disputes about whether the government should play an active role in fostering younger generations’ national identity. There is a strong view that Hong Kong younger people should equip themselves to make contributions to their own country (Suen, 2011). There is an equally strong view that young people should live in a free environment so that they can develop a critical mind and enjoy the freedom to express their thoughts on important issues including the national identity (SCMP, 2018a, 2018b). Social work practices have the potential to contribute to resolving some of these issues, especially in identity building of young people and others. However, given a lack of consensus on whether young people should be guided to develop their national identity or how to uphold the ‘one country two systems’ principle, it is understandable that different social workers have different ideas on their role. It is believed that their different views on this issue are to a certain extent related to their different views on the boundary between the state and the civil society, and whether the civil society has the autonomy to develop its social order.

Social work education and practices In the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was a mass influx of Chinese refugees into Hong Kong. To meet their needs, international relief organizations employed staff members to provide some basic services. The colonial government also implemented some large-scale relief measures such as providing free meals at welfare centers and distributing staple food (such as rice) to people (She, 1978). To make a longer-term plan for solving the problems of the deprived groups, the social welfare office was established in 1947. At the request of the colonial government, social study courses (consisting of a one-year diploma course for graduates and a two-year certificate course for non-graduate students who met university matriculation requirements) were provided by the University of Hong Kong in the 1950s. The diploma course covered subjects such as ‘Principles and Methods of Social Work,’ ‘Elements of Social Structure’ and ‘Theory and Methods of Sociology’ (She, 1978). As the colonial government increased its financial commitment to the provision of social welfare, social work courses had a steady development. In the late 1950s, the Hong Kong Baptist College (now renamed as the Hong Kong Baptist University) and the Chung Chi College (the College is now a part of the Chinese University of Hong Kong) joined the University of Hong Kong in delivering similar diploma courses in social work (Chow, 2008). In 1974, the Institute of Social Work Training was set up to offer social work training at the certificate level. This institute later became the School of Social Work of the Hong Kong Polytechnic (now renamed as the Hong Kong Polytechnic University). Similar social work courses were provided by the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong (now renamed as the City University of Hong Kong) in the 1980s. In 1979, the colonial government carried out a ‘welfare class review’ examining the tasks carried out by professional staff and salary structure (Lai and Chan, 2009). Social work positions in both government and NGOs were standardized under the titles of ‘assistant social work officer’ and ‘social

Hong Kong  79 work assistant.’ Holders of a bachelor or higher degree could apply for the posts of assistant social work officer and holders of a diploma or equivalent could apply for the posts of social work assistant (Yuen and Ho, 2007). Thus, a career in social work has become increasingly associated with social work qualifications. If a person wants to develop a career in the social work field, he or she needs a social work qualification gained at a post-secondary education institute. Social work practices, coupled with a steady expansion of social work education, have been diversifying. While social work practitioners need a wider range of social work knowledge to respond to diverse needs, new concepts taught in higher education institutions stimulate social work practitioners to develop new social work approaches. Before the 1970s, social work in Hong Kong was dominated by the delivery of basic goods and casework approaches (Chow, 2008). Moving into the 1970s, more organizations delivered the consensus-building community work and group work. However, some organizations, such as the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee and the Hong Kong Society for Community Organization, used the confrontational approach to support deprived groups to fight for their welfare rights (Chow, 2008; SOCO, 1982). Their work not only emphasized the right of the poor and workers to welfare, but also drew attention to the problems created by the government policies in favor of capitalism. The beginning of the 1980s saw the introduction of elections for seats on District Boards and the Legislative Council. This change linked politics and social work together. In the 1981 District Board election, about 20% of the candidates had social work backgrounds. In the 1991 Legislative Council election, the profession that had the highest number of elected members was social work (Chow, 2008). In order to create a more favorable condition for building social consensus, the government co-opted some social workers into the government. For example, Hui, Y.F., a legislator elected from the social welfare functional constituency, was appointed as a member of the Executive Council (Singdao Daily News, 2016). However, some social workers used their positions in the political system to challenge the government’s financial and social policies. Acting on recommendations from a consultancy company, the government adopted a block grant mechanism for allocating resources to NGOs in 2001. Under this mechanism, it provides each NGO with a lump sum grant based on the principle of cost neutrality so that previous funding levels will not be exceeded (Lai and Chan, 2009). This ‘lump sum grant’ practice gives NGOs the flexibility of setting their own salary levels and staffing ratios. To keep the cost down, many NGOs introduce new job titles, employ temporary staff to replace senior staff, reduce salaries and assess staff performance in terms of their ability to explore new sources of finances (Legislative Council Secretariat, 2009). The increase in job insecurity makes it more difficult for social workers to carry out social work approaches that may challenge the government or the funding bodies, even if their approaches could bring benefits to service users. With the focus on the four modernizations, the Beijing government has shown its willingness to borrow ideas from the outside world to promote social

80  Sam W.K. Yu and Ruby C.M. Chau and economic development since 1979 (Yao, 1995). Against this backdrop, there have been increasing contacts between welfare agencies in Hong Kong and those in mainland China (Chow, 2008) since the 1980s. Many social workers and educators in Hong Kong play an important role in introducing Western social work concepts, helping people in mainland China establish welfare agencies and providing training for them (Chui, 2014). Communication between social workers and welfare agencies in Hong Kong and in mainland China is two-way traffic. While promoting Western social work concepts in mainland China, social workers in Hong Kong are subject to the influences of the officials in mainland China on their ways of interpreting welfare and public interests. A brief review of the issues that have affected the development of social work and of the ways in which social workers have responded to these issues suggest that members of the social work profession have diverse responses to the strategy used by the SAR government to deal with the contradictory relationship between welfare and capitalism: 1 Operating within the framework of government policies. Some social workers assist service users to tackle problems by concentrating on individual changes without directly questioning any policies formulated by the government. 2 Reinforcing the subordination of social policy to economic policy. Some social work agencies support, implicitly or explicitly, neoliberal ideas by commercializing their services. By doing so, they stress users’ demands at the expense of their needs and provide services based increasingly on users’ purchasing power. 3 Challenging the government’s economic policy and advocating political reforms. Some social workers continue to pressurize the government to revise the low tax policy and accelerate political reforms through their status as social workers and/or members of political groups. 4 Working outside Hong Kong. Instead of spending time on challenging (or supporting) the policies formulated by the SAR government, some social workers focus on providing services outside Hong Kong. In 1998, the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) was established (Chui, 2014). Under the social workers registration ordinance, a person whose name does not appear on the register of registered social workers is not legally allowed to use the title of ‘social worker.’ The SWRB soon became a key player in the field of social work in defining social work and setting the boundary of social work practices. It has developed the code of practice and set out the requirements of social work education curriculum content and structure. Reference to the code of practice and the requirements of the curriculum content have further reinforced the view that social work practices have become more diversified. Concerning basic values and beliefs, the code of practice stresses that social workers should assist people in need, accept responsibility to advance social

Hong Kong  81 justice and safeguard the cause of human rights. This implies that social workers should be prepared to challenge the strategy used by the government to deal with the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism if any elements of the government’s strategy are found to put human rights and social justice in jeopardy. It is also important to note that people’s needs could be met without challenging government policies. This implies that social workers could fulfil their responsibilities within the limit on the development of social welfare set by the government. In relation to the use of information and principles of confidentiality, social workers are expected to handle billing practices in accordance with the Code of Practice for Registered Social Workers issued by the Social Worker Registration Board (2013): – Clause 17 Social workers should establish and maintain billing practices that accurately reflect the nature and extent of services provided. Those being engaged in private or independent practices should also enable such billing practices to identify who has provided the services in the practice setting. – Clause 18 Social workers should clearly inform clients of all fee rates and charges before delivering services. To a certain extent, these two items can create favorable conditions for social workers to explore different financial sources for supporting their services and thus directly or indirectly reduce the pressure on low tax policies and the surplus budget practice. The curriculum content suggested by the SWRB is composed of three elements (see Table 4.1). Social work programs provided by different education institutions vary in content and education institutions usually teach more subjects than those covered Table 4.1  Three Core Elements of the Suggested Curriculum Core Elements

Required Subject Areas

Social Work Core

a Social work practice • social work theories and practice • values and ethics b Others • social welfare systems and social policies • human behaviour and social environment • social administration and management a Social sciences and liberal arts knowledge b Research and social inquiries (required for degree programmes and optional for sub-degree programmes) c Communication skills Fieldwork of a minimum of 700 hours (sub-degree programmes) or 800 hours (degree programmes) plus 100 hours for placement preparation or related activities

Non-social Work Core Field Practicum

(Extracted from Social Workers Registration Board, 2014: 3–6)

82  Sam W.K. Yu and Ruby C.M. Chau by the curriculum set by the SWRB. Despite this, it is still important to pay attention to the curriculum suggested by the SWRB because it reflects expectations of the basic knowledge and skills a social worker in Hong Kong should possess as well as how social workers should apply the knowledge and skills to their work. The knowledge and skills associated with the curriculum (shown in Table 4.1) suggest different expectations of social workers: 1 Social workers are expected to have knowledge about the social welfare systems in China. With this knowledge, they may be more prepared to contribute to social work development in China. 2 Social workers are expected to examine social policies and social services from different perspectives. This area of knowledge may provide a foundation for some social workers to scrutinize government policies with a critical lens. 3 Social workers are expected to gain knowledge concerning social administration and management. This area of knowledge may enable them to meet the requirements of the ‘lump sum grant’ practice by commercializing social services. 4 Social workers are expected to learn theories and put theories into practice when dealing with individuals, groups, families, organizations and communities. Such knowledge may enable them to use different social work approaches. Social workers may thus adopt some of the approaches (such as casework) without challenging the ways in which the government deals with the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism.

Views of some social work students and graduates In order to further explore the empirical relevance of our arguments concerning the responses of social work practices and education to the ways in which the SAR government deals with the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism, we sought the views of three current social work students and three social work graduates on social work practices and the government’s ruling principles. Instead of regarding the students and graduates as interviewees, we invited them to review the ideas in this book chapter. Because of the limited number of social work students and graduates involved in this exercise, it is not possible to draw generalizations from their views. However, their firsthand experiences in receiving social work training and carrying out frontline practices helped us consolidate the arguments we had previously made. Some of their views are highlighted below and pseudonyms are used. As shown below, the six social work students/graduates had diverse views on the government’s ruling principles. Students Peter and Mary each wanted to become a case worker. They were not particularly keen to challenge any government policies. Mary shared her view: (m)any people’s problems are related to poverty. If the government were willing to adjust its low tax policy and provide more welfare, people’s hardship

Hong Kong  83 would be reduced. However, if the clients in my agency do not express the need to challenge the low tax policy, it is not quite reasonable for us social workers to take the initiative in encouraging them to do so. Student Brian wanted to work as a community worker. He said that improving the living conditions of deprived groups should be a social worker’s mission. Therefore, social workers should be more proactive in finding ways to reduce the negative impact of government policies on socially and economically disadvantaged people. The three social work graduates had worked in the social work field for more than five years. Ann worked with older people. Bobo was a case worker. Norman had quit his job not long before reviewing our book chapter. He had worked in a self-financing community organization for three years. Ann said that it was not difficult to notice the negative impact of some government policies on the public. She believed that if the government were willing to revise the low tax policy, it could then implement a universal pension scheme and provide retirees with a better quality of life. However, she stressed that many of her service users faced other problems, such as loneliness and family conflicts, rather than those caused by government policies. She believed that even if social workers did not play an active role in challenging government policies, they would still have many meaningful things to do. Bobo said that she had not met any service users who asked for assistance in pressurizing the government to adjust its policies. She added that even if a service user were making this request, her agency would be reluctant to meet the request. Norman believed that Hong Kong needed more reforms in tax and election systems in response to the needs of the grassroots. He had tried to encourage the public to demand these kinds of reforms over the past few years. In summary, the six members of the social work profession whom we talked to had different responses to the ways in which the government deals with the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism. Peter, Mary and Ann did not see carrying out social work practices within the constraints of government policies as a problem. Bobo would challenge government policies only if her agency allowed her to do so. Brian and Norman believed that social workers should take a more proactive role in challenging government policies that undermined the interests of the public.

Conclusion This chapter has discussed the strategy used by the Hong Kong government to deal with the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism and the responses of social work practices and social work education to this strategy. This strategy aims to reduce the challenges of social welfare to the government’s ruling principles concerning low direct tax, budget surplus, the subordination of social policy to economic policy and strong government. In the last part of this chapter, we discuss two research issues – the relevancy of the

84  Sam W.K. Yu and Ruby C.M. Chau discussion of the ways the Hong Kong government defends its ruling principles to welfare regime research and the importance of research as a tool for assisting social workers and service users to respond to Hong Kong government’s ruling principles. The discussion of how the Hong Kong government defends its ruling principles to a certain extent provides support to the view of Walker and Wong (2005) that the differences between East and South East Asian countries and the 18 OECD countries studied by Esping-Andersen (1990) in how welfare is organized should not be over-emphasized. The previous parts of this chapter pointed out that an important reason for the Hong Kong government to support its ruling principles through fiscal policies and political reforms is to respond to the contradictory relationship between social welfare and capitalism. As shown by the literature concerning the political economy perspective on welfare regimes, some Western governments also play an active role in dealing with this relationship (Esping-Andersen, 1990; Mishra, 1984; Walker, 1984). Therefore, it is necessary not to overlook the similarities in how welfare is organized between Hong Kong and those OECD countries studied by Esping-Andersen (1990). In view of how the Hong Kong government defends its ruling principles, we should be more aware of the studies of the negative impacts of neo-liberalism on social work practice and social work education. Critical social work literature (that can be applied to East and South East Asia and beyond) shows that with the emphasis on commodity relationship and social inequality, the neo-liberal discourses make social work practice uncritically accept the ‘reality’ shaped by market forces and make social work education more ‘industry responsive’ (Morley, 2016; Mullaly, 2010). Hence, it is not surprising to see some people involved in social work practice and social work education put more emphasis on assisting the public to accept inequalities as inevitable than on supporting the public to challenge the dominant social forces that cause broad social divisions along the lines of class, gender, ethnicity and age (Fook, 2012). The problems raised by critical social work literature were shown by the discussion of the negative impact of the Hong Kong government’s ruling principles and the ‘lump sum grant’ policy on social work practice in Hong Kong. In order to tackle these problems, it is necessary for social work practitioners and academics to search for ways to promote critical social work. Ferguson (2008) has made three suggestions on reclaiming social work – stressing unity in diversity, emphasizing the centrality of values and creating forum opportunities for social workers and service users. These suggestions provide insights into how to promote critical social work research and practice in response to the government’s ruling principles in Hong Kong. First, social workers and service users should form research teams for investigating the negative impacts of the Hong Kong government’s ruling principles on social work development and the life of service users. Second, the research teams should develop new research agendas based on social work values rather than the government’s ruling principles. An example of these agendas is to find ways to develop a universal pension scheme beyond the confines of the low tax and budget surplus policies. Third, through conducting research

Hong Kong  85 together, social workers and service users should try to build a consensus on the financial policies and political reforms they prefer. It is important to note that research is an arena for different ideas to compete with each other. In addition to research on critical social work, there are research projects that support the government’s ruling principles. Hence, using research as a tool may not necessarily be effective in assisting social workers and service users to develop powerful discourses against the government’s ruling principles. But it could create more opportunities for social workers and service users to voice out their views on the ideal society.

Taking it further In various chapters of this book, ways are set out for how social workers should respond to government requirements. Compare the implications of Hong Kong’s four ruling principles as defended by the government with one or more other countries in this book. How might social work researchers in Hong Kong carry out studies on the impact of the four ruling principles on the life of social service users? How might the social work profession work with other stakeholders, including the government, to seek ways to reduce social inequality in Hong Kong?

5 A new horizon for institutionalizing the social work profession Is there a new hope for Malaysia? Azlinda Azman and Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh Brief history of the development of social services in Malaysia The value and culture of working together and supporting one another in Malaysian society started a long time ago, even before the British invasion, where members of society help each other when there is a need. All activities in the village (‘kampong’) were carried out in a form of ‘gotong-royong,’ meaning doing things together, voluntarily and according to the means and resources available in society. Activities or programs were mainly done purely out of an altruistic human nature of caring for one another, including activities run by religious and ethnic based organizations for the wellbeing of the community. A more formal social services system in Malaya was introduced by the British Colonial government in 1912, when the country had to deal with the wellbeing of migrant labor. In 1937, with the establishment of the Colonial Office, there was further established a more structured social welfare system primarily aimed to tackle labor, health and education issues that emerged in the communities (Mair, 1944) due to the influx of immigrant laborers from India and China to help with the British industries and economy in Malaya (Kee, 2002). This brought changes, particularly in the social development of the local community, as well as the beginning of development of a more structured, systematic and formalized social service system in the country, including social services in the prison setting. World War II (1942–1945) led to many social problems, in which society experienced poor basic health services and lived in poverty. Immediately after the Japanese invasion and the return of British rule in 1945, society received immediate intervention, aimed mostly towards minimizing social dislocation, addressing poverty, improve malnutrition and health services, and reducing inequality among the different ethnic groups. In 1946, the Federal Department of Social Welfare was established, mainly to addressing poverty, destitution, starvation and poor health due to the aftermath of the Japanese occupation (Kee, 2002). Professional services and relevant government policies were then implemented

Malaysia  87 in relation to the country’s social welfare (Shaffie, 2005). One significant effort was the introduction and appointment of medical social workers in 1952, by the Ministry of Health to local hospitals, with the purpose of preventing ill health. During this time, there was an increased need for medical social workers in the hospitals due to emphasis by the colonial authorities on illnesses or public health issues. The University Hospital Kuala Lumpur was the earliest medical social work department when it was established in 1964 (Baba, 2002; Parker et al., 2016). However, due to the lack of trained medical social workers at the time, the Ministry of Welfare Services had to hire those with no social work qualifications to support the demand for social workers in the medical setting. This has to some extent contributed to the emergence of many semi-trained medical social workers providing services in hospital settings (Awang, 1992). Welfare services in Malaysia, particularly during the period of pre-­ independence, were initially based on a charity model, in which intervention services or programs were introduced and implemented in an ad-hoc manner due to a lack of government policies right after independence. Similarly, voluntary organizations emerged which were all to offer care and rehabilitation in terms of providing financial assistances and institutional care, in line with addressing poverty and health related problems. Until the period of post-independence, around the late 1960s and early 1970s, welfare services or programs were initially concentrated on developmental and preventive efforts. Such emphases have further encouraged change in welfare services provision by government agencies and voluntary organizations which began to recognize that social work is a discipline based on a specific body of knowledge and skills. In sum, the pre-independence and immediate post-independence period laid the foundation of more systematic and comprehensive welfare programs for Malaysia. When Malaysia gained independence from the British in 1957, and with the participation of Sabah, Sarawak and briefly Singapore in 1963, Malaya became Malaysia. Since then the country has moved from a traditional agricultural to a more industrialized economy, where new emerging and complex social issues need to be addressed continuously. It is the aim of the country to focus on socio-­ economic development towards becoming a developing nation. As a result, welfare services and programs in Malaysia changed significantly. Similarly, proactive efforts were made to develop relevant social policy and law formulation such as the National Social Welfare Policy (1990), the Children Act, 2001 and other relevant acts to support emerging social issues and at the same time cater for the different population groups (Kee, 2002). To-date, the social services offered by the Department of Social Welfare range from services for various target groups, primarily children, the aged population, people with disabilities, women and youth, all with the aim of enhancing the social functioning of the population. Newly emerging and more complex social issues, due to rural-urban migration for example, have contributed to the increase of urban poverty in the country. With the demand of current lifestyles, there are more social stressors in society which then lead to family disintegration, crime and violence as well as mental health related issues in not only urban

88  Azlinda Azman and Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh but also rural settings. Hence, the Department of Social Welfare and NGOs have all increased their efforts to provide the best services for the country’s population. This is evident from the partnership efforts between the government welfare agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in providing the relevant social services intervention for society, in which many of the NGOs received some form of funding for their operation. These NGOs provide a range of specific services for children, youth, women, elderly, drug users and other target groups. This manifests the government’s primary concern and efforts in ensuring that welfare services reach the vulnerable populations in the country with the assistance of the various NGOs. The effort to improve welfare services is also connected to the effective intervention of many helping professionals including medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors. Similarly, as one of the primary helping professions, the social work professional is also able to assist those who are in need, provided society in general understands the roles of social workers. It is based on this awareness that concerted effort has been carried out to push for a more systematic and professional social work practice in Malaysia.

Current social work practice in Malaysia Social work as a profession in Malaysia is not as well recognized as it is in many developed countries. The recruitment of non-trained social workers who lack formal social work education and practice is still occurring. This is reported in a study conducted in 2007 by the Malaysian Association of Social Workers which revealed that only one out of ten social workers in the country was trained for the social work job (Department of Social Welfare, 2009). The majority of the current social workers came from various academic backgrounds unrelated to social work but were employed by the Department of Social Welfare. Assuming the role of social worker, many of them are currently working directly with rape victims, women and children who faced domestic violence, juvenile delinquents, child protection issues, the disabled, the elderly and dealing with others of the most vulnerable groups in the population, which involves doing assessment for more effective intervention. Thus, the principal question that may be raised is how far the interventions given to clients are based on comprehensive or accurate assessment by social workers or practitioners who act as social workers. To date, there is no specific research or data available on the social work practices of existing social work practitioners in any type of social service setting. Much of the research is centered on social issues in relation to program effectiveness from different angles or professions. Hence, the effectiveness of intervention from the social work perspective specifically has never been highlighted, explored and evaluated officially. Discussion about social work professionalism has continued for more than three decades, focussing primarily on recognizing the social work profession as on a par with other helping professions, particularly counselling and clinical psychology (Baginda, 2005). The Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW), which was established in 1973, has been continuously pushing to position the social work profession at the forefront of providing welfare services to

Malaysia  89 those in need. Not only that, the association has been promoting the development of standards within the social work profession in Malaysia with the aim of alleviating emerging social issues, continuously ensuring that the public are aware of social workers’ roles and providing arguments to support the improvement of society’s wellbeing. Similarly, the Department of Social Welfare, the primary government agency for social welfare and the largest employer of trained social workers in the country has also played a major role in positioning the social work profession as a means of addressing various social problems (Abdul Rahman, 2005; Baba, 2008; Parker et al., 2016). Both the Malaysian Association of Social Workers and Department of Social Welfare have been working hand-in-hand to position the profession as one of the primary helping professions that can contribute to providing quality welfare services in the country. To date, one of the successful initiatives is to spearhead the development of competency standards in social work practice in the country. This effort was made possible based on the endorsement by the Malaysian Cabinet on 23 April 2010 that gave the mandate for the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (MWFCD), through the Department of Social Welfare, to develop national competency standards as one of the primary strategies and interventions to train service providers towards providing more quality social care and welfare for the various target groups (Ram, 2010; Ram and Latiff, 2010; Shaari, 2010). This mandate has allowed the Department of Social Welfare to continue to play a key role in advancing social welfare services in Malaysia as guided by the National Social Welfare Policy of 1990. Such efforts to formalize national standards on social work competencies are indeed vital for the provision of more systematic, comprehensive and quality social welfare services by professional social workers in the country. These standards are needed to help train the existing welfare officers or personnel, of whom the majority were from other disciplines including sciences, agriculture and those from technical backgrounds, with little understanding of human interactions and development. This is supported by a survey study carried out by the Malaysian Association of Social Workers in 2005, which indicated that out of the total of 433 respondents employed in social work settings, 62% do have paper qualifications, either diplomas or degrees. However, only 14% have social work-related qualifications (Department of Social Welfare, 2009). The recruitment of many personnel into the public service was solely based on their level of qualification, with recruiters often lacking understanding about the scope of work in the welfare services. The study findings have encouraged the Department of Social Welfare to train more of its personnel in the social work field through in-service training programs run by international and local social work educators. Training and development also help to carve pathways for the Department of Social Welfare personnel to be able to continue their studies in social work diplomas and bachelors and higher degrees. Similarly, NGOs too are moving in the same direction, making opportunities for their personnel to enhance knowledge in the social work field, particularly NGOs that see the relevance of having trained social workers serving their agency. In sum, it is based on findings that the Department of Social Welfare has urged the development of competencies that can further train existing staff to provide effective services

90  Azlinda Azman and Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh and intervention to the various target groups. At the same time, trained and competent social work practitioners will then be able to strengthen the quality of supervision for students pursuing social work education in the country. Having more competent social work practitioners will further benefit beginning social work practitioners, particularly social work students undergoing their practicum trainings, who will be exposed to training based on the full breadth and scope of professional social work The aspiration to push for standard competencies is particularly important with the complexity of the social issues emerging in Malaysia. These social issues, faced by all ethnic groups, range from care and treatment intervention, to include child neglect and abuse, family disintegration, domestic violence and abuse, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, human trafficking, urban poverty and homelessness. Intervention related to continuous support and development is also pertinent to care for the disabled population and the elderly population, with Malaysia moving towards being an aged nation by 2030. It is hoped that with the needed competencies, more effective social services and intervention can be delivered by social workers towards improved societal wellbeing despite the challenges raised within different ethnic communities. This is important as Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country that consists of various races and religions. Although 61.3% of the population in Malaysia practices Islam, every ethnic group has the constitutional freedom to practice its own religion beliefs; 19.8% follow Buddhism; 9.2% Christianity; 6.3% Hinduism and 3.4% other religions (Department of Statistics, Malaysia, 2010). It is this diverse ethnic and religious background that requires professional social workers from various ethnicities that are trained to be culturally sensitive in providing the effective social services in the country. Similar to other nations, Malaysia is experiencing changes in demographic trends with the growth of the older population, aged 65 years and over. Malaysia has been showing a drastic decline in the total fertility rate, in which birth rates decreased from 32.4 in 1970 to 16.7 per 1,000 populations in 2015. Falling birth rates and total fertility rates are the result of higher education attainment and late marriages, which have led to couples having fewer children. It is also reported that life expectancy at birth rose from 61.6 in 1970 to 74.7 in 2016 due to improved medical health care, diets and quality of life (Wan Ibrahim et al., 2017). It is the increasing life expectancy that has led to the increase of the old age population. All this is in tandem with the Malaysian government’s agenda towards improving the quality of life for its population by economic expansion and at the same time ensuring more equitable access to healthcare and services. Data indicated that 7% of the older population were aged 60 years and over in 2005 and that is anticipated to double to 14% by 2028 (Tobi et al., 2017). Thus, there is a vital necessity to increase public awareness and deliver various facilities and support services to care for the aged population of Malaysian (Mafauzy, 2000). Much of this continuous need must not only address the socio-economic implication of the aged populations in the nation’s development, but more importantly be ready to provide essential services that can support the needs of the population. A central need is to continuously address the improvement of social

Malaysia  91 support services that can have a significant impact on the psychosocial wellbeing of the population. In doing so, there is a serious need to have more professional social workers to provide quality and effective intervention in support of the elderly population. This is particularly important to further improve the quality of life of the elderly from the perspectives of socio-economic security, ranging from issues of retirement, income and continued employment, to housing needs as well as healthcare or kinship structures that would lead to the better social wellbeing of the population. All of these can be addressed by helping professionals, including social workers, to provide needed services in various settings including healthcare, and institutional as well as community-based settings. The current social work practice in Malaysia is also significantly influenced by emerging global socio-economic issues. For the past several years, Malaysia has been one of the primary destinations for large populations of either migrant workers and/or refugees. As of December 2018, a total of 163,860 refugees and asylum-seekers were registered with UNCHR Malaysia. The breakdown of these populations is mainly from Myanmar, in which 88,880 are Rohingyas, 26,180 Chins, 9,800 Myanmar Muslims, 4,000 Rakhines and Arakanese, with other ethnicities from Myanmar, which totalled up to 141,780. Refugees and asylum-seekers from other countries include 6,090 Pakistanis, 3,040 Yemenis, 2,990 Syrians, 2,960 Somalis, 1,790 Sri Lankans, 1,740 Afghans, 1,480 Iraqis and 790 Palestinians (UNCHR, 2018). These figures are all those who have registered with UNCHR and exclude those who are undocumented but believed to be living in Malaysia (Wurscher, 2018). The huge numbers of migrants into the country, refugees as well as migrant workers, have no legal status in Malaysia, which makes them subject to being caught by the Malaysian authorities. This is because immigration matters in Malaysia are governed by the Immigration Act, which sees any refugees or undocumented migrant workers as against the law as they do have an official documented legal resident status. These population groups also have no access to legal employment or formal education. Thus, they are very vulnerable to several problems including being arrested, sent to detention and subject to prosecution, imprisonment and other criminal sanctions, which leads to a need for the provision of related intervention to handle issues faced by these groups. Nonetheless, the Malaysian government continues to cooperate and work very closely with UNCHR in addressing problems faced by these groups, particularly to improve the treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers on humanitarian grounds. In the past, for example, the Malaysian government has provided several programs for vulnerable groups, for example the pledge to shelter 3,000 Syrian refugees by granting them temporary residence passes and permission to work and for children to attend local schools. Similarly, in 2017, the government developed a pilot program to allow 300 Rohingya refugees to work legally in manufacturing and agricultural industries within the country, all with the aim of providing refugees with necessary skills and income due to their relocation (The Borgen Project, 2017). Such support shows that the government is, to some degree, recognizing human rights, particularly in relation to children of

92  Azlinda Azman and Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh migrants and refugees, based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which Malaysia is a signatory and which binds Malaysia to provide protection for children. Handling refugees and migrant workers can be quite challenging as it not only has major implications for the country’s political and economic situation, but also social implications which require professionals, including trained social workers who are capable of providing effective intervention to help improve the psychosocial wellbeing of the population. The Malaysian government has been criticized by many parties, particularly NGOs that provide services for the immigrants at the deportation or detention centers. The government is seen to have failed to provide adequate and effective intervention to help the immigrants. In this case, the government has often been bombarded for its ineffectiveness in providing basic necessities and treatment to immigrants while awaiting deportation. It was reported that in the immigration depot in Malaysia, many of the detainees had to go through ‘poor procedural standard,’ were not informed as to why they were being detained and had inadequate access to legal counsel (Global Detention Project, 2015). There are also reports indicating that more than 100 detainees died in the Malaysian immigration detention camps in the past two years from various diseases and unknown causes (Malaymail, 2017). It was also reported that the condition of the detainees needed to be given due attention regarding poor sanitation and food, some forms of physical abuse and lack of medical attention, and the need for more general changes and improvement in the general system. The Malaysian government admitted that the camps were overcrowded due to inadequate funding to cater for them (Malaymail, 2017). Such reports highlight some of the limitations that the government faces when dealing with illegal migrant issues. The psychosocial provision for migrants is clearly lacking as many who are working in the detention centers are not trained personnel and are thus unable to provide a more professional treatment or intervention. Here is another setting in which social workers should play a role in order to assist the population to cope with their current situation to prevent them being deported back to their countries of origin. There are many psychosocial issues faced by this population that need in-depth intervention which can be carried out by professional social workers and not by untrained personnel. Hence, social workers must continue to advocate for the development of such intervention so that the position of social workers can be gazetted in the detention setting. Being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Malaysia has an obligation to mitigate protection risks faced by children through various initiatives with relevant stakeholders, including with UNCHR and UNICEF, Malaysia (UNCHR, 2018). Through partnership, child protection services can be strengthened in all sectors including ensuring livelihoods, shelter, education, health and community-based protection to minimize risks of harm among the children. There is a critical need to provide more effective case management that involves integrated intervention through effective psychosocial assessments, monitoring, home visits, referrals and psychosocial counselling that will contribute to the development and wellbeing of the child population,

Malaysia  93 including refugee children. The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, through the Department of Social Welfare, continuously aims to improve child protection services, particularly for those who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Such emphasis requires the country to have many more child protection officers, mainly those with a social work background, to undertake care for the younger population. This is one of the critical areas for Malaysia to invest in, in order to ensure a more productive and resilient younger generation. This has additional relevance in an ageing society where the expectations of filial obligation remain strong. Hence, the country must be able to support and adopt the proposed Social Workers’ Act in order to ensure the official presence of social workers in dealing with refugees and the child population more effectively. Economic growth, industrialization, urbanization and modernization have all caused major changes in family structure and relationships. The current global socio-economic developments have rather shifted the employment patterns of the younger generation away from traditional economic activity. As a result, rural to urban migration is quite widespread among the younger population that sees more opportunity in urban areas. This has contributed to changes in the family structure in which more nuclear families are established in the urban areas. This has further implications for the traditional filial obligation roles of the younger generation in caring for their elders, as many do not have time or financial capacity to care for their elderly. The burden of work stresses, financial challenges and the demands of a modern lifestyle all contribute to changes in family values and the potential emergence of family problems, particularly issues related to domestic violence involving adult and child abuse, substance abuse and divorce which all require social work intervention. The consequences of rapid development will surely push families in Malaysia to be exposed to various social risks including living in poverty in the urban areas. The national poverty rate is less than 1%. Although it was reported that the poverty rate in Malaysia is among the lowest in South East Asia, there are still critics who say that the measurement of poverty in Malaysia should go beyond income levels and must be more multi-dimensionally focused (Leng et al., 2018). Currently, the measurement of poverty uses a poverty line income (PLI) to demarcate poor and non-poor households. It is categorized under the income-based poverty definition that is absolute poverty and relative poverty (Abdul Rasool et al., 2011). The issue of looking at poverty measurement in a comprehensive way is still under debate and needs further redefinition and reconceptualization as it is no longer confined to rural poverty. Instead it has become one of the core problems among the urban population. In Malaysia, poverty is becoming more challenging as many urban families will have to cope with high daily living expenses. There still are families who are living in poverty, particularly in urban areas, where families do not have conducive living arrangements, live in an unsafe environment and bear children who are subsequently diagnosed as overweight or obese (UNICEF, 2018). Such issues are important as children will be facing many possible difficulties in caring for the elderly population if they continue to be trapped in the poverty cycle and exposed to social risks of involvement in crime. Currently, more assistance has been allocated by

94  Azlinda Azman and Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh the government for the bottom 40% (B40) of households with monthly incomes of RM 3,900.00 and below, which includes various forms of financial aid assistances and an affordable housing package. This is one indication of segments of society being unable to cope with the increased standards of living and there are therefore critical goals to prevent them from living as the urban poor. Hence, it is important for the government to intervene and not only focus on multi-­ dimensional intervention, but also take a multi-ethnic perspective (Leng et al., 2018). This is to ensure that intervention is equally addressed among different ethnic groups. In this scenario, it is timely for social workers to be working with the urban population to help strengthen and empower the family institution, especially in the urban community, in order to prevent them from falling into a deep poverty cycle. This positioning and intervention from social workers is only possible if there is a policy that allows the recruitment of social workers in the many related agencies that deal directly with the urban community, such as the various ministries that deal with education, housing, enhancement of the family and community development. At the time of writing it is hoped the proposed bill will result in more agencies/stakeholders recognizing the importance of having social workers as change agents for the development of the rural as well as urban community.

Challenges of institutionalizing social work practice Although the strengthening of the social work profession is needed in order to provide effective intervention, there are several challenges in institutionalizing the social work profession in Malaysia that call for attention. First, there is a lack of understanding of the roles and functions of social workers, which becomes one of the primary hindrances in promoting the social work profession in Malaysia. Many Malaysians are unable to differentiate the scope of social work practice from that of other helping professions such as counselling, psychology, psychiatric and others. This is because these fields are more acceptable in Malaysia as they are regarded as globally recognized, are tied up with specific acts or legislation and there is a position gazetted for the profession in the public services by contrast with the social work profession. In fact, many believe that social work practice can be carried out by anyone, including those with no formal social work education background, provided they have the right values and compassion in helping those in need. There is also a strong belief that social work competencies can be acquired or sharpened through work and personal life experience. Similarly, many of the government organizations and NGOs have limited understanding of how trained social workers can intervene and what they can contribute in promoting the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Such perceptions have emerged as many Malaysians are involved in voluntary services which they see as possible with no formal social work training, believing that it is adequate to have the spirit and values of helping people. In addition, the term ‘social work’ or ‘social worker’ when translated into the Malaysian language refers to voluntary work which sends a message that

Malaysia  95 practicing social work does not require a specific body of knowledge for carrying out interventions. It is important to evaluate the usage of terminology. If Malaysians use a name for a social worker that has a meaning unlike, for example, that expressed in the International Federation of Social Workers’ ‘Global Definition,’ it will have some implications for whether the international social work community recognizes social workers from Malaysia. This will hinder the movement of Malaysian social workers to other parts of the world. As we indicated earlier, many who play a role as social workers in the human or social services organizations come from various disciplines with very little knowledge, training or competency in dealing with human beings and this has further implications for the overall image of the social work profession in the country. Second, with the institutionalization of the social work profession, there will be a clear distinction between the role of professional social worker and those without formal social work training who take on roles as social workers. With this institutionalization, the demand for professional social workers will grow, which links to establishing an appropriate salary scale for employing a professional social worker as compared to volunteer workers and the mandatory registration and licensing for the hiring of professional social workers. This all requires strong support and funding from the government. Currently, there is no clear policy or legislation that differentiates between professional social workers and voluntary workers, including the work boundaries of the ‘professional’ and ‘frontline’ based intervention. Thus, uncertainty and hesitancy among social services providers or agencies at both government and non-­government levels can be overcome with the support of a more specific legislation related to the recruitment of professional social workers serving the various social services agencies. Third, these misconceptions and misunderstandings have driven volunteerism which is seen as one of the deterrents against institutionalizing the social work profession in the country. Many see that institutionalization may only hinder or stop the spirit of volunteerism (Fernandez, 2014). Such perceptions have been a setback for social work professionalism in the country. Consequently, there is a need for continuous effort to educate the general public about the social worker’s role. Another important obstacle is that the social work profession is not listed as a possible career choice in the public sector by the Public Services Department, a government department responsible for controlling and monitoring the intake of civil servants. With this lack of understanding of professional social work practice and in the absence of proper guidelines, often government social services agencies end up recruiting non-social work graduates to fill vacancies designated for social workers. As a result, many social work graduates end up employed in non-welfare-related services, thus depriving them of the opportunity to serve society directly as trained or professional social workers (Azman and Abbas, 2012; Parker et al., 2016). The lack of understanding about social work competency is linked to how some untrained social workers do not fully support the profession. This is obvious when the Medical Social Worker’s Association regards medical social

96  Azlinda Azman and Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh workers as not part of the wider social work community. Since those leading the Association are also largely untrained, there is an urgent need for the medical social worker to be recognized within the Allied Health Act and not as part of the proposed Social Worker’s Act. This has further contributed to the confusion and challenges towards institutionalizing the social work profession as one of the major helping professions in the country. At the time of writing, there are many public and private higher-learning institutions that are seriously considering offering social work programs without understanding the primary practice base of the social work profession. In Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) was the first university offering a Bachelor’s in Social Work in 1975. The program was established with support from the United Nations and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Ministry of Social Welfare to exclusively train staff in social work positions in the Ministry at the time (Azman and Abbas, 2012; Baba, 2008; Yasas, 1974). Since then, the program has developed and has been offering formal social work education at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. As of 2019, there are numerous tertiary institutions offering social work programs including Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (1993), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (1994), Universiti Utara Malaysia (1996), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (2002) and several others. Although there is no specific accreditation body that looks into the standardization of the social work curriculum offerings, USM initiated a National Joint Consultative Committee on Social Work Education (NJCCSWE) in 2002 to look into the various aspects of social work curriculum so that the dissemination of social work curriculum content is at the same standard throughout the country (Azman and Abbas, 2012). This is essential in order to reduce further confusion regarding the teaching of social work as compared to voluntary work. This effort is pertinent as there are many stakeholders wanting to introduce social work programs but without qualified social work educators or a deep understanding of the social work discipline. Finally, the critical challenge is in getting the ‘political buy-in’ from many politicians to institutionalize the social work profession in the country. The adoption of professionalism of social work is directly connected to approval and support by all 13 states in the country. Although road shows have been held since 2010 to disseminate and advocate the need for a Social Worker’s Act for the country, there are states which do not want to support the proposed Act as it is seen to only deter volunteerism activities in the country (Fernandez, 2014; Ruekeith, 2014). This is more obvious in some states which do not have a basic understanding of the actual focus of social work practice compared to volunteer work. This has caused some delay in the adoption of the proposed Act. Although the Malaysian Association of Social Workers is one of the major advocates for the Act, the association is not influential enough to lobby effectively for the Act. Following the change of government in May 2018, it was hoped that the new government would be able to show some support for the adoption of the Social Workers’ Act. Whether it does remains unclear at the time of writing. The emphases on social justice, equality and the enhancement of societal wellbeing through the effective

Malaysia  97 and ethical provision of social services are all – in principle at least – in line with the current government’s aspirations and goals. There should be continuous efforts from the relevant parties to keep pushing for the Act by showing the relevance of the social work profession in helping to tackle the emerging social issues faced by vulnerable or underprivileged groups, including problems related to victims of human trafficking, refugees and migrant workers.

The way forward Social work is a legitimate helping profession that can offer the most effective services to those in need. Persistent efforts by the Malaysian Association of Social Workers, the Department of Social Welfare and the National Joint Consultative Committee on Social Work Education have been undertaken to ensure the adoption of a proposed Act that is seen to be able to monitor more effective social work services, education and training for the benefit of many individuals, families and communities, particularly the vulnerable in the country. On April 23, 2010, the Malaysian cabinet approved the development of national competency standards for social work practice in Malaysia to regulate and ensure the quality of social care and welfare. This approval was a positive development as it marked the Cabinet’s mandate to further carve out the future direction of the social work profession and develop further efforts towards introducing the Social Workers’ Act for Malaysia. There have been many series of discussions with all stakeholders to looked at devising a comprehensive act that covers pertinent matters related to the licensing of qualified social work practitioners and educators; the employment of trained social workers in the human services sector; the standardization of social work curricula at higher learning institutions; the development of continuing education and training programs for social work practitioners; and the full support of relevant stakeholders to support the sustainability of the proposed Act. However, as of 2019, the effort to press for the adoption of the Act is on-going. There are many challenges in getting ‘buy-in’ from the relevant stakeholders, including politicians, to the introduction and support of the proposed Act. The promotion of social work practice in Malaysia is constrained not only by negative public perceptions, but also by the level of readiness of all parties or stakeholders to convert from voluntary humanitarian-based services to a more professional and competency-based practice or services. Resistance also comes from some civil society participants, who may regard the development as hampering their volunteerism efforts. Similarly, resistance also comes from the civil servants who may not have a social work qualification but who provide welfare related services and who fear they will not be able to continue in their current roles. Thus, the adoption of the proposed Act would create significant changes in current social services in all agencies both at government and non-government levels, particularly relating to the hiring of trained social workers and overall oversight of social work practice services in a more systematic and professional manner. There should be continuous efforts to advocate to the relevant stakeholders that the

98  Azlinda Azman and Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh introduction of the proposed Act will benefit most agencies in providing a more effective and meaningful intervention for the target population that they serve. Civil society must see the benefit of employing competent social workers in order to make the proposed Act a reality. Although debate, discussion and various hindrances in institutionalizing the proposed Act are on-going at the time of writing, there have been many achievements since 2010. The significant developments include the draft bill which is currently being scrutinized by legal parties; the continuous effort to enhance social work education at higher learning institutions by developing programs ranging from diploma to bachelor degree and postgraduate studies; the development of continuing education for practitioners in both government and non-­ government sectors; and the continuous push to conduct road shows in order to get needed support from the many stakeholders. All of these relentless efforts are essential as part of the country’s preparation in support of the proposed or upcoming Social Workers’ Act. It is hoped that these efforts will receive constant support from the relevant stakeholders including the international organizations such as UNICEF which is seen as an advocate for the role of professional social workers in dealing with issues related to children.

Case Example 5.1  Malaysian Social Welfare – a Comparative Summary Malaysia has been slow in professionalizing the social work profession compared to other Asian countries. Singapore for example has strongly encouraged the registration of all social workers. Though its focus is only on registration, the development has made manifest the strong support for the profession in the country. In the case of the Philippines, the social work profession is highly supported and its professionalism is considered more advanced as the Philippines implements not only registration but also licensing for professional social workers. As for Thailand, an Act has been adopted to govern the services rendered by social workers to the various target groups. For Indonesia, emphasis has been given to enhance competency standards for social workers to provide the best intervention for their clients and at the time of writing legislation is being scrutinized. Given the developments in these selected Asian countries, it is timely for Malaysia to put more emphasis on adopting the passing of the Social Workers’ Act. This is particularly crucial in order to ensure collaboration among the ASEAN countries to address any social issues across these countries. Besides, it would be an advantage for all the ASEAN communities to learn from one another with regards to best social services and intervention practices; exchange of expertise in the field of social work practice and education; and the expansion of human capital, especially in the practice of social workers across these countries.

Malaysia  99 As a conclusion, Malaysia will need a more concrete policy or act in order to advocate for professional social work practice in the country, which would benefit all stakeholders including the social services agencies and society. At the time of writing some leaders in the social work community are pressing for strong and continuous lobbying for such legislation to be adopted by stakeholders within the social work profession, including the government and social work educators or practitioners, who should play more active roles in sharing knowledge and developing social work best practices without compromising the quality of services. Many people initially hoped that with the change of government in 2018, more emphasis would be given to assist society to achieve better wellbeing that can further contribute to a more vibrant and dynamic economic development for the country. This is, in principle, possible as the proposed Act is in line with the current government’s aspiration to provide needed assistance according to population needs and the hope that standards in all forms of services will trickle down effectively. Hence, it is extremely important for the country to provide best intervention services for the various target groups with complex social issues or problems which clearly require professional social workers. This is possible if Malaysia receives strong support from all parties, including the many civil society and social work education experts. Such support will contribute to the overall landscape of social work practice in Malaysia.

Taking it further This chapter places considerable emphasis on the importance of governmental legislation to support the development of social work. Taking into account the comparative summary of Malaysian social welfare in the Case Example: 1 Apart from pressing for the passing of the Social Workers’ Act, what other activities can the social work profession undertake to provide empirical evidence to show that it is an important partner in social services provision and should be given a legal mandate from society and the state? 2 Taking into consideration the discussion in the book as a whole, what may be the ‘balance of accounts’ when assessing the case for and likely effects of government legislation to support the professionalization of social work?

6 Social work education in soft-authoritarian Singapore Yen Kiat Chong and Irene Y.H. Ng

The mandate for social work practice as a profession and social work education to be considered a discipline at the level of tertiary education is not a ‘right’ but a consequence of relevance. Hence, social work education cannot be divorced from the practice of social work and the social policies that impact on social work practice. As a primarily collectivist society, social work also cannot be divorced from the reality of community building and social, economic, political and cultural development in the nation building process. (Ow, 2011, p. 465)

Introduction In this chapter we seek to trace critically the historical development of social work education in relation to the Singapore state. That is, we seek to understand how the form and content of social work education have evolved over time under the auspices of a soft authoritarian state. As evinced in the excerpt above by Ow, social work education in Singapore has developed within a prevailing political context where it has had a pragmatic objective of educating and producing social workers. Through working with individuals and families in need, in the process reintegrating them to the norms of society, social work can be viewed as contributing to the nation-building process. Yet, the issue regarding the reproduction of the pragmatic form of social work education in Singapore has yet to be critically discussed and analyzed. While the existing research on social work education in Singapore has largely described the historical development of social work education in Singapore – as exemplified in the writings of Nair (2012) and Wee (2002) and the oral accounts of Wee (1995) and Vasoo (2008) – there is a silence with regards to the influence of the state in these accounts. In particular, there is an absence in theorizing the relationship between social work education and the state. How has the state influenced the form of social work education in Singapore across the decades? At a time when the state has become increasingly involved in its crafting, there is a need for critical research and theorizing on the way in which social work education in Singapore has been re-produced. We do so by analyzing the latter’s relationship with the soft authoritarian state using Foucault’s ideas about power.

Singapore  101 In examining the nature of social work education in Singapore, this chapter seeks to demonstrate how social work education has been coterminous with the form of governance in Singapore by drawing links to the social welfare history of Singapore, the micro-practice orientation in a psychology-informed social work and the state’s growing involvement in social work education since the late 1990s. These factors have led to the distinctive form and adaptation of social work education in Singapore, a soft authoritarian state. In arguing for Singapore as the ‘classic illustration of soft authoritarianism,’ Kamaludeen and Turner (2013) list two features of soft authoritarianism: (1) a market-driven economy coupled with an interventionist state, actively seeking to maintain order in society through persuasion rather than coercion; and (2) an overt form of Confucian values where citizens are educated to give consent to the mores of society over and above their individual rights. Likewise, Bertrand (2013) classifies Singapore as a ‘soft authoritarian system’ despite decades of high levels of economic growth in a largely middle-class society; a phenomenon which would conventionally result in a process of democratization. He attributes the political stability of Singapore to factors such as the performance legitimacy of the PAP government, an intricate network of institutions and the use of laws and nationalistic ideologies rather than coercion to govern. Taking reference from both Kamaludeen and Turner, and Bertrand, we understand soft authoritarianism as the active intervention of the state in all aspects of society through non-coercive means, of which social work is an exemplar. We maintain that social work education in Singapore68 has historically adopted a pragmatic form which coheres with the predilections of the soft authoritarian state so as to fulfil the function of producing social workers to meet the needs of society. Moreover, the state has, since the late 1990s, begun to take a more active role in shaping social work education; this has happened within the contexts of the ongoing professionalization of social work, which is accompanied by government funding and regulation of social workers’ salaries and professional development programs. The recent development of state initiatives such as the SkillsFuture69 movement in 2015 and the formation of the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) in 2016, represent a more direct approach taken by Singapore state in the shaping of social work education in Singapore in its characteristic uncoercive manner.

Social work education as a consequence of relevance The initial beginnings of Singapore’s social welfare history under the British colonial administration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was characterized by the reluctance of the British to fund huge social spending for the welfare of society; as a result, voluntary initiatives, usually by ethnic and religious groups, emerged to provide care for individuals in need (Ho and Wee, 2016). With the end of World War II, however, came the rise of a post-war left-wing government in Britain and the concomitant inception of the British welfare state influenced by the Beveridge report (Wee, 2012). In turn such a development

102  Yen Kiat Chong and Irene Y.H. Ng had notable implications for social services in Singapore, a British colony, one of which was the inception of state-led social services in Singapore where the Social Welfare Department (SWD) was formed in June 1946. It was amidst such a context that social work education began in 1952, under the recommendations of Carr-Saunders – Beveridge’s successor as Director of the London School of Economics – as a two-year Diploma in Social Studies parked under the Department of Economics of the then University of Malaya. With a knowledge base spanning a gamut of social science disciplines such as economics, law, sociology, geography et cetera, the raison d’être of the diploma course was to provide locally trained social workers to meet the demand for social welfare officers of the nascent Social Welfare Department set up by the British colonials (Wee, 2012). Thus, the beginning of social work education was solely oriented towards the functional demands of its political times. In her oral archives, Wee (1995) notes that in 1956, one of the jobs of the Department was to produce the staff who would take over as state welfare officers and other administrative senior positions in the Welfare Services in Malaysia or the Federation as it was then and in Singapore. (pp. 26–27) This was a time when ‘both the KL and Singapore governments were getting ready to Malayanise’ (Wee, 1995: 26), which meant that both governments were working towards gaining independence from the British colonial administration. That the British did not initially view social welfare, and concomitantly social work education, as part of its responsibility prior to World War II meant that the latter emerged at a politically opportune moment where there was a shift in the attitude of the post-war British government towards social welfare in its colonies (Ho and Wee, 2016). Obviously, there were political reasons behind the change in the stance of the British. As the push for independence in Malaya grew, there was an impetus for social work education to train local welfare officers to take over from the British (Wee, 2012). Moreover, such a shift towards an expansion of social welfare can be viewed as a political strategy of the post-war British welfare state to secure social order.70 Given that the function of a welfare state is to ‘manage structures of socialization and the capitalist economy’ (Keane, 1984: 13), it is plausible that social work education was a necessary concomitant of the postwar British colonial administration in administering social welfare in Singapore. Viewed retrospectively, social work education in Singapore began as a consequence of relevance – it was a concomitant product of the broader political circumstances surrounding the British colonial administration in post-World War II Singapore. Following its inception under the rule of the British colonial administration, social work education has become a mainstay at the tertiary level of the National University of Singapore (NUS). The longevity of the NUS social work department under the auspices of a soft authoritarian state thus highlights the

Singapore  103 adaptability and continued relevance of social work education in Singapore where a predominantly practical, skills-based curriculum has been maintained. Through training social workers who subsequently work with various target populations, social work education contributes to the state’s soft authoritarian desire to govern through persuasion rather than coercion.

Micro practice-oriented social work education That social work education in Singapore has sought to ensure its relevance to both state and society is evident in the prevailing form and content of social work education which maps pertinently onto direct practice, namely casework, group work and community work. In this regard, the launch of the National Social Work Competency Framework (NSWCF) in 2015 can be seen as the crystallization of the pragmatic focus of social work education in Singapore. The Framework’s vision is well-articulated in the foreword to the NSWCF by the steering committee co-chairs: (s)ocial workers need to be clearer and sharper in their articulation of their roles and the skills and perspectives they bring to their organisations and to the multi-disciplinary teams they collaborate with. The National Social Work Competency Framework (NSWCF) which is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Health, aims to provide this clear articulation of social work roles across the profession with the corresponding knowledge and skills required for effective delivery of interventions, be it in the areas of casework, group work or community work. With this clarity, the fraternity can now take bigger strides forward in meeting future challenges. (MOH, MSF and NCSS, n.d: 3) While the focus on building skills and competencies immerses the social work student in the realm of direct practice, there is, resultantly, a lesser focus on a critical analysis of social and economic policies which directly affect many of the disadvantaged populations social workers encounter in their work. The latter are thus primarily educated to create change not so much at the level of policies, but more at the level of working with individuals and families. Indeed, the bread and butter of social work practice in Singapore is casework, as evident from the fact that the majority of social workers are hired in casework roles such as medical social work and family services. This is also largely driven by funding of these positions, the largest funder being the government. As a more specific example, there was a period when Family Service Centres (FSCs) were funded mainly for casework and referral, which naturally made group work or community work lower in priority and even largely absent in some FSCs. As funding for group and community work has returned, FSCs are now figuring out anew the models and forms of group and community work to adopt. Further, the centrality of casework is seen in that the Ministry of Social and

104  Yen Kiat Chong and Irene Y.H. Ng Family Development (MSF) has required that FSCs follow a common casework assessment framework using a unified data system, but not for group work or community work (yet).71 Whether directly or indirectly, the State’s funding of practice greatly shapes the focus in social work education, although there is some feedback loop from academia to State. Not unlike the ‘symbiotic relationship’ between National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Peoples Action Party (PAP) government (Seow, 2017), the relationships between the NUS Social Work Department (and more recently SUSS) and the government might be described in similar terms. Beyond curriculum content, the NUS department faculty has provided much unpublished research consultancy to government ministries and produced a former PAP Member of Parliament (MP), a sitting Minister of State and two former nominated MPs (NMPs). Given that it is a major funder of social services, the practice of social work in Singapore embodies the capillary extensions of the soft authoritarian state. Being a pragmatic discipline primarily focused on meeting manpower needs for direct practice, social work education in Singapore has, to a certain extent, developed according to the directives of the state. In addition to the focus on casework, the influence of the state is also seen in the content of education within the practice domains. For example, a uniquely Singaporean form of ‘community work’72 is taught, based more on conciliatory organizing rather than activism. In his oral archives, previous head of department at NUS, Dr Vasoo, spoke about the disagreements he had, as a social work student, with his field placement supervisor who sought to collectively organize the people to confront the authorities. Reflecting that it was culturally inappropriate in Singapore to adopt such radical community approaches, he instead advocated a more consensual approach where the community works together with the authorities to resolve issues (Vasoo, 2008). In turn this is inscribed in his writings on community development in Singapore which articulates a state driven form of practice. Noting the limits of Community Centre Management Committees (CCMCs) and the Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) in reaching out to residents, Vasoo (2002) describes how ‘policy makers devised a few institutions to penetrate various public housing neighbourhoods,’ namely Residents’ Committees, Town Councils and Community Development Councils which ‘gave an impetus to new directions in community development’ (p.  29). In promoting community work as a mode of social work practice in Singapore, he asserts that ‘the tripartite working partnership of the Government, community groups and corporate sector has prevented a welfarist model of community development from being adopted’ (p. 35). As one of the main instructors teaching community work in NUS, Vasoo’s words implicitly portray the contours of the pragmatic and state driven form of social work practice (and education) which has taken root in Singapore. The 2015 competency framework reproduces such a pragmatic form of practice when it defines community work as largely focused on environmental scans, community needs assessment and harnessing of community strengths to develop new community initiatives (MOH, MSF and NCSS, n.d.).

Singapore  105

Case Example 6.1 Community work/organizing and advocacy in Singapore This case illustrates the different emphases of community work/organizing and advocacy in Singapore, which emphasize conciliatory methods, and the US, which emphasizes rights and mobilization. The Table below extracts sentences from the Singapore National Social Work Competency Framework and the America National Association of Social Workers, so that the differences can be compared side-by-side. Singapore National Social Work Competency Framework

America National Association of Social Workers

Advocacy and Community Community Work Organization: • Provide strategic leadership to Advocacy is one of the keystones of develop community strength that social work practice. Social work supports the delivery of community advocates champion the rights development initiatives and programs of individuals and communities • Work closely with key players in the with the goal of achieving social social sector to develop community justice. Community organizing and re-integration plans/networks/ advocacy work with the power of services numbers—many people thinking, • Work closely with policy makers to working, and acting together— deliver community development to counterbalance wealthy and initiatives and programs powerful groups and the means • Actively promote strategies to they have to protect and extend improve overall psycho-social wellthemselves. Historically, community being and family/community care/ organizing and social work were case support for clients responses to the many forces that Mentions of advocacy: created inequality in our society. Intermediate skill in system linkage, Source: (NASW, n.d.) analysis and development: “Ability to facilitate and initiate collaborative activities for advocacy” Expert skill in system linkage, analysis and development: “Knowledge of collaboration at the systems level and advocacy, and the ability to establish long-term relationship with key partners.” Professional leadership of a senior master social worker: “Influence to increase the allocation of resources through advocacy and collaboration with resource holders, e.g. government, businesses and community, etc.” Source: (MOH, MSF & NCSS, 2015)

106  Yen Kiat Chong and Irene Y.H. Ng According to Ow (2011), ‘the objective of the Social Work education at the undergraduate level is to provide basic professional training to equip its graduates for entry into the profession at the direct service level’ (p. 470). Given the state’s involvement in shaping a micro practice-oriented social work in Singapore, the words of Ow can be read as alluding to a pragmatic social work education as an ineluctable consequence. Situated within a soft authoritarian state, it is perhaps unsurprising that social work education has focused on the production of social workers primarily as caseworkers and to develop conciliatory macro practice models more aligned to the state’s desire to govern through persuasion rather than coercion. Social work education, especially at the undergraduate level, can be viewed as being parochially focused on building certain competencies based on what the state perceives as meeting the demands of direct practice.

A psychology-informed social work education An orientation towards micro practice also requires a greater psychological slant, since psychological theories are more applicable in micro practice domains such as casework and group work. Unsurprisingly, applied and clinical forms of psychology have become central to social work education and this importance in Singapore to some extent mirrors the developments in the west. In outlining social work’s history in the US and the UK,73 Specht and Courtney (1994) noted that: (a)t the end of World War I, social work made a remarkable intellectual leap to embrace psychiatry and then psychoanalysis as its major sources of theory for practice [emphasis added], thus setting the profession’s direction for the rest of the century. But in the years before World War I, it would have been difficult to predict with certainty the kind of intellectual base the emerging profession of social work would develop. Social workers utilized a variety of subject matters: eugenics, biology, economics, psychology, and sociology. The best guess anyone could have made for social work’s knowledge base would have been sociology. The strongest intellectual contributions to the field came from sociology. (p. 86) How then does a rise of psychology in the twentieth century implicate social work education? According to Rose (1999), the formation of psychology is ‘tied to its capacity to produce the technical means of individualization, a new way of construing, observing and recording human subjectivity and its vicissitudes’ (p. 136). The following quotation elaborates: I suggest that “psy” – the heterogeneous knowledges, forms of authority and practical techniques that constitute psychological expertise – has made it possible for human beings to conceive of themselves, speak about

Singapore  107 themselves, judge themselves and conduct themselves in new ways … I suggest that it [psy] has had a very significant role in contemporary forms of political power, making it possible to govern human beings in ways that are compatible with the principles of liberalism and democracy [emphasis added]. (Rose, 1999: vii) In Singapore, based on a review of the earliest available NUS undergraduate social work curriculum from 1970 onwards, it can be observed that psychology has always been imbricated with social work education. In the earliest available curriculum record in 1970 this was represented in a module titled ‘Physical and Mental Health’ for second- and third-year students (NUS, 1970). The year two module was described as ‘an introduction to normal human growth and personality development, together with an introduction to psychology and psychological concepts’ (NUS, 1972: 44). The year three course ‘continues the study of normal growth and development, together with a consideration of (a) the stress points experienced at various stages of the life cycle and (b) the social implications of mental illness’ (NUS, 1972: 44). Apparently, these were the only psychology modules offered in NUS, under the Social Work Department, because at that time, there was no Psychology Department, neither was Psychology offered as a Major. In 1980, psychology began to be offered as a minor in the Social Work Department and was subsequently launched as a full program in the renamed ‘Department of Social Work and Psychology’ in 1986 (Vasoo, 2012). In 2005, the psychology program grew to the extent that it was able to separate from social work. Throughout these changes, psychology-informed social work modules continued to be a mainstay within the curriculum in the following decades. The abovementioned module ‘Physical and Mental Health’ focuses on stages of human psychosocial development and while its name has changed over the decades, it has had a perpetual existence in the curriculum since the earliest available record in 1970. It is interesting to note the parallel development in the teaching of sociology in social work. Until the cohort of 1987, social work undergraduate students were required to take sociology as their other principal course in the initial two years of their studies. As opined by Mrs. Ann Wee,74 one of the pioneers of social work education in Singapore, ‘You see, I came to do social work at a time when there was no Sociology Department and yet you could not really have social work teaching without some social science input’ (Wee, 1995). Thus, both psychology and sociology were incorporated into the social work curriculum. However, while sociology was emphasized in the early years since students were required to take it as a course, it is not as obviously present in the social work curriculum today. In 1988, social work students were no longer required to also take sociology. This was also around the time when the Department of Social Work started offering psychology as a program.75 Having demonstrated the influence of psychology in the leading social work program in Singapore and bearing in mind its relation with political power as

108  Yen Kiat Chong and Irene Y.H. Ng proposed by Rose, it is plausible to conceive of social work education as constituting Foucault’s biopower76 which is typically expressed in the ubiquitous form of a ‘society of government,’ akin to the persuasive rather than coercive character of the soft authoritarian state. A psychology-informed social work education focused on producing social workers who, in turn, regulate the behavior of individuals, complements the state’s desire to manage its population. Put differently, it constitutes the knowledge episteme on which a biopolitics – ­mechanisms and tactics of power focused on regulating life – of soft authoritarian rule is enacted.

State involvement in social work education While social work has been a discipline and profession in Singapore since its beginnings in the 1950s, the official and state-wide recognition of it as a profession, with job roles clearly demarcated for social workers, can be said to have commenced only in the 1990s (Ang, 2015). According to Ang, the journey towards this recognition began in August 1998 when then permanent secretary of the Ministry of Community Development (MCD), Mr. Moses Lee, gave a speech dedicated to the professionalization of social work, part of which entails the ‘building up of knowledge to deliver better services to citizens’ (p. 6). One of the initiatives to emerge from this discussion was the development of the postgraduate diploma course in social work (Ang, 2015); as part of recognition/professionalization, a Social Service Training Institute (SSTI) was set up to cater to the training needs of social services (Ibrahim, 2002). On 1 April 2009, the Accreditation System for Social Workers and Social Service Practitioners was launched by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the National Council of Social Services and the Singapore Association of Social Workers. ‘The framework is owned by the Ministry of Social and Family Development,’ and ‘the Accreditation System is overseen by the Social Work Accreditation and Advisory Board (SWAAB) which is appointed by the Ministry.’ (Singapore Association of Social Workers [SASW], 2009.). One of the aims of accreditation is to ‘promote continuing education and training of social workers and social service practitioners,’ and one of the terms of reference for the SWAAB is to ‘review the accreditation framework and the continual professional education guidelines whenever necessary’ (SASW, 2009). Moving to the decade of the 2010s, there was increasing centralization of social work practice and, as a result, the centralized and localized determination of social work education as well. This development came about as a result of the recognition of the increasingly complex social needs in a fast-changing urban economy coupled with a shortage of social workers to address these needs (Ng and Sim, 2012). Therefore, measures were taken to increase social workers’ salaries on one hand and improve professionalization on the other. The government ministry overseeing social services started to set salary benchmarks and commit funds to agencies to meet those benchmarks in 2007, with reviews and revisions in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2018 (Ng and Sim, 2012;

Singapore  109 Tai, 2015; Tan, 2018). By 2018, social workers’ starting salaries were on par with those of teachers, a profession perceived as relatively well paid in Singapore. Alongside ensuring competitive salaries to attract and retain social workers, service quality was boosted through the introduction of various initiatives. In 2008, professionalization programs such as a sabbatical leave scheme (SLS) and a professional and leadership development scheme were introduced (Ng and Sim, 2012) and in 2009 accreditation began to be required of social workers. A more direct influence by the state on social work practice is seen more recently through adherence requirements of family and youth services. For family services, a Code of Social Work Practice (CSWP), alongside a unified data system to be used by agencies serving families, was implemented in 2015. This inducted a Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual (BPSS) assessment framework and a Family and Adult Support Tool (FAST)77 (Koh and Suptjito, n.d.) with which all family service centres had to comply. For youth services, youth organizations were consolidated in 2016–2018, from about 20 organizations carrying out various youth programs to nine Integrated Service Providers (ISPs) providing a range of standardized programs with training and reporting requirements by MSF (MSF, 2018; Zaccheus and Tai, 2016). Both the CSWP and ISP initiatives would improve standards and standardization of services, but also reporting requirements, the latter admittedly being a pain point for social workers. In tandem with these professionalization and standardization processes, a National Social Work Competency Framework (NSWCF) was developed, as mentioned earlier. The NSWCF listed the kinds of tasks and abilities expected of social workers at different levels and for the following tracks: direct practice, leadership/management, research and evaluation, policy and legislation. Following the NSWCF, as part of a larger national movement called SkillsFuture, a Skills Framework is now (at the time of writing) being developed. The curricular content offered by Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) is supposed to map onto this Skills Framework. Although social service professionals and IHL representatives are involved in giving inputs to the two frameworks, the process is nevertheless state-led. SkillsFuture is a national movement aimed towards ‘skills mastery and lifelong learning’ for all Singaporeans (SkillsFuture, n.d.). It enables Singaporeans to keep training and upgrading themselves and even to switch careers. In the case of social work, it also aligns well with the developments to improve standards and skills to meet service quality and manpower needs in social services. Thus, the Skills Framework, by requiring IHLs to show that their curricula map to the skills levels that were first articulated in the NSWCF, materializes the compliance of social work education to the state-directed requirements. The steps taken by the state show forward-looking commitment to address social challenges, unlike in other countries where social workers are often in underpaid and under- or even unrecognized job roles. At the same time, its ability to do so reflects the tacit and confident influence of the state. The long

110  Yen Kiat Chong and Irene Y.H. Ng arm of the state imposed not only social work professional standards, but also specific competencies to be taught by IHLs and training institutes. The NSWCF foreword states: (t)he NSWCF will provide strategic guidance to the development of sector-­ wide competency-based training for social workers. At beginner level, the NSWCF serves as reference for Institutes of Higher Learning to determine their curriculum to prepare social work students well to apply theories into effective practice. At continuing education level, it guides training providers in competency-based training for social workers. (MOH, MSF and NCSS, n.d.: 3) The state’s influence on social work education can further be seen in the setting up of Singapore’s sixth autonomous and state-funded university, the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) in 2017 from the previously privately-run UniSim (Singapore Institute of Management University). The commitment to expand social work manpower was so strong that the government not only funded the formation of a new School of Human Development and Social Services within SUSS, which was further renamed S R Nathan School of Human Development in 2018 (Yacob, 2018), it also seconded its ministry staff to develop the social work curriculum. In the Committee of Supply 2018, a new work-learn program to be implemented by Skills Future Singapore, SUSS and Nanyang Polytechnic where social work diploma holders progress towards becoming certified social workers was announced (Ong, 2018). Soft authority is evident in the fact that these requirements by the state on university curricula were accepted with nothing more than private murmurings when, in fact, the state’s intrusion is in potential tension with Universities’ academic rigor and social work professional relevance at the international level. Four examples illustrate the tensions. First, with the emphasis on demonstrable skills and competencies, theoretically-oriented content is increasingly at risk of being substituted away. This risk is most obvious in postgraduate courses, for which funding is being transferred from the Ministry of Education to SkillsFuture Singapore. The new regime of course-by-course funding requires that each course demonstrates applicable skills and thus largely theoretical courses are being made to conform or remain unfunded. Second, with requirements to teach the specific assessment and reporting formats and standards in the Code of Social Work Practice (CSWP), social work programs will need to either add hours of instruction or reduce hours devoted to other material. In the case of NUS, this is made more challenging because it has a curricular structure that has been set as a department within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). Thus, as FASS students in NUS, social work majors must meet social work professional requirements as well as faculty-level and university-level requirements. Third, in teaching students in conformity with the CSWP and NSWCF, there is a danger that students lose critical and macro perspectives, which are the aim of an academically rigorous education.

Singapore  111 Finally, the fourth example illustrates the tension of balancing local and international relevance. The global definition of social work by the International Association of Schools of Social Work and the International Federation of Social Workers (2014) states that: (s)ocial work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledges, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing. The above definition may be amplified at national and/or regional levels. While the Skills Framework incorporates elements of the global definition, its emphasis on conducting social work within the local structures of government funding risks crowding out core principles in global social work such as social justice. Such core principles might in fact be what a soft authoritarian state seeks to suppress. In summary, we argue that the centralization of social work practice in the last decade has increased the influence of the soft authoritarian state on social work education. This improves the profession’s standing and standards on one hand, but also creates tensions with academic rigor, pedagogical independence and international relevance on the other.

Discussion In this chapter we examined the ways in which the pragmatic form and content of social work education in Singapore has been, and continues to be, mediated and authorized by the state. Soft authoritarian rule can be couched in terms of Foucault’s (1977a) conception of power which ‘needs to be considered as a productive network which runs through the whole social body, much more than as a negative instance whose function is repression’ (p. 119); power, according to Foucault, ‘forms knowledge’ (p. 119). The form and content of social work education in Singapore represents knowledge produced under a regime of ‘truth’ whereby ‘truth’ is an epistemological discourse produced by dominant institutions such as the university and the state, subjected to economic and political pressures, consumed through education, and constantly a point of contestation. Foucault proposes the relationship between power and truth is one where ‘“truth” is linked in a circular relation with systems of power which produce and sustain it, and to effects of power which it induces and which extend it’ (p. 133). The knowledge production of social work, its ‘truth,’ is thereby mediated and given force by a political reality. The above-mentioned points on the historical genesis of social work education in Singapore, a micro practice-­oriented and psychology-informed social work education and the steering of social work

112  Yen Kiat Chong and Irene Y.H. Ng education by the state since the late 1990s constitute empirical instances where one can understand how a regime of ‘truth’ in social work education is produced by a nexus of power relations. Contrary to Kamaludeen and Turner’s (2013) claim that soft authoritarianism in Singapore may be on the decline since the early 2010s, it is our contention that the opposite has occurred in social work education where the Singapore state has increasingly taken a more interventionist stance since the late 1990s. Social work education had largely been autonomous in the development of its curriculum, free from the predilections of the state prior to the late 1990s; changes in university administration and the global shift towards a more psy-oriented social work were usually the causal factors of the evolution of social work curricula. That the Singapore state was less involved in the shaping of social work education prior to the late 1990s makes its subsequent involvement conspicuous. Invoking Foucault is not simply to criticize the power and influence of the Singapore state on social work education. In fact, the development of the social work profession and the accompanying educational mandates have benefited from the soft power of the state. The state has played an important role in the high recognition of the profession, accompanied by attractive salaries and professional development programs; the same can be said of the standing of social work as a social science discipline and a professional degree in Singapore. Despite these benefits, the academic environment under soft authoritarian rule does not allow much room for a critical analysis of the prevailing forms of social work education. In seeing truth as power, Foucault (1977a) notes that the onus on intellectuals is to ascertain ‘the possibility of constituting a new politics of truth,’ where one needs to detach ‘the power of truth from the forms of hegemony, social, economic and cultural, within which it operates at the present time’ (p. 133). Here Foucault seems to be suggesting that intellectuals can organize themselves to counter the hegemony of ‘truth,’ that even while ‘one can never be “outside” power does not mean that one is trapped and condemned to defeat no matter what’ (pp.  141–142); he goes on to suggest the possibility of resisting in the face of power but does not elaborate further. Likewise, Nealon (2008) notes that as one moves from Foucault’s earlier to later concept of power, ‘power becomes more effective while offering less obvious potential for resistance’ (p. 71). How then is it possible to resist power? On what basis is resistance possible? Foucault’s concept of power highlights the extensive grip of the soft authoritarian state where the emergence of alternate truths and counter-hegemonies in social work education is circumscribed. While providing an analysis of the imbrication between power and knowledge, there appears to be an ensuing sense of paralysis in terms of praxis or what can be done. In this regard, Said (1983) critiques Foucault for taking a ‘curiously passive and sterile view … of how and why power is gained, used, and held onto’ (emphasis added); in turn, Foucault’s conception of power has become ‘the least convincing aspect of his work’ (p. 221). Noting Foucault’s disavowal of Marxism, Said reiterates its relevance in locating ‘who holds power and who dominates whom’ (p. 221) from

Singapore  113 ‘the perspective of an engaged political worker’ (p. 222). Contrary to viewing power as everywhere, as ‘a spider’s web without the spider’ (p. 221), Said affirms a renewed focus on praxis by locating unequal relationships of power between the oppressed and the oppressor.78 In that sense, he can be read as calling for a situated praxis missing from Foucault’s concept of power, without which one remains at the level of theoretical abstraction. In the case of social work education, this means moving from understanding how it is constituted by power, to locating both the forces behind its constitution and the group(s) which will question how social work can be taught differently. At the time of writing, however, social work education in Singapore is increasingly authorized by the state with no signs of abatement.

Conclusion In conclusion, this chapter examines the historical constitution of social work education in the context of a soft authoritarian state. Social work education in Singapore is first and foremost pragmatic; not only did it begin out of necessity under the post-war British colonial administration, its knowledge content was borrowed from various disciplines. In striving for relevance, it has, over the decades, become micro practice-oriented where the influence of psychology cannot be understated. While the state had previously maintained a distance in matters of social work education, since the late 1990s, it has become actively involved in its constitution. Such a development is unsurprising, for the way in which social work education in Singapore began has meant that it was always potentially malleable by the state; soft authoritarianism is evident in the state’s ongoing efforts to educate social workers.

Taking it further This chapter concludes that social work education in Singapore is increasingly authorized by the state. In thinking of the future of social work and social work education, the following are some questions for readers’ reflections. • •

Educators might consider whether social work can or should be taught differently, in what ways and why? State players might think about the extent to which the state should and is willing to extend its authority over the development of the social work profession and its accompanying curriculum, and the potential intended and unintended consequences. Social workers and social work students might consider their role in shaping social work practice and education in an increasingly state-directed context.

7 Socio-economic development in the context of social work and social welfare in Thailand Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom Introduction Thailand is located in mainland Southeast Asia and covers an area of 514,000 square kilometers. Bangkok is the largest city and is home to approximately ten million people out of a total population of 69 million. While the country is still majority rural, it is undergoing rapid urbanization in all regions. The country has four main geographic regions: the mountainous north, the highland and dry northeast, the fertile central plain and the long coastline of the southern peninsula. The climate is tropical, with hot humid conditions and monsoons half year-round. Most people in the country speak the Thai language with three main northern, northeastern and southern dialects and some minority languages including Chinese, Malay, Khmer and others. Religion is an integral part of Thailand’s culture and almost 95% of the population claims to be Buddhists and a small percentage are Muslim or Christian. Thailand has had a long and relatively peaceful tradition of assimilating different ethnic groups such as the Lao in the northeast and Chinese migrants who settled predominantly in urban areas such as Bangkok. That said, the country has struggled to develop inclusionary policies for the hill tribe people in the north, the ethnic Malay concentrated in the three southernmost provinces and, more recently, migrants from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia drawn by economic opportunity. The hill tribes of Thailand (Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong/Miao, Mien/Yao, Lisu, Palaung) have unique cultures and languages and have historically moved between northern Thailand, Laos and Myanmar as practitioners of traditional agriculture (slash and burn). Many hill tribe people were on the margins of Thai society because they could not provide evidence of citizenship. In the past, this meant that they were often denied or given substandard educational, health care and social welfare benefits. The marginal status of hill tribe people resulted in high rates of poverty and greater vulnerability to exploitation. Over the past several decades, Thailand has developed programs to promote inclusion (education and social development) and has created better mechanisms for them to secure citizenship. The ethnic Malay in the south of the country are predominantly Muslim and only became part of Thailand at the end of the eighteenth century. Long

Thailand  115 left to practice their own traditions, the Thai government began efforts in the 1930s to forcibly assimilate the ethnic Malay which sparked separatist groups and conflict for several decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Thai government developed a more accommodating strategy to deal with the south that included greater social development activities and a promotion of religious and cultural rights (Croissant, 2005). For a variety of reasons, the peace did not hold into the new millennium and conflict between radicalized Muslim insurgents and the Thai military resulted in, according to one estimate, a considerable number of violent incidents, deaths and injuries (Jitpiromsri, 2014). For a period, the three southernmost provinces became so dangerous that government officials including social workers and health care professionals could not do their work. The violence at the time of writing has ebbed and there is great need for post-conflict mental health, reconciliation and mediation and community development work. Finally, as Thailand emerged as the Mekong Region’s most robust economy in the 1980s and 1990s, economic migrants from its less economically developed neighbors entered the country, most illegally, to find employment opportunities. The Thai government has attempted to convert a population of approximately two million unauthorized foreign-workers into documented guest workers, allowed to stay in the country for a period of time. The challenges of accommodating such a large migrant-worker population has been daunting but the government has created policies that allow migrant children to attend school (Tang and Engstrom, 2016) and provide health care (Tangcharoensathien et al., 2017) and better enforcement of work conditions. Nevertheless, migrant workers face dangerous and abusive work conditions, wage exploitation, over-crowded housing and victimization by human traffickers (Mendoza et al., 2016). On the ground, Thai social workers and health care professionals struggle to provide services to non-Thai language speakers. In the past decades, the country has implemented policies through a series of National Economic and Social Development Plans that strive to improve growth and increase the rate of employment. Most notable among the plans was the 2002–2006 National Economic and Social Development Plan which adopted the ‘Sufficiency Economy’ philosophy of the late King Bhumipol, whose efforts at social development earned him the first Lifetime Human Development Award granted by the United Nations Human Development Program in 2006. The ‘Sufficiency Economy’ served as a policy guideline that emphasized a balanced way of living that went beyond basic development economics by encompassing three principles: (1) moderation, (2) reasonableness, and (3) self-immunity. The plan also highlighted good governance, strengthening the grass roots organizations, developing social capital and promoting sustainable development in rural communities in particular. According to the World Bank (2018), Thailand ‘has made remarkable progress in social and economic development, moving from a low-income country to an upper-income country in less than a generation.’ The country has made strides in reducing poverty over the past four decades. Extreme poverty

116  Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom as measured by the international extreme poverty line of USD 1.90 per day, is almost non-existent in Thailand, having fallen from a rate of 14.3% in 1988 to less than 0.1% in 2013 and to around 0.03% in 2015. Gains along multiple dimensions of welfare have been shown: per capita income has risen by 4.2% per year on average from 2000–2013, completion of primary school education has increased from 10% in 1980 to 66% in 2016, and universal health care has covered all Thai citizens while other forms of social security have expanded (UNDP, 2014). Addressing the vexing problem of unequal income distribution through development plans has not fully resolved the problem. A well-accepted measure of income inequality, the Gini coefficient, was 44.5 for Thailand in 2015, placing the country in the bottom one third of all countries (World Bank, 2008). Unequal distribution of resources has been front and center as a leading force behind the recent political conflict which has sometimes led to violence. The conflict has been too simplistically divided into binary and mutually exclusive categories (Redshirts = poor from the least developed regions vs Yellowshirts = urban middleclass and the elites) but it reflects real schisms within the country. The Redshirts owe their allegiance to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was removed from power by a military coup in 2006. Prior to the coup, Thaksin had initiated a series of social welfare (universal health care) and social development policies (village credit funds) that were widely popular in northeastern and northern provinces of the country (Hewison, 2010).

Social welfare system The history of the social welfare system in Thailand can be traced back for centuries in the form of charity or the humanitarian concern of people which is deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy (Kesaradhammo, 2003). Family and the patron-client relationship have been the major social institutions associated with social welfare. Thai society viewed the family (including extended family) and patron-client relationship as the primary means for meeting the material and basic needs of individuals. Historically, the patron-client relationship played an important role in supporting those who were in need (Jongsatitmun, 2004). The personal relationship within the clientelistic structures in Thai society is also a key factor in explaining why a formal social welfare system in Thailand was so long delayed in development compared to many other countries in the region. The country’s powerful stakeholders (the monarchy, political party leaders, industrialists and other social elites) benefited from the patron-client relationship because it reinforced their power and influence. These groups were able to exercise political power to delay the passage of social security legislation which would create a system of aid given to strangers by strangers, to paraphrase Wilensky and LeBeaux (1958). Such was the hold of clientelistic structures that it took over 40 years for proponents of social security and more universalistic social welfare programs to move from proposals to actual statutory policy (Schramm, 2015; Sungkawan, 1992).

Thailand  117 Thai culture is deeply influenced by faith and religion. While the majority of the population claim to be Buddhist there are other faiths and religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Chinese indigenous religions are practiced in Thai society. One of the basic teachings of Buddhism is the four noble truths on life; suffering, origin of suffering, the extinction of suffering and the path leading to the extinction of suffering. These noble truths, found throughout literature describing Buddhism, consist of eight factors: right view or understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. The noble truths and their eight factors together form the ‘middle way’ in which those who follow will avoid the two extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification, and live a balanced life in which material welfare and spiritual well-being go hand in hand and complement each other. According to the fourth truth of the path leading to the extinction of suffering, a good life cannot be achieved through the control of and mastery over external factors alone, but must be combined with the internal control of one’s own inner nature. This basic teaching of Buddhism influences Thai values and beliefs which structure daily life, as well as framing social problems and social activities like social work and social services in Thai society. Historically, Buddhist social ethics have been adopted into practice mostly by Buddhist monks and the Buddhist Monasteries (temples/wats). Monasteries or temples play a central role as community centers that provided diverse kinds of social services such as food and shelter, education, health care and other basic services for Thai communities (Nye, 2008). Modern social welfare based on formal organization, government or non-government, with specified service populations, emerged at the end of the nineteenth century. This period was characterized by the growth in centralized power controlled by the monarchy and the creation of western-model bureaucracy to rule the country and to administer policy (Wyatt, 2003). It was also, as we discuss later, a period in which the country pivoted to Europe for educating the bureaucratic elites and introducing Western ideas and practices to Thailand. This was certainly true for social welfare. It is not altogether surprising that under royal patronage, the Royal Thai Red Cross Society (considered the country’s first social welfare program) was founded in 1893 by King Chulalongkorn, 30 years after the Red Cross movement was launched in Europe (Thai Red Cross, 2014). Like its European counterparts, the Thai Red Cross society focused on providing care for wounded soldiers. During the same time, an approach to providing indoor relief for vulnerable populations was introduced, first in the form of an orphanage which was founded in the reign of King Chulalongkorn in 1889 (Verrasilpcha, 2008) and later expanded to include groups such as the mentally ill (Somdet Chaopraya Psychiatric Hospital [later ‘Institute’], 1889). These efforts by the monarchy reinforced patronage relationships. Thailand also witnessed the creation of mutual assistance associations (MAA) in urban areas. Thai MAAs were a grassroots response to meeting basic needs.

118  Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom For example, in 1910 Chinese immigrants residing in the expanding city of Bangkok created the Poh Teck Tung Foundation to dispense medicine and provide burial services for Chinese without family. As was true for the Chinese diaspora elsewhere, such as Malaysia, Singapore and the United States (Guenter, 2011), the Poh Teck Tung Foundation was backed by a local Chinese clan organization. Just as many parts of the world were engulfed in political and social conflicts sparked by the Great Depression, so too did Thailand undergo dramatic political and social change in the 1930s. The monarchy which had reached its zenith of power under King Chulalongkorn (1853–1910) began to weaken as a consequence of power struggles within the royal family, weak kings and the growing appeal of democratic forms of government on the part of the educated elites. In 1932, a bloodless coup abolished the absolute monarchy and installed a constitutional monarchy form of government. Pridi Banomyong, a Thai academic educated in France and one of the coup leaders, drafted the first Thai Constitution which contained strong social welfare provisions based on Western models. The plan, however, was interpreted as socialism or communism by conservatives and military leaders and was eventually abolished by a coup that brought the military to power. The military installed Plaek Phibunsongkram as Prime Minister who established the first modern social welfare agency, the Department of Public Welfare under the Ministry of the Interior during his first military regime (1938–1944). The name of the Department in Thai is Krom Pracha Songkroh and the word ‘Songkroh’ literarily means to help or assist at will without obligation. Such help or assistance also implies the unequal statuses of the provider and the recipient. The early effort to create a formal, government-based social welfare system, remained limited because of slow policy-making, insufficient funding and the lack of a professional workforce necessary to administer social welfare programs. In the first period of modern Thai social welfare, the primary approach to welfare was typically government-based public assistance programs which received annual appropriations. Thai social welfare was best characterized as ‘residual’ in nature and did not play an active role in promoting the capacity of most Thais. This was especially true of programs to assist low-income and socially excluded groups in the rural poor and ethnic minorities. Government public assistance programs also faced administrative difficulties including the limited scope and scale of welfare services and benefits due to inadequate funding. Often times the demand for social welfare services exceeded the resources and organizational capacity available to provide them. Public assistance programs were operated by centralized policy-making and bureaucratically powerful government agencies located in Bangkok. This organizational structure was not always responsive to the local context and was largely unaccountable. The return to civilian rule ushered in the second era of social welfare from the 1990s with the passage of the Social Security Act 1990 (The Royal Thai ­Government Gazette, 1990) which provided risk coverage for registered employees in the private sector with insurance categories including worker’s

Thailand  119 compensation, sickness, disability, maternity, death and survivor insurance, retirement and unemployment. The Social Security Act also created family allowances for covered workers. The Labor Protection Act 1998 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 1998) provided labor welfare provisions for wage workers with measures on the working age, the minimum wage, working hours, working conditions and other labor welfare measures. Both the Social Security Act and the Labor Protection Act had limited reach because the majority of Thais worked in the informal and agricultural sectors and were not covered (International Labour Organization, 2012; Schneider et al., 2010). During the first decade of the new millennium, Thai social welfare policy expanded into new areas. A partial list of legislation illustrates this point. The Criminal Procedure Act (Volume 20th Adjustment) 1999 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 1999) and the Narcotics Addiction Rehabilitation Act 2002 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2002) sought to strengthen due process rights and to feature rehabilitation as a core element of the country’s drug policy. The Thai Parliament passed the Child Protection Act 2003 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2003b) that aligned child welfare practice with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and, in the same year, approved the Elderly Act 2003 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2003c) which expanded funding and programs for Thailand’s growing elderly population. Advocates for addressing domestic violence succeeded in getting the Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act passed in 2007 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2007) which created programs such as the One-Stop-Shop in health care settings to identify and treat victims. The Thai Parliament took action against the problem of human trafficking by enacting the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2008 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2008a) which allowed for victims to be placed in rehabilitation centers, not in immigrant detention. And finally, mental health advocates witnessed the passage of the Mental Health Act of 2008 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2008b) which devoted resources to deinstitutionalizing those with mental illness. Much of the expansion of social welfare programs and services occurred under Prime Minister Thaksin (2001–2006) and his allies who won national elections by wide margins. Responding to the alienation of rural and urban poor Thais from traditional political parties, Thaksin developed popular social welfare policies such as universal health care that addressed very real unmet needs yet at the same time used social welfare programs to cement his electoral majorities. This was a version of patronage, not at the transactional level, but at the symbolic level because those most helped by Thaksin’s policies knew full well he was responsible. The era of social welfare expansion also saw changes to Thailand’s public assistance programs. The Welfare Promotion Act of 2003 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2003a) further expanded the eligibility standards and scope of benefits welfare services and benefits to more recipients and, aiming for greater effectiveness and efficacy, the Thai government passed the Welfare Promotion Act 2003. Notably, the 2003 Act increased funding for social welfare programs

120  Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom through a combination of yearly appropriations and special earmarked taxes with some target groups receiving dedicated funding. As part of the Act, a National Welfare Promotion Board was established which significantly reformed the ­administrative structure of social welfare. Instead of relying exclusively on the government-sector to provide leadership and oversight, the membership of the National Welfare Promotion Board included representatives from civil society (NGOs), community welfare organizations and experts in welfare services, mostly from academia. The Board was responsible for promoting and supporting welfare in both public and private sectors by identifying target groups such as children, the elderly and the disabled. Perhaps more important, the Welfare Promotion Act developed other welfare models such as the ‘community welfare’ to encourage the local governments and the local communities to take their parts in the welfare system contributions. Along with this, the Welfare Promotion Act attempted to harness the power of civil society (namely, private, nonprofit organizations) which had increased in form and scope as a consequence of Thailand’s rapid economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s. Social welfare, which had heretofore been almost the exclusive responsibility of the state, emerged into a more pluralist system with government privatizing some of the services it had traditionally performed. That said, NGOs and community welfare organizations have developed slowly and are not yet widely recognized as a major welfare provider in the Thai system. Taking a page out of the populists’ playbook, the military juntas (2006 and 2014) used public welfare in their attempt to gain public support and legitimacy, especially among the poor who had been the base of Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party and its subsequent iterations. The military juntas expanded tax-based public assistance programs for the mass poor through programs such as monthly child and elder allowances, and the conditional and unconditional cash transfer programs as well as a ‘State Welfare Card’ for the poor.

Social work education In the Thai language, a word for social work is ‘sang khohm sohng khraw;’ ‘sang khohm means social or society and the word ‘sohng khraw’ is rooted in the Pali language word of ‘sang kaha’ or ‘sang kraw’ literally meaning to assist, to help, to aid ( and to synthesize. Thus social work in the Thai language means the act of social assisting in order to unify all members of society. The Buddhist way of life is open for equality to all human beings regardless of caste, sex and race. It teaches that all human beings are related and all equal. The meaning of social work in the Thai language is more or less a Buddhism faithbased practice in which the person performs ‘meritorious action,’ a common aim of all Buddhists. According to Buddhism, social work could be defined as ‘happiness’ or ‘human flourishing.’ Social work is about good and right action as its purpose is to augment the happiness and welfare or well-being of the community or society. The philosophy of Buddhist social work has to manifest inter-­ dependence among individuals, the economy, ecology/environment, society

Thailand  121 and morality. The idea is based on awareness of the inter-dependence among individuals and those surrounding systems-which all are in one unit (Techapalokul, ND). In this regard, Buddhism may be regarded as adapting without too much tension in terms of social work concepts such as social systems theory and person-­in-the-environment, though it might regard the ordering of the latter term as environment-in-the-person. Buddhism and society must be engaged, so that there is no dualistic split between spiritual and worldly domains, or an individual and a society. Consistent with this meaning, Buddhist social work is interested in solving problems in broader terms of social systems and the environment, rather than the problems of an individual. Practitioners also seek to interpret and adapt the methods in Buddhism to solve such social problems as injustice, environment degradation, violence, distorted income distribution and political oppression. The development of western-based social work education in Thailand is linked to the creation of formal social welfare policy beginning in the early 1940s. Continuing the practice of looking to the West for models of organization and education, the National Cultural Council created a western-­influenced social work training course in 1942 which later turned into a certificate program. As mentioned before, the driving force for social work education was the need to have a workforce trained to administer social welfare programs. Not surprisingly, most of the early cohorts of students came from public officers who worked for the Department of Public Welfare. Recognizing the global practice of situating social work education within institutions of higher education, in 1954 the National Cultural Council transferred the program to Thammasat University, a public university founded in 1934 with deep ties to political reform. Keen to play a significant role in social welfare, Thammasat University created the Faculty of Social Administration in 1954 to addressing the country’s workforce needs. The Faculty of Social Administration transformed the certificate program into a bachelor’s degree of social work in 1954. Over the ensuing decades, Thammasat University expanded social work education to include MSW and PhD degrees. In the 1980s a small social work program emerged as part of the Sociology Department at Chiang Mai University. A decade or so later (1994), Hua Chiew Chalermprakiat University, a private university in Bangkok, established the Faculty of Social Work and Social Welfare. In the new millennium, four new social work programs have been created at the Faculty of Social Science the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Prince of Songkhla University, and the Faculty of Humanities, Ramkhamhaeng University. In addition, there are two Buddhist universities, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and Mahamongkut University, that currently offer a Buddhist social work curriculum for both Buddhist monks and lay people who are interested in a Buddhist approach to social work education and practice. While social work education remains concentrated in Bangkok, the addition of a Thammasat University satellite program in Lampang and the Chiang Mai University program support social work in the north of Thailand and the Prince

122  Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom of Songkhla program serves the south. These seven schools of social work have been the main source of educating professional social workers in the twenty-first century to work in both public and private sector agencies in Thailand. As in most ASEAN countries, Thailand has had limited capacity for training professional social workers in Thailand: often times the educators themselves are not trained social workers. When Thammasat University created the Faculty of Social Administration in 1954, many of the faculty had to go abroad to earn social work degrees and then return to teach. This trend continues today. Thailand has also invested in faculty members taking a short course of study in foreign countries. The schools of social work and the social service agencies that implement models of practice are not yet working in concert. Field work practicum, which is an essential component of social work education, has not been adequately organized due to the weak linkage between these two parties. For example, in the criminal justice concentration at Thammasat University, social work students are interested in individual rehabilitative services to juveniles and young offenders in juvenile detention centers or correctional settings. These correctional settings provide welfare services for their inmates in the form of institutional or group welfare services rather than services tailored to the individual. The approach used by juvenile corrections is often at variance with the expectation of social work students who have studied case management and clinical interventions in the classroom. This is even more the case in other types of justice institutions such as the maximum security prison for adult offenders where security is the primary concern, rehabilitation programs and social work interventions are almost impossible. Most of the rehabilitation service for higher-level offenders focuses mainly on group rehabilitation programs such as educational and vocational rehabilitation services. There is little opportunity for field practicum students at these centers to apply individually-based, or even small group, clinical interventions. Additionally, social work faculty at institutions like Thammasat University have received little training or guidance about bridging the classroom-field divide. The same is true for field practicum supervisors. That said, there are some positive changes occurring. The Thai Association of Social Work (TASW), discussed below, has recently begun to develop workshops on supervision for field practicum supervisors in an effort to better bridge classroom learning and its real-world application. One such workshop introduced trauma-informed supervision as a topic.

Social work professional associations The Thailand Association of Social Workers (TASW), established in 1957, is an organization created to develop further professional social work. One important function of the TASW is to provide continuing education for social workers in the form of workshops and conferences. The TASW represents Thailand in the International Federation of Social Workers, the global social work organization.

Thailand  123 In addition to the TASW, Thai social workers have formed professional associations around fields of service such as mental health and medical social work. The TASW successfully advocated for the Social Work Profession Act 2013 requiring that all social work positions be held by persons with degrees in social work. The Welfare Promotion Act 2003 lacked an enforcement mechanism, so the TASW again lobbied to fully implement the policy. With the passage of the Social Work Profession Act of 2013 (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2013), Thai social workers are now required to obtain their license for practice from the Social Work Profession Council, a licensure body authorized by the Act and professional social workers also have to obtain their degrees in social work. In principle, the Act should lead to greater professionalization of social work. That said, key government agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security have resisted licensing because it greatly restricts the workforce at a time when social work programs have too few graduates to fill all the open positions. In 2014, the Thai Association of Social Work and Social Welfare Education (TASWE) began efforts to establish accreditation standards for social work education by creating the National Council of Social Work Education. Working with Thai social work programs, the National Council of Social Work Education has identified three specific objectives; to develop and promote social work and social welfare education, to support research and development of knowledge for social work and social welfare practices, and to support social work and social welfare networking at both national and international levels.

Social work research For the duration of much of its history, social work education has been embedded in Thai institutions of higher education that have emphasized teaching rather than research as their primary mission. Social work education in Thailand is similar to the other areas of professional education such as nursing and teaching in which graduates have been prepared to meet the workforce needs of the government. Traditionally, social work curricula stressed existing content, theory, skills and knowledge and did not include the preparation of students to generate new material via research. It was not until the 1990s that the Master of Social Work program at Thammasat University included social work research as one of the concentrations in its master’s degree program. MSW students who opt for the research concentration have more research methods courses than the other concentrations. The graduates of social work in the research concentration find jobs as either researchers or instructors in service agencies and higher educational institutions. In 1997 the Faculty of Social Administration at Thammasat University also created a doctorate in social work with a focus on preparing graduates to assume organizational or managerial leadership roles in government and NGOs. In form and structure, it resembled an ‘advanced’ practitioner degree such as the American DSW rather than a research degree.

124  Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom The relative absence of research as a core area of social work education has meant that the profession has largely relied on curriculum ‘imported’ from the West. Most of the social work literature, including textbooks, is in English which means that students must spend considerable time translating the material into Thai. In some instances, faculty members at Thammasat University have condensed and translated English-language textbooks and course materials for their students, although it is not clear how far these are adapted within a Thai cultural context in classroom teaching. These pragmatic issues, though important, are not as significant as is the dominance of the conceptual content of Western curriculum. The Cold War shaped the development of curriculum at the Faculty of Social Administration at Thammasat University when socio-economic development policy was influenced by the competing political ideologies of democratic liberalism and socialism or communism. It was influenced later by the global standards for education and training of the social workers established by the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and by membership in the regional organization, the Asian and Pacific Association for Social Work Education (APASWE). Although these social work educational organizations very much encourage the school members to integrate cultural and ethnic diversity into the local social work curriculum, the overall curriculum structure is congruent with the standards of the Western curricular frameworks for social work education. Most social work research can be classified as action, evaluation, or policy research funded by government, international NGOs such as UNICEF, and social service agencies. Some of the social service agencies operate their own in-house research units. For example, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security established the Office of Academic Promotion and Technical Support in 2002. (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2002). This department has the capacity to analyze, research and identify promising interventions to address specific problems or assist at-risk populations. ส่งเสร มิ และสนับสน นุ งานด า้ นว ชิ าการ องค์ความร ู ้ ข อ้ ม ลู สารสนเทศ The Office serves as a resource for consultation, provides social trend analysis and facilitates ideas for social development and strategic planning at the provincial level. เป น ็ ศ นู ย์ข อ้ ม ลู สารสนเทศด า้ นการพัฒนาส งั คมและความมั น ่ คงของมน ษ ุ ย์ ในระดับพ ื น้ ท ี ก่ ล มุ่ จังหวัด At the present time, clinical social work research in Thailand is not yet well developed. Part of this stems from the fact that clinical social work practice is still limited to a few public and private service agencies. The passage of the 2013 Social Work Profession Act requires licensed social workers to engage in evidence-based practice (The Royal Thai Government Gazette, 2013). This may prompt more research on the effectiveness of clinical interventions used by Thai social workers but it will likely take many years to accumulate enough findings based on varied methods to identify promising and evidence-based treatments. Much of this process will likely seek to document and calibrate or modify treatments developed elsewhere to better correspond with the Thai  context.

Thailand  125 Some of the processes will involve verifying interventions that specifically evolve or emerge from clinical practice in the country. Before Thai-­specific evidence-­ based research can take hold, it will require funding. Until then, the evidence used by Thai clinical social workers will continue to come from research based in the United States, the United Kingdom and other western countries. Moreover, Thai social workers will need workshops and seminars to enhance their understanding of the process of research and how to incorporate evidence-based practice into their work.

Southeast Asia and regional collaboration The creation of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has further fostered the development of social work in Thailand. A 2010 meeting of social welfare ministers from member countries resulted in the creation of the ASEAN Social Work Consortium (ASWC) the purpose of which is to create a regional approach to social work. As one of the ASEAN countries with a developed social work profession, Thailand has played a leadership role in the consortium by hosting the 3rd (2014) and 4th (2015) ASEAN Social Work Consortium Conferences. Presently Thailand is engaging in ongoing activities including: establishing the ASEAN Training Center for Social Work and Social Welfare; participating in ASEAN social work curriculum development and accreditation systems; organizing ASEAN Social Work Consortium workshops for ASEAN social workers, social work educators and schools of social work exchange programs; developing a human rights-based social work training manual; and using the Thai Social Work Profession Act and the professional licensure as models for other countries to follow. Thailand has also provided professional assistance to its immediate neighbors to develop social work education. For example, several members of the social development faculty from the National University of Laos have studied at Thammasat University. The strongest programmatic links have been made with Myanmar. In January 2016, representatives from Thailand’s various social work professional groups, universities and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security created a working group with the Myanmar Department of Social Welfare to create the first social work degree program in Myanmar. The degree program builds on the social work diploma program Myanmar had already created in collaboration with Yangon University. The Myanmar social work initiative is also supported by international NGOs such as UNICEF and Save the Children. The first regional World Social Work Day was organized at the UN Regional Headquarters in Bangkok in 2017. The International Federation of Social Workers-­A sia Pacific (IFSW-AP) and Asian and Pacific Association for Social Work Education (APASWE) and Thai social work organizations collaborated to make possible the theme-event ‘Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability.’ World Social Work Day in 2018 was once again celebrated at the

126  Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom UN Regional Headquarters in Bangkok and was supported and hosted by the Department of Social Development and Social Welfare, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. The following Case Examples demonstrate social work practice in Thailand.

Case Example 7.1  Buddhism in Social Work Practice Puntarigvivat (1998) has conducted an extensive survey of the Buddhist-­ based communities led by both the Buddhist monks and lay people in different parts of Thailand and found that there are numbers of such communities that apply Buddhist social ethics to improve the well-being of community members. For instance, in the Buddha-Kasetra community in northern Thailand a group of villagers has established a number of schools to educate and care for orphans, juvenile delinquents and economically deprived children in that region of Thailand. Its goal is to build strong Buddhist-­based communities in rural Thailand to fight poverty, consumerism and the structural exploitation created by a centralized bureaucratic government. The first Buddha-Kasetra school, established at Mae Lamong in the northern province of Mae Hong Sorn, began its self-support program by growing its own rice and vegetables, producing organic fertilizers and raising cows to produce milk for the school children as well as to supply milk at a cheap price to local communities. In other instances, the leaders of Buddhist Wats have developed social and health services for vulnerable Thai populations which go well beyond the usual function of temples. For example, Wat Phra Baht Nam Phu outside the town of Lopburi, Thailand, began providing care for people living with AIDS in 1992. For many Thais, the stigma of contracting AIDS meant they could no longer live with family members and were ostracized by their communities leaving them with few resources to deal with their declining health. Many ended up homeless, on the streets (Kubotani and Engstrom, 2005). Responding to the plight of people living with AIDS, Phra Alongkot Dikkapanyo converted Wat Phra Babt Nam Phu to serve as a refuge. The temple was equipped with a hospital staffed by health care volunteers to care for those who were critically ill and provided food and housing for others capable of self-care. Aside from meeting basic material needs, the temple provided residents with social support and spiritual care from monks who lived there. Perhaps equally important, the temple provided a Buddhist funeral service once a resident died. With the emergence of anti-­ retro viral therapies, the number of Thais living at the temple declined but at the height of the epidemic, it provided care to thousands of Thais and had a wait list as long as 10,000 persons. As recognition of his humanitarian work, Phra Alongkot Dikkapanyo received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Social Administration at Thammasat University in 1996

Thailand  127

Case Example 7.2  Formal Social Work Practice in an Institution – Corrections From a historical perspective on juvenile rehabilitation, Thai society treated juvenile and young offenders differently from adult offenders as a consequence of the political reform that led the change in the political system from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in the early 1930s. That reform shepherded in the practice of sending juvenile delinquents to vocational schools under the Primary Education Act 1935 or to reform schools under the Instruction and Training of Certain Classes of Children Act 1936 for treatment after trial instead of imprisonment. Under these policies treatment of juveniles was available only after a court order: there were no special provisions made for juveniles before adjudication. Juveniles were, therefore, detained in the same detention facilities as adult offenders and they were required to undergo the same court procedures as adults. The first juvenile and family court was established in Bangkok under the Juvenile Court and the Juvenile Court Procedure Act of 1951 which also created an observation and protection center under the jurisdiction of the new court. The juvenile offenders were rehabilitated mainly within the institutions for juveniles, the observation and protection centers or detention centers. Over the course of several decades, juvenile courts in Thailand have been expanded to the primary regional municipalities of the county; Song Khla in the south, Chiang Mai in the north and Khon Kaen in the northeast. The absence of a trained, professional workforce slowed down the expansion of juvenile and family courts into other more rural areas. The number of educators and psychologists, as well as social workers in rural and remote areas was too few to professionally staff all functions of juvenile courts. That said, rural areas used voluntary probation officers from informal network to supervise the juvenile offenders. This was in contrast with the large urban areas where probation officers were primarily trained social workers. The establishment of the Juvenile and Family Courts Act 1991 marked a new era for juvenile justice. The juvenile courts have expanded into all provinces throughout the country. The Act adopted the principle of the ‘best interests of the child’ with respect to the protection of children and their families found in the newly ratified Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN 1990).1 Children who violate the law are not regarded as criminal offenders. Rather because children are not fully developed cognitively and emotionally and are often the product of unsuitable social environments, the assumption is that their wrongdoings are not committed out of malice. Children are capable of rehabilitation under adult care and supervision and ought not to be punished for their acts. That said, the majority of juvenile offenders are under the institution-based and group rehabilitative services which do not always meet their needs.

128  Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom Recent changes to juvenile court policy stipulate the use of diversion programs through an individual-based rehabilitation plan instead of prosecution and adjudication. The diversion programs are informed by the principles of restorative justice which shape the rehabilitation plans and are developed through a family and community group conference. The individual rehabilitative measures may be applied for first-time juvenile offenders with minor offenses after the investigation stage where the diversionary conference is conducted at the observation and protection centers before prosecution. For a few of those with more serious offenses, the pre-sentence conference may be conducted at court after prosecution. These diversionary and pre-sentence conferences use restorative justice principles where the victims, the family and community members are often included in the conference and the rehabilitation plan. Social workers play a key role in the innovative restorative justice program for juveniles. As the conference facilitator and case manager in the family and community group meetings, social workers work with other professionals to develop and monitor the rehabilitation plan for juveniles. Oftentimes social workers who participate in the diversionary conference apply a strengths-based rehabilitation approach that focuses on the individual juvenile’s inherent strengths, resources and coping abilities. Juveniles are viewed as being capable of change and are partners and active participants in the changing process. The psychologist or social worker is not the problem-solver; the juveniles themselves are the problem-­solvers. The role of the social worker is not to fix juveniles but rather to help young people recognize, marshal and enhance their inherent strengths and abilities. With this strengths-based practice model, social workers use collaborative helping relationships to empower juveniles.

Conclusion Similar to the other parts of the world, the role and function of social work in Thailand has been to make the issue of socioeconomic inequality part of the public agenda. Thailand’s economic development and growth has not benefited all groups equally and subgroups of the population live in vulnerable situations. The general public discourse on vulnerability regards it as being primarily a consequence of individual, family or community weaknesses rather than the product of structural and institutional arrangements. Thai social workers have attempted to alter public discourse by pointing out that problems such as mental illness or substance abuse are rooted in the social environments in which people live. Poverty is not the result of character flaws of individuals but rather the product of social exclusion. By challenging societal biases, social workers have endeavored to offer a more complex and accurate explanation of social problems.

Thailand  129 Thai social workers have been among the other professions dealing with social exclusion through interventions ranging from micro to macro. At the micro level social workers are assigned to provide service as case workers for various target groups in different social legislations such as a child in the Child Protection Act, older person in the Elderly Act, a victim of human trafficking in the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, a victim of domestic violence in the Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act and so on. At the community level, Thai social workers have created community level interventions such as centers for the elderly and programs to teach traditional cultural practices to village children. Social workers engaged in community practice have fostered interventions to bolster village economies through sustainable agricultural practices and homestay programs for tourists. At the macro level, Thai social workers have joined other professions in tackling poverty through socio-economic development policy and combating poverty with particular human-centered strategies. For example, social workers are taking part in the government’s conditional cash transfer program for the poor as case managers who provide individual career development service to each recipient according to their interests and capacities. That said, the role of social work in development and poverty relief is not well recognized within the country. Efforts are being made to delineate the importance of involving the profession in addressing poverty and enhancing human function, as well as strengthening the delivery of social development services. Thai social workers, especially the majority who work in the government sector, have a strong sense of the shortfalls of public assistance and poverty programs. Despite efforts to make programs for marginal Thais more effective, the focus tends to be remedial and ad hoc rather than oriented to socio-economic development and poverty eradication. The approach advocated by Thai public sector social worker reformers is to shift from the state control model to a strengths-based approach that focuses on the individual, family and community’s inherent strengths, resources and coping abilities. Reformers argue that these different target groups should be viewed as being capable of change and be active participants in the change process. Accordingly, social workers are not the problem-solvers but the poor themselves are the problem-solvers. Through commitment to the promotion of social justice, Thai social workers should challenge negative discrimination, value diversity, challenge unjust policies and work in solidarity by challenging social exclusion, stigmatization or subjugation. The goal of Thai social work should be an inclusive society.

Taking it further 1 The Social Work Profession Act of 2013 calls for Thai social workers to use evidence-based knowledge to inform their interventions. The use of the evidence-based paradigm elevates western, scientific knowledge over local or indigenous ways of knowing. What steps can be taken to identify and disseminate local knowledge that is effective?

130  Decha Sungkawan and David Engstrom 2 Most Thais live in rural areas yet social work is concentrated in urban areas. Are there models from Asia that can be employed to create more social work programs in rural Thailand?

Note 1 The Convention can be consulted at various links. The following works well. nations_convention_on_the_rights_of_the_child.pdf?_ga=2.179021089.424713209. 1563445457-211787558.1563445457

Part II

Liberal democracies

8 Professional uncertainty among Japanese social workers Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro

In this chapter we assess and illustrate how Japanese social work has reached its present place and to what extent social workers have established a position as professionals in the context of Japanese social work. In the first section, we discuss how Japanese social work practice and education have developed within the wider historical, social and political contexts. In the follow section, we explore the extent to which Japanese social workers have developed their professional identity using the results of a study conducted in Japan. In the last section, we look into the nature and direction of research as a whole in Japanese social work.

Japanese social workers in social and political contexts Development of social work in Japan The history of modern Japanese social work can be traced back to the nineteenth century, when Japan was experiencing rapid economic development. After 260 years of self-isolation, Japan began industrializing in the 1870s, which resulted in radical social changes and widespread poverty. Early forms of charity can be found in Japan during this period, including providing food to and shelters for the poor. Christian missionaries, who had been prohibited during the period of national isolation for political reasons, began entering the country in the 1870s and established institutions for orphans and other needy individuals in urban and rural areas. Later, several large western organizations, such as The Salvation Army, settled in Japan (Kaneko, 2005: 210–211). Some Buddhist groups also organized charity activities. This first 50 years of Japanese modernization (1868–1918) was the era of famous pioneers such as Juji Ishii (child institutional care), Kosuke Tomeoka (care for youth offenders), Ryoichi Ishi (disabled children), Yuka Noguchi (child day care) and Gunpei Yamamuro (the Salvation Army). The rapid economic developments and social changes that occurred in the late nineteenth century required the government to tackle serious social issues. For example, labor disputes increased and there was social unrest as a result of rice riots in the 1910s. The Department of Domestic Affairs (The Home Office) attempted to achieve social stability by focusing on the potential contributions

134  Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro from various charity agencies, particularly in regard to youth, probation and community work. The Home Office and local governments sponsored charity organizations, which were the main services providers. Community officers were appointed on a voluntary basis from the local residents to support local governments in helping the poor (Kaneko, 2005: 215). The Chuo Jizen Kyokai (the national body of charity organizations) was established in 1908 and it called for more formalized and organized charity activities. The Social Work Act (The Shakai Jigyo Ho) was subsequently introduced in 1938 and it formalized public subsidies to private charity organizations (Kaneko, 2005: 217). During this period, Japanese charities were invited to tackle social issues, but it is also important to note that the relation between the public and voluntary sectors was often vertical rather than one of equal partners. GHQ (General Headquarters, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) was responsible for more radical changes to Japanese social work after the Second World War. Indeed, GHQ, led by General Douglas MacArthur, required the Japanese government to establish social services systems to secure minimum standards of living for all nationals on the basis of legal rights and not as charities. They banned the central and local governments from subsidizing non-­government bodies in return for service provision, so that the public responsibilities of social services could not be shifted to non-public bodies. However, the government was unable to provide personal social services on their own because they lacked professional staff and experience. Meanwhile, the voluntary sector faced financial difficulties as it could not receive subsidies in return for services (Furukawa, 2002; Kaneko, 2005). To resolve these issues, the government implemented a public referral system under the new Social Service Act of 1951. As a result, social service providers – including the public and voluntary sectors – came under government control and consequently had to follow strict regulations. Formal social services were simultaneously provided nationwide, despite the fact that various voluntary organizations continued to play a major role. The government implemented strict regulations regarding public responsibility for social service provision (Kaneko, 2005). Under this system, needs assessments were conducted in local welfare offices, after which the local governments would refer those in need to service providers, most of which were voluntary organizations. Since then, the national minimum standard of social services, including day care and institutional care for children and help for older and disabled people, was established. A common criticism, however, is that the voluntary sectors lost their independence and became a sub-system of the public sectors. The position of social work and social workers is clear. Local governments established social service departments and local welfare offices, where appointed public officials could deliver personal social services. The local government also established the children’s welfare office to address family and children’s issues, such as child maltreatment. National qualifications for social workers and care workers were introduced in the late 1980s. Social work professions usually work in these public institutions as well as with more direct service providers, such as residential care homes, hospitals, or community organizations. A survey on the

Japan  135 employment of certified social workers (the shakai fukushi shi) in 2015 indicated that 43.7% of them work in the area of social services for older people, followed by 17.3% in those for the disabled, 14.7% in the health service sector and 4.8% with children and families (MHLW, 2018). They play a key role in the assessment, decision and coordination of personal social service delivery. Japanese social service systems have developed in accordance with the growth experienced by the national economy since the 1960s. The main issue in social services has shifted from poverty to care issues and social services have gradually extended, generalized and sought to serve all (Furukawa, 2002). Facing a growing number of older individuals with more complex and demanding social needs, as well as having followed British developments in the 1980s and 1990s, Japanese social policies have tried to change the structure of social services from a resource-­ allocating system that is under public control to a more market-oriented system in which various service providers operate under contracts with users. The public long-term care insurance and care management system was introduced to support personal care plans and provide social care packages in the 2000s (Kaneko, 2005). Nevertheless, it remains a difficult task to specifically define what a social worker is and where they work in Japan. As social services have become more sophisticated, more detailed and more complex, the social work profession has begun to encompass the role of service coordinator, rather than just the traditional case worker.

The characteristics of Japanese social workers It seems that several trends and characteristics can be found specifically in regard to social work and social workers in Japan. The Japanese social work profession is officially defined as a profession of consultation and support for those in need, with coordinating social services (­A rticle 2, the Certified Social Worker and Certified Care Worker Act). They are expected to provide an assessment of individual needs and offer support under the public social service system. The client is placed at the center of this support process. Moreover, supporting people’s independent living is often seen as a role of social work (Furukawa, 2002: 219). While social workers are very sensitive to individuals’ needs, the social and structural problems surrounding their clients are often ignored. In other words, the Japanese social work profession is very interested in individual agency, such as a lone parent with children, but they are very reluctant to change the structures. This perhaps derives from the nineteenth century charity tradition, rather than from social activism. Associated with this, community intervention became a key concept among the professions. In regard to social care for the elderly and those with disabilities, community care has been promoted since the late 1980s (Furukawa, 2002). The ideological justification for this is welfare pluralism, but it is also clear that financial problems and controlling social expenditures are behind these policy developments. In Japan, community care means care by the community, not care in the community and thus the expectation is one of mutual aid

136  Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro among neighbors. In addition, promoting informal care in Japan often creates gender issues, since the vast majority of informal carers are women. Social workers have supported these policy shifts to promote the independent living of the elderly in terms of normalization. However, the concept of community in Japan historically has been a tricky one. Political conservatives have often mentioned the importance of community and family to justify cutting back social expenditures. The ideology of the Japanese style of welfare society, which called for extending the roles and responsibilities of the traditional family as well as mutual community supports, is in direct contrast to the western style of welfare state. However, the ideology of the Japanese welfare society has gradually lost ground due to significant social changes. Thus, promoting community care under a rapidly changing society is a major challenge for social workers in Japan. It is essential to note the rise of a contract culture and consumerism in Japanese social services (Furukawa, 2002; Hiraoka et al., 2011). Indeed, the social worker-­ client relation has gradually been replaced with a service provider-customer relation under the marketization of social services since the early 2000s. The introduction of public long-term care insurance has created a social care market, welcoming forprofit enterprise in addition to traditional non-profit care providers. Until then, service users were often defined as those who needed help and stigma and paternalism were seen as serious issues. It was necessary to change the image of social services to encourage people to take up more services. Consumerism has replaced the traditional concept of ‘client.’ Thus, the social work profession is expected to support service users in making decisions and social service contracts. As a result, it might become more difficult to define advocacy and the role of social workers. Partly as a consequence of this, it can be said that the role of social workers, and probably the whole of social services, has gradually fallen under the control of central and local governments through public funding. Many small organizations have made an effort to obtain public funding and service contracts so that they can run their business. There is more and more competition in the provision of social services and short-term subcontracts dominate, while an anti-­ government stance is rare. It is possible to argue that Japanese social workers exhibit limited interest in their working conditions. The labor market has experienced several deregulations and social service provision, as a result of the contract culture noted above, has started to be out-sourced. Many social workers are employed on a part-time basis, which inevitably leads to low wages and short-term contracts. Moreover, social care industries are undervalued in Japanese society and as a result they struggle to attract enough employees to run the services. In comparative studies, attention is often paid to culture and tradition and Japan is no exception. However, Japanese society rapidly changed during the first two decades of the twenty-first century. Women’s participation has increased and dual-earner and lone-parent households have become more common. The community has changed as well. While the few existing urban areas have attracted more people, many rural communities are disappearing due to

Japan  137 migration, population decline and ageing. Moreover, Japanese social work has struggled to counter the issues brought about by these social changes, including child poverty, child maltreatment and social exclusion as well as population issues such as an increase in the older population and low fertility rate. In addition, mental health issues amongst young people, such as school refusal and hikomori (social withdrawal), have become serious issues. Information about Japanese demographic trends is given in Chapter 1. The realities of social change have overwhelmed the rhetoric of culture and tradition. It is important to note that personal/individual needs are given more attention than cultural tradition in social work practice or social service programs. Finally, despite the rapid social changes and growing social issues, it seems that enough social work research has not been carried out in Japan. The problem can be seen as a division between social norms and social realities. We develop and assess the role of research in the final section.

Political aspects of social work professions in Japan It is possible to say that Japanese social workers have no strong political power, nor do they influence social policymaking. This fact should be understood within the context of the policy process, which is under a strong government influence (more exactly bureaucrats of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare initiatives). Today, it is rare for social movements started by the disabled and trade-unions to have any impact on policy processes. Thus, it appears that social workers engage in their duties without seeking to change the system. Historically, there have been many radical confrontations between the government and trade unions, especially during the 1960s and 1970s in Japan. Social workers, mainly from the public sectors, joined these radical actions to demand an increase in public spending on social services. The Asahi lawsuit case is a well-known example of a social movement in support of social services. Shigeru Asahi, who was a recipient of social assistance, sued the government for low levels of benefits in 1957(Kaneko, 2005). Many trade union and social workers supported him and this can be seen as a form of welfare rights movement. However, this form of protest is a relic of the past, partly due to the declining political power of trade unions and socialist parties. Conversely, workers in public sectors are often criticized for their misconduct and there have been several scandals involving public officials in the social services sector. As a result of financial difficulties, public officials are more likely to engage in cheating than to try to improve the take-up rate (Inaba, 2017). The weak political power of social workers is evident in comparison with the medical professions. Medical doctors, many of whom are private practitioners under public medical insurance, formed the Japanese Medical Association, which is a powerful lobbying group in Japanese politics. The JMA often exerts its power in policy making, such as through health services reforms. Japanese social workers are have much lower status in hospitals and medical institutions, as well as in national and local politics.

138  Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro Social work education in Japan It is worth examining the background of this situation with regard to Japanese social workers. The Japanese social work education system is a pivotal factor. Japanese social work education has emerged through social policy development. The current social work education system was established in the late 1980s, as was the relevant professional qualification. It is important to note that Japanese social work education began before the war in several universities, all of which were private institutions that had been established by Christian missions. Several public universities followed afterwards to educate future public officials in local government. Until the 1990s, when a national qualification system was introduced, a limited number of higher education institutions offered social work courses. Since the 1990s, more and more universities have begun to offer social work courses because they believed that more social work professionals would be necessary in an ageing society. The social work qualification is a national qualification that is granted to individuals upon the completion of certified courses. Currently, 273 universities and colleges offer the courses necessary to attain the national qualification. All candidates need to pass the national examination, which is held annually upon completion of the required courses. In other words, Japanese social work education is strictly administrated through a certified curriculum and national examination. A similar qualification system can be found in health professions, such as medical doctors and nurses. The current social work education system started in 1989 and extended the teaching content and placement requirements. Japanese social work education follows a general curriculum that covers a wide range of subjects. Social work theories and skill trainings are mainly based on US developments of these subjects. In regard to the main curriculum, it is possible to argue that more attention is paid to individual needs than social structures. It should also be noted that the subject of social action is missing in Japanese social work education (Kora, 2017). The career prospects of newly qualified social workers vary from the public to the voluntary sector and from social security management to hospitals and care institutions. As Japanese personal service sectors employ many non-qualified social workers and care workers, who are often engaged in the same duties as qualified social workers, it is challenging to define ‘social worker’ within this context.

Professional uncertainty among Japanese social workers Having discussed how Japanese social work and social work education have developed within a wider cultural, historical and political context, the following section offers a fairly extensive account of practitioners’ professional identity as social workers, in relation to post-qualifying learning. Little research has been conducted on this subject, both in Japan and elsewhere in East Asia. Thus, to better understand the nature of social work practice and whether or not it is distinctive to Japan or East Asia, this kind of research will be required more extensively. After qualifying as social workers, each social worker continues to

Japan  139 learn by engaging in practice within their specific work context and further establishes their own professional identity throughout their career. In this section, we explore how the development of a social worker’s professional identity is interconnected with their post-qualifying learning. We draw on a study (Asano, 2018) that sought to examine how experienced social workers continued to learn within the context of Japanese social work. During the interviews – focus groups and one-to-one interviews – each participant was asked to talk about specific examples of where they felt they had learned something that had significantly affected them as a social worker. The interviews revealed more than the social workers’ learning experiences, as it became clear that talking about actual learning experiences prompted them to reflect on their professional identity as social workers. During the interviews, many participants discussed challenges and struggles they had confronted. The findings indicate that these challenges and struggles were closely related to their professional identity as social workers. Here we will use the term ‘professional ways of being’ (Dall’Alba, 2005, 2009; Sandberg and Pinnington, 2009) to refer to professional identity. In the following, we will see how the social workers in the study dealt with challenges and how these struggles shaped their learning and developed their professional ways of being within the context of their work. In the interviews, some of the participants hesitated to refer to themselves as social workers, as noted by one social worker, Mayumi:79 ‘Although I have around ten years of experience in the sheltered workshops for those with learning disabilities as a qualified social worker, I would probably say that I do not identify myself as a social worker.’ This resonates with Takuya’s comment that I qualified as a social worker about 10 years ago. However, I feel like I just got the qualification. I mean that what I do in my daily practice seems far different from what social workers are expected to do as professionals. Based on these comments, it is evident that a dissonance exists between the speakers’ assumptions about the role of social workers and what they practice in an actual work setting – which causes them to hesitate when referring to themselves as social workers or even identify themselves as social workers. Here the question seems to arise as to how the participants view the role of social workers as professionals within a Japanese context. In the following example taken from an interview with Yukio, who had worked for a sheltered workshop for those with learning disabilities, he poses a challenging question when considering the role of social workers in his working context: I wonder what it’s like to be a professional social worker from the perspective of service users … I often wonder if our service users and carers see us as professionals, with our own particular expertise. Yukio seems to doubt his professional identity as a social worker. He calls into question social workers’ professional expertise when handling service users and/

140  Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro or carers in day-to-day practice. Many participants echoed Yukio’s comment to some degree when discussing the challenges and struggles they face on a daily basis. While the challenges and struggles expressed by the participants vary widely according to their own working context, it became obvious that the ‘uncertainty’ which surrounded social work was commonplace. It may be argued that uncertainty is key to understanding the challenges and struggles faced by social workers within the context of Japanese social work. Thus, a focus will be placed on the issue of uncertainty from the two aspects identified: the role of social workers and value-based practice.

Role of social workers Invisible work It is first necessary to consider how social workers define themselves as professionals. Because social workers’ roles depend on their working context, this can create role confusion, as expressed by Akira: ‘Social workers coordinate available resources and develop relations among others, so I would say that what we actually do in practice tends to be invisible.’ In this study, many of the participants noted that they often felt that their work went unnoticed. In the example of Mari, a school social worker in a middle school, she pointed out that her colleagues had a difficult time seeing the value of her work: (t)he student is the one who plays the leading role, and also the family who supports the student. Then the school provides them with help. Thus, I find myself playing a supporting role, a coordinating role. I would say that I am just the person behind the scenes. While the social workers expressed feeling uncomfortable with the nature of invisibility in the role of social workers, many of them further noted that this lack of visibility could lead to their receiving less recognition as a professional among other helping professionals. The findings indicate that working with other helping professions in day-to-day practice tended to lead social workers to reflect on their professional role in different ways. The following extract from Tomoko— who worked for a mental health institution—captures this point well: (i)n the mental health field, I work with other professions in my day-to-day practice, including medical doctors, nurses and counselors. In such a situation, I firmly believe it is important to have an understanding about what social workers are. She goes on to say, (w)hen I come to think of the fact that other helping professions might not understand what social workers do, and even doubt whether social workers

Japan  141 are really needed or not, I really find myself needing to learn more, and also to think hard about our professional expertise. Thus, the nature of invisibility in their professional role challenged them and such challenges had considerable implications for their way of being a social worker. Yukio described his personal belief about the role of social workers: I wonder if there are any differences between qualified social workers and unqualified social workers. Through our daily work, I often find myself considering that sort of thing … Of course, if you had some practical experience, there would be a difference between you and someone who has little to no practical experience. However, when it comes to how well you can communicate with others, I feel like it boils down to something about you, not your practical experience. I wonder if I face service users as a qualified social worker, or just as a person without such a qualification. Yukio expressed doubts about his particular expertise as a professional. Through his career as a social worker, Yukio found himself basing his practice, not on expertise, but on himself as a person. The findings reveal that many of the participants also experienced doubts about their particular expertise as professionals. In considering the role of social worker further, there seem to be several crucial points in the following extract from Satoko who describes her learning experience in the US: (i)n the US, when I talked with a school social worker, I felt that there was a big difference between social workers in the US and social workers in Japan. This is because, I suppose, that in the US social workers seem to establish a professional identity. Whereas in Japan, I felt hesitant to say, ‘I am a social worker’ with confidence in front of them. Frankly speaking, I found myself not having any expertise as a social worker although I had worked as one for about five years. Through these learning experiences, Satoko regarded herself as having less expertise than social workers in the US who seemed to her to have more of a professional identity. This made her feel uncomfortable referring to herself as a social worker. Satoko explained further about the differences in the role of social workers between the US and Japan: (e)specially in the USA, I think that the main role of social workers is to interview, counsel, and coordinate. Social workers appear to be more specialized, so I would probably say that what social workers do seems very explicit. Regarding other helping professions, for example, speech therapists do only speech therapy. Each of the helping professions has a distinctive role and provides service users with distinctive services … In the social work field in Japan, social workers are usually required to perform multiple roles. Although I have a full workload, the proportion of my tasks that focus on interviewing or counseling is tiny.

142  Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro For Satoko, the role of social workers in the US appeared to be more clear and explicit; there was a more clearly defined ‘boundary’ with other helping professions, compared to the role she played in her day-to-day practice in Japan. This seems to suggest that a vague boundary between the role of social workers and other helping professions is what results in the previously mentioned nature of invisibility when practicing social work. As a result of this, some social workers may be hesitant to refer to themselves as social workers.

Gap between existing and developing identity In regard to the role of social workers, it is important to note that, while the participants brought their identity – which had been developed before qualifying as social workers – to their practice, they established it through engaging in practice in their working context over the course of their career. Thus, it seems reasonable that professional identity for social workers is not only something that emerges through their practice, but also something that in turn shapes their practice. Many of the participants mentioned a gap between what they had learned in university and what they actually undertook as a social worker in their working context. One of the social workers, Mayumi – who had worked for a sheltered workshop for those with learning disabilities – described the gap between her assumption about the role of social workers and the role she played on a daily basis: (i)n my job, I have little opportunity to play a coordinating role. In our organization, my main role is to support and enable our service users to engage in work, so it is really important to make sure that they can earn wages. Mayumi had learned in university that coordinating services for service users is one of the leading roles that social workers are expected to deliver. However, she did not find herself performing this role in her work setting, which discouraged her from identifying herself as a social worker. This point seems to be reflected in the account of Satoko: (t)he thing is, I think, that there is a huge gap between what we learned in universities and what we need to do as social workers in an actual practice setting. That seems to lead us not to find our way after working as social workers. For example, I ask myself what is my identity as a social worker, or ask myself if I am really a social worker. In my case, I tried to understand that what I learned in university is only part of the role I need to play in an actual practice setting. Thus, we can observe the dissonance between their existing identity, which had been developed in university, and the identity they developed by engaging with actual practice in their working context. It can be argued that such a gap may cause social workers to question their existing assumptions about the role they play and even lead to professional uncertainty.

Japan  143 Value-based practice Uncertainty about evidence Having discussed challenges and struggles related to the role of social workers, we now move on to the other aspect of uncertainty that the social workers were faced with in their day-to-day practice: value-based practice. The findings indicate that the social workers found themselves in a situation that causes them to be uncertain about ‘evidence’ on which their judgements are based in day-today practice. Mayumi, who had worked for a community support center for the disabled, expressed it in the following way: I was wondering about the information I got directly from a service user, so I made sure of that information by asking a social worker who worked for the organization that service user attended. As a result, it turned out that what I got from the service user is different to information the organization had … I find it really tough to deal with such an issue. In engaging in day-to-day practice, evidence that practitioners look for and utilize as resources in making judgements can vary widely. This point was echoed by many of the social workers in that they tended to feel uncertain about evidence, as encapsulated in the example of Toshie who also had worked for a community support center for the disabled. When I write case records, I find myself writing only some part of information about service users to which I pay more attention or that I catch, even though I try to understand service users thoroughly in interviews. I would probably say that I seek information just related to something that seems to me to be an issue for service users. On the other hand, it would be likely that I focus on an issue itself in a wrong way. Toshie described herself as coming to develop such an awareness of uncertainty about evidence that she finds in her way through getting involved in a professional development program organized by a professional association: (w)hen I talked about a case in such an opportunity, I got quite different feedback about it from social workers who worked in different fields, such as the field of older people. I find that social workers tend to get greatly affected by the field where they work. Therefore, social workers understand things from their own point of view, I mean that a social worker in one field puts particular stress on one aspect of things, but little on other aspects according to practice fields. This awareness led to her way of practice being challenged and questioned as a professional: ‘I found myself becoming keenly aware of my incapacity, in ways that I don’t really understand things in practice. That made me feel powerless.’ Thus, Toshie was uncomfortable to a considerable degree with uncertainty about

144  Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro evidence on which her judgements are based in day-to-day practice; though how much the social workers felt uncomfortable with uncertainty about evidence was relative to each of them. Social work practitioners base their judgements on various kinds of evidence in different ways. What practitioners put a value on as professionals can have implications for their judgements in a given situation. Mari described her experience where she had worked as a social worker in a non-profit organization that provided family reunification programs for abused children who were in an institution for children and their families: (a)lthough each staff member tries to share information about children and their family, I find that a staff member who is in charge of children tends to see a case from the viewpoint of children. On the other hand, a staff member in charge of family sees it from the viewpoint of family … Despite pursuing the same aim of family reunification, we often become aware of the fact that we see things in different ways. As summed up well by Mari, evidence can be understood in relation to a working context – which can lead to uncertainty about evidence in day-to-day practice. The above examples seem to demonstrate that how evidence is gathered and weighed in making judgements in day-to-day practice can be relative to each practitioner. It can be argued that the social workers rely on their assumptions about evidence as the basis of their judgement, which can lead to value conflicts with others – which will be discussed next.

Value conflicts with others In the interviews, the social workers discussed finding it challenging to engage in a case in which they are in conflict with others – fellow social workers, other helping professions, service users, carers, etc. Among others, many of the social workers tended to find themselves in conflict with other helping professions. The following extract from Aoi, who had worked for a social care organization for older people as a care manager, seems to capture this point well: I find it really important for each helping profession to share a basic idea of what support they believe is needed for service users or carers on a dayto-day basis. I find it possible to cooperate based on a shared idea. On the other hand, in cases where the ideas are different, it is necessary to seek a compromise with other helping professions, which I find is the toughest part of cooperating with others. Aoi coordinated community services for older people in need, which required her to cooperate with other helping professions, such as medical doctors, nurses and care workers in her day-to-day practice. Aoi highlighted that value conflicts with other helping professions often flared up in day-to-day practice: I find things get more complicated when issues of value are involved. As a result, community services are not always well provided for service users,

Japan  145 who should receive the most attention from professionals. This is the most stressful thing for me. Each helping profession places a different value on engaging in practice. In such a working context, social workers tend to see their role as less clear than other helping professions’ roles. It can be argued that such value conflicts with others led them to question their underlying assumptions about their way of practice and professional ‘ways of being.’ This section discussed how social workers handle the uncertainty embedded in their day-to-day practice through two aspects of it: the role of social workers and value-based practice. As discussed, the issue of uncertainty can entail uncertainty regarding their identity as social workers within the context of Japanese social work. The extent to which they felt uncomfortable with this uncertainty and how they addressed this issue varied widely from one social worker to another. Thus, it can be argued that uncertainty in practice can be a mirror through which social workers can reflect on themselves as professionals.

Towards ‘certainty:’ from ‘invisible’ to ‘visible’ On the other hand, within a context of professional practice, uncertainty can be regarded as something that should be managed and controlled, or even avoided – which is strongly reflected in the evidence-based-practice (EBP) movement. In the social work field, the quest for certainty has been prompted through various regulations, such as in relation to managing risk and error and enhancing the certainty of ‘outcomes.’ This applies to the context of Japanese social work. There has been an attempt to eliminate uncertainty embedded within practice through increasing emphasis on ‘evidence’ and ‘outcomes’ (Shibano, 2005, 2011. See Case Example 8.1). Within these managerial environments, social workers’ roles as professionals seem to comply with ‘standardized’ procedure. The findings indicate that social workers are working in increasingly changing environments, which requires the regulation of processes and procedures of practice. Mayumi described the implication of a community support system for the disabled being reformed by the state: (u)nder the new community support system for the disabled, we must comply with the rules imposed, which require organizations to clarify how they provide services for their service users. Thus, social work organizations need to disclose information about their services. Before the community support system was created for the disabled, the way in which social work organizations provided services remained ‘invisible’ to some extent. The current climate of regulation involves making processes and procedures ‘visible’ in all fields of practice. As suggested by Mayumi, this is a shift towards increased visibility. Also, this shift can be seen in the language of accountability. In the sense of organizational accountability, it can be argued that various regulations entail a quest for certainty as a way to manage practice.

146  Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro

Case Example 8.1  Accountability and Uncertainty In today’s rapidly changing working environments, what Beck (1992) has termed ‘the risk society’ underlies the search for certainty – which has had considerable implications for professional practice in various fields. Indeed, in a ‘risk society’ professional autonomy is challenged by the idea that practitioners must be held accountable for risk management. It can also be argued that increasing regulations for the way of practice implies a lack of trust in practitioners (Evetts, 2008). In the social work field, Littlechild (2008: 666) has noted that distrust of social workers ‘has been clearly evidenced by the increasing tendency of government to issue reductivist checklists for social workers to follow’ in the UK. Those checklists require social workers to assess potential risk on a set range of predetermined criteria, to try to either prevent uncertainty or minimize it as much as possible in everyday practice – which can lead to a standardized way of practice, while imposing restraints on practitioners’ discretion. As Healy (2009: 402) has noted, professionals are required to ‘provide evidence of their capacity to manage risk through reference to a scientific evidence base’ to maintain professional credibility. On the other hand, ‘professions that are reliant on interpretivist or critical approaches to knowledge development, such as social welfare professions, are vulnerable to devaluation’ (Healy, 2009: 402), though of course there are many who would not agree that social work is reliant in this way. However, due to the complex and multi-layered nature of social work practice, as Littlechild (2008) has discussed, the attempt to control risk and error can, arguably, be limited in that practitioners can dismiss another possible aspect of something associated with practice if it is not part of the listed criteria.

Furthermore, the inferences from the research drawn on in this chapter imply that the current climate of regulation should also entail that social workers comply with specific professional requirements regarding professional development. Keiko illustrated this in her account: (o)ur duties have been increasing year after year as related policies change, so we need to deal with those duties. Also, we need to improve our knowledge and skills as professionals in such a working environment. However, I don’t have enough time and cannot afford to deal with all these things. In addition to the fact that social workers need to change their way of practice according to the regulations that are imposed, they are required to continue learning as professionals. In Japan, after having qualified, social workers need to participate in specific professional development programs to sustain their ­careers80 – in a similar way to most countries where social work is established.

Japan  147 However, the majority of the participants in the study found it challenging to fulfil all of the requirements imposed on them. Thus, within the managerial environments, it can be argued that the quest for certainty has had considerable implications for their learning as well as their way of practice and further for their professional ways of being as social workers in the context of Japanese social work.81 While this begins to offer a fuller understanding of how social workers manage their roles, it is less straightforward to relate uncertainty over evidence and values to the central themes of this book. However, it is possible that an occupational social work culture of the kind that exists in Japan – a melding of strong Western frames of reference with a relatively well-defined sense of national d ­ istinctiveness – is more acutely likely to create endemic uncertainty.

Social work and social welfare research identity Lastly, we discuss a remaining question about social work and social welfare research identity in Japan by observing journal articles published from 2014 to 2018 in the Japanese Journal of Social Welfare issued by the Japanese Society for the Study of Social Welfare (JSSSW) – which is the largest academic society in the social work and social welfare field in Japan.82 Though almost all the articles83 are in Japanese, which restricts readership to Japanese-speaking scholars, there were 143 articles in total during the period. First, out of the 143 articles, 94 (66%) articles took the form of empirical research. 42 (45%) articles were quantitative research and 51 (54%) articles were qualitative research (just one article was mixed methods). Second, we attempted to group all the articles with the classification scheme developed by Shaw et al. (2013), which is based on two dimensions – on whom is the focus of research and what is the primary issue or problem addressed through the research. As space is limited, we simply summarize the nature and direction of social work and social welfare research as a whole on each of the dimensions. The first dimension consists of three categories – actual or potential service user populations; people in their capacity as members of wider communities; and members of policy or professional communities (Shaw et al., 2013).84 In the first category – 48 (33.6%) of the 143 articles – 16 (11.2%) articles were classified into ‘Adults/children with health/disability difficulties (including learning disabilities);’ 11 (7.7%) articles into ‘Children, families, parents, foster carers;’ 10 (7%) articles into ‘Old people.’ Seventeen (11.9%) articles came into the second category (People in their capacity as members of wider communities). In the third category – 52 (36.4%) articles – 26 (18.2%) articles were classified as about ‘Social work practitioners/managers;’ 11 (7.7%) articles focused on ‘Joint social work and other professional communities/agencies; and 9 (6.3%) primarily on ‘Policy, regulatory or inspection community.’ On the first dimension, 26 (18.2%) articles of the 143 articles were not applicable to any categories. Assessing this over against social work in Japan as a whole, one apparent dissonance is the extent to which practitioners and agencies are focused on the

148  Takahiro Asano and Michihiko Tokoro consequences for practice of the ageing population, while relatively few research studies focused on that area. On the second dimension – the primary issue or problem – the articles can be grouped as follows. 24 (16.8%) ‘Understand/explain practice or promote good practice in social work/social care organizations, programs and/or management.’ 23 (16.1%) ‘Understand/explain issues related to risk, vulnerability, abuse, identity, coping, challenging behavior, separation, attachment, loss, disability or trauma.’ 18 (12.6%) ‘Understand/develop/assess/evaluate social work practices, methods, or interventions.’ 18 (12.6%) ‘Demonstrate/assess the value of comparative, cross-national, cross-cultural research and of cultural distinctiveness/awareness.’ 15 (10.5%) ‘Understand/assess/strengthen user/carer/citizen/community involvement in social work; community organization, partnership; empowerment.’ 14 (9.8%) ‘Describe, understand, explain, or develop good practice in relation to social work beliefs, values, cultural heritage, political positions, faith, spirituality or ethics.’ 12 (8.4%) ‘Understand/explain issues related to equality, oppression, diversity, poverty, employment, housing, education and social exclusion.’ Several issues were not much addressed. These included research on ‘nationhood, race, ethnicity, racism’(no articles), ‘the form and significance of the family’ (no articles), ‘develop theorizing’ (no articles), ‘gender and sexism’(1 ­a rticle), the ‘practice and quality of social work research’ (1 article), and ‘learning and teaching about social work’ (2 articles). However, four articles dealt with issues concerning disaster – earthquake and typhoon. While we have touched in a fairly summary way on the nature of social work research in Japan, we can suggest one or two areas where the focus is distinctive to Japan or at least to certain parts of Asia. Articles that deal with disaster are, for example, almost entirely absent in the study in the West that offers the most direct comparison (Jobling et al., 2017). However, further work needs to be carried out to understand the nature, strengths and limitations of social work and social welfare research in Japan.

Taking it further Having read the chapter, especially the second section – Professional uncertainty among Japanese social workers – consider how the issue of uncertainty can have implications for day-to-day practice and for the professional identity of social workers within a working context in your country.

9 Social work education in the making of a welfare state South Korea’s experience Ok Kyung Yang, Bong Joo Lee and Kyo-seong Kim South Korea is a well-developed welfare state. Like most modern countries, South Korea also went through an industrialization period, experienced the democratization movement, welcomed the globalization era and has since moved into the digital age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. South Korea began modernizing in 1945, after gaining independence from Japan. However, it was placed under US military rule for several years because of the Korean War. Subsequently, South Korea came under authoritarian rule for nearly 20 years, which was justified on grounds of national restoration and prosperity. This continued until 1987, when the democratization movement swept the country and brought democracy to South Korea. Present-day South Korea may be described as a liberal democracy that has enjoyed economic growth alongside political development. GDP per capita, which was only $3,511in 1987 (World Bank, 2019), more than tripled to $12,134 in 1997 pre-financial crisis and grew to $29,744 in 2017 (Statistics Korea (KOSTAT), 1990–2016).85 During this time, concurrent developments in social work education, social work practice and social welfare policies have helped move the country towards a welfare state. In 2018, 11.1% of GDP was spent on social work services and programs (Ministry of Health and Welfare [hereafter MOHW], 2019, 3). This chapter discusses the importance of social work education in developing South Korea’s social work practice field and welfare policies. In particular, it outlines the influence and impact of social work education on the country’s social work profession and social services, programs and policies, and vice versa.

The development of social work education in South Korea Emergence Social work education began in 1947 at Ewha Womans University. The university, established in 1886 by the American Mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was recognized by the government in 1946 as the first university in South Korea. The following year, Ewha established the Department of Christian Social Work (which was renamed the Department of Social Work in 1957, separating social work from theology) with 20 students and three professors (Ewha Womans

150  Ok Kyung Yang et al. University, 1997: 8). For 11 years, Ewha housed the only social work department in Korea until Seoul National University launched a graduate-level program in 1958 (Seoul National University, 2009: 24–25). Subsequently, both the Christian Theology College and Seoul National University set up social work departments in 1958 and 1959 respectively. Joong Ang Theology Seminary (later renamed Kang Nam University) also started a social work training school program in 1953. By the 1960s, five universities such as Chung-Ang University, The Sung Shim Women’s University (later Catholic University of Korea) and Seoul Women’s University would also have their own social work departments (KCSWE, 2018). As founding members of the Korean Council of Social Welfare Education (KCSWE hereafter), these universities are regarded as South Korea’s pioneers, leading and shaping social work education and practice. This pioneer group is characterized with three traits: the Christian relationship, US curriculum orientation and university level start-up. Except for Seoul National University, all eight universities had a Christian relationship. The foundation philosophy was Christianity as with the case of Ewha Womans University. Even the individual founders of two universities, Chung Ang University and Seoul Women’s University were Christians themselves. Social work in an education setting was a new concept introduced through Christian philanthropic practice. US missionaries and Koreans with US educational backgrounds introduced American social work curricula and contents to South Korea. And this resulted in a philanthropically residual and clinical orientation until European influence came to play an important role in dividing social work into two tracks: clinical social work and social policy. All social work departments were established at the university-level except Joong Ang Theology Seminary. Social work was actively and professionally developed in academia. In fact, social work was one of the first established academic fields in South Korea. The 1950s and 1960s were a tumultuous period in South Korea, as the nation was embroiled in the Korean War. The newly established government relied heavily on foreign aid to restore the war-torn nation and resolve its social problems (Kam et al., 2002, 370). As South Korea lacked the capability to address these new social risks, war orphans, widows and sick people were often left with no proper care. Voluntary private service agencies of foreign aids operating at the time decided to adopt the intervention method in their social work practice. They needed trained native social workers and began to hire university graduates and universities were needed to educate and train social workers for hire.

Early development During the 1970s and early 1980s, 15 universities including Busan National University, Yonsei University and Kyungbuk National University launched their social work departments (KCSWE, 2018). This marked the expansion of social work and the start of a new era of social welfare in South Korea. As mentioned earlier, social work was dominated by universities and enlargement of social work departments was a sign of development of social work and welfare nationally.

South Korea  151 As society developed, social work programs were needed and more universities were established as a response. There have been three revolutionary changes in South Korea’s social work education. First, the universities acceded to the government’s demand to broaden the program boundaries. This reform began in 1973, with the shift in focus from department to majors that required students to choose a major with minor or double majors. During this time, the number of social work major students was reduced. This sounds quite paradoxical, when the universities increased and the number of students decreased. It was because fewer students chose social work as their major. This reform did not last long. In 1982, all the universities returned to a departmental system. Second, the government ordered the universities to raise their entrance quota by 30% in 1982 with an allowance for returning to the department system. This resulted in a large increase of social work students and graduates from 1987. Third, most of the 15 universities launched social welfare departments in the early 1980s. Universities with existing social work departments such as Seoul National University, Chung-Ang University and Busan National University, took the opportunity to change their department names to Social Welfare. While empirical evidence is not readily available, it is commonly accepted within the social work community that these universities welcomed the integration of the European social welfare policy-oriented education with the American practice-oriented social work education. This was the sign of welfare state development in the nation. The co-existence of departments of social work and departments of social welfare changed the direction and orientation of South Korea’s social work education. Now, social policy, social administration and social work were all covered under one roof. In some countries like the UK, social policy, while often in the same school or department as social work, is a distinct discipline, sometimes with social work as a junior partner. In South Korea, however, all three are integrated in one department of either social work or social welfare. While this was a welcome move, the integration of parallel tracks of social policy and practice social work in one discipline proved challenging. This early development period also marked another important historic turning point: the development of a legal framework for social work practice. The Social Welfare Services Act was enacted in 1970 and revised in 1983. It provided the authoritarian government with a means to justify its rule of military forces. In fact, the government coined a slogan ‘Establishment of Welfare State’ and set many newly enacted and revised welfare related acts. Some of the major acts were the Child Welfare Act revised in 1981, the Act for the Elderly and the Act for the Handicapped (later Disabled) enacted in 1981. However, this was judged to be only propaganda, since the military ruling government had little intention to formulate actual welfare programs. In the Social Welfare Services Act, the social worker was referred to as a social welfare service worker and recognized as official personnel by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. While both ‘social work’ and ‘social welfare’ are, when translated to Korean, foreign, ‘social work’ is understood as more like service and program delivery level, whereas ‘social welfare’ is understood as more like policy level.

152  Ok Kyung Yang et al. The Ministry certified university graduates as well as individuals with the requisite training from government-qualified agencies; these individuals were categorized into Grades 1, 2 and 3, based on their education level. University graduates were automatically certified as Grade 1, while Grades 2 and 3 were conferred on those with equivalent education provided by government-qualified agencies. The Act also identified the social welfare service center as playing a major role in implementing social work programs. Moreover, running a center and providing services were identified as important functions of a social worker. Prior to the Act, there were only 22 community social welfare services centers. With the implementation of the Act, this number rose to 464 nation-wide in 2017 (KASWC, 2018). Law enactment, legalization of the social welfare worker and greater emphasis on social welfare are key factors that led to a monumental shift in social work programs during this period.

Expansion of social work education 1987 was a turning point for South Korea as it was the year it became a liberal democracy. Under the democratic government, the South Korean economy grew rapidly. But all this would soon change in 1997, when South Korea was hit with the widening Asian financial crisis and the government had to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help. The crisis coincided with a spike in the supply of university graduates, especially those with social work degrees. Between 1985 and 2000, 58 universities and colleges established a social welfare department (KCUE, 2018). Most universities also launched graduate programs that allowed full-time social workers to study at night. This expansion had a great impact on social work education and the practice field as well. While South Korea made a firm transition to liberal democracy, the 1997 financial crisis hit the nation sharply. It resulted in massive layoffs and reduced the incomes of many employees. With this widening financial crisis, the nation would soon experience new social risks. Many families broke up as a result and unemployed laborers joined the homeless on the streets. Natural and informal family-oriented support networks collapsed and could no longer function as safety-nets in the wake of the crisis (Yang, 2004). This situation resulted in increasing calls for social welfare and required new approaches to address those new issues. This led to the development of many social welfare programs that served as emergency relief. In response to this national crisis, three approaches were adopted. First, the Protection of Minimum Living Standards (PMLS) Act was replaced with the National Basic Living Security (NBLS) Act in 1999. This brought some relief to those who suffered from sudden layoffs and family break-ups. Social welfare services were actively provided and this produced more social work job positions. Many social workers were hired by public welfare offices and social welfare centers to provide services and counseling. This marked the beginning of an era where the social work profession paid more attention to poverty issues and public social workers were employed by the local government and placed in public civil offices to address poverty issues. They would serve the role as a professional

South Korea  153 workforce in public welfare and administration (KSSWA, 2018) with the active intervention of the government. There were only 3,000 public social workers initially, but the number has grown at the time of writing to 21,000, with the noticeable shift towards public welfare services. Such increase of local government employment continued for a while especially in major cities like Seoul. Second, a national license examination system was adopted for Grade 1 social workers through a revision of the Social Welfare Services Act in 1998. This marked a revolutionary change in the social work profession. With the national exam, social welfare graduates would no longer enjoy the privilege of being automatically licensed. Instead, anyone who completed the required courses was certified as Grade 2 and would qualify to take the national examination. The required courses consisted of ten core courses and four supplementary courses chosen from a list of 20 electives. These courses were for educating and training generalist social workers (Kim et al., 2005: 51). Third, KCSWE took an active role in identifying the core and elective courses and in developing the standardized social work education curriculum. KCSWE member professors gathered to select 30 basic courses, from which ten were chosen as core courses and 20 as electives. KCSWE also published the Curriculum Guidebook for the first time in 1999 and thenceforth every two years, which covers who, what and how to teach those courses. Besides, KCSWE produces the Journal of Korean Social Welfare Education publishing original research papers on social work and welfare-related education and curricula since 2005.

New wave of social work education As South Korea entered the new millennium, social polarization was growing into a serious problem. New social risks and challenges such as low birth rates, a sharp increase in the aging population, diversity in family structure and multiculturalism also became more prominent (MOHW, 2000–2018), leading to a greater demand for social work professionals. As of 2018, South Korea is an aged society with 14.3% of the population being elderly. The birth rate is lower than replacement level and people tend to live alone with no other family members. Out of the nation’s 51.8 million population, 1.4 million people have multicultural backgrounds. Since 2001, about 130 universities and colleges have established social work-related departments. As of 2018, there are 352 social welfare and/or social welfare-related departments, including 71 graduate schools and 20 cyber universities in South Korea (KCUE, 2018). There are two trends to take note of: one is the proliferation of social welfare-related departments and the other is the popularity of distance-learning institutes such as cyber universities. It should be noted that these new social welfare departments were interdisciplinary in nature. For example, some departments focused on social welfare management, while others specialized in children’s social welfare, elderly social welfare, Christian social welfare and social welfare in the family. Moreover, continuing education centers and academic credit banks provided the required courses that produced a large number of Grade 2 social workers, but with very

154  Ok Kyung Yang et al. low-quality control. With the boom in distance learning, the government became concerned with the large number of Grade 2 social workers who have little to no field experience, which is one of the key components of social work education. The expansion of social work-related departments illustrates the growing diversity of emerging needs and the move to integrate new technology in the field. In 2018, KCSWE responded to the changing landscape by increasing the number of required courses and expanding the electives including Multiculturalism and Social Work. In addition, this change led to the enactment of the Multicultural Families Support Act in 2008 and the creation of the multicultural family support center.

Social work education and licensing system Social work licensing system South Korea’s social work degree programs primarily ensure that adequate professionals are trained to take charge of social work services. Since the introduction of modern social work education in the 1940s in South Korea, social work has come to be regarded as a profession requiring a special set of skills and knowledge. Additionally, social workers are expected to have received the necessary education and training while undergoing their respective social work programs. Development of social work education is thus closely linked with the growing demand for social work professionals in South Korea. South Korea’s social work licensing system plays a key role in the establishment and management of the profession. A license permits its holder to provide specific services which s/he is otherwise forbidden to do. The license system also regulates industry practices and protects the public by requiring service providers to attain the requisite level of education and training so that they are able to provide service of a certain quality. In particular, the license gives an individual the exclusive right to perform a set of services for a particular profession and is a mechanism that effectively protects the profession’s turf.

Evolution of the social work licensing system South Korea’s licensing system started off as a qualification requirement for employees of social work agencies and institutions in 1970. Initially, the license was not closely linked to social work education. Rather, it defined a minimum set of qualifications that individuals must attain in order to work at social work facilities, which were largely residential care institutions at the time. Subsequently, in 1983, the government instituted a new system consisting of three levels of professional licenses that were closely linked to the social work education system: namely, Grades 1, 2 and 3. A Grade 1 license was conferred on those who graduated from four-year colleges with a major in social work or social welfare. Grade 2 was for those who had graduated from two-year colleges with a major in social work. A Grade 3 license was given to those with field experiences and some education and training in social work, but who did not hold a college degree.

South Korea  155 While the 1983 licensing system was based on education requirements, it is interesting to note that there was no quality control mechanism such as an accreditation system for social work education programs. Thus, all college graduates in social work would receive the national license regardless of the curriculum or quality of the program from which they obtained their degrees. As a result, there was a growing concern over the inconsistent quality of licensed social workers. During the ‘deregulation’ movement of the late 1990s, many professional licenses, including that of the social worker, underwent changes. The 1983 license system was tied to the social work major at the college-level and was thus viewed as over-regulated. The argument was that anyone who had the necessary skills and knowledge should be able to gain a social worker license, even without formal social work education. This led to changes in the national license system in 1997. Instead of requiring a social work degree, the new system would award licenses to those who had completed a number of college-level core social work courses regardless of their college major, type of degree and level of education program. The new system thus allowed social workers to count even the courses they took through e-learning and continuing education programs towards the requirement for licensing. This resulted in a ‘decoupling’ of the license system from the social work major at college level. The current social work licensing system is built on the system set up in 1997. Under the current licensing system, those who have completed 14 core designated social work courses at the undergraduate level are entitled to be awarded the Grade 2 social worker license. At the graduate level, social workers are required to take eight courses.86 To solve the quality control problem of social worker license, a national exam for social workers was introduced in 1997. Instead of an accreditation program, a national exam system was established as a measure for quality control. Graduates from four-year colleges who have completed the 14 core courses are eligible to take the national exam. A Grade 1 license is conferred on those who successfully complete the exam. Individuals who complete the 14 core courses without graduating from a four-year college will need to have one year’s work experience as a social worker (and the Grade 2 license) in order to be eligible to take the national exam. They would also be awarded the Grade 1 license upon successful completion of the exam.

Trends in social work licenses There were about 19,000 licensed social workers in 1995. The change of license system in 1997 resulted in rapid growth of social workers. By the year 2000, the number of social workers had more than doubled, reaching 42,000. During the 2000s, the annual growth rate was around 25%. By 2010, over 400,000 social worker licenses had been issued. Even though the growth rate has decreased somewhat since 2010, the total number of social worker licenses has risen to 940,000 in 2017 (K ASW, 2017).87 When the recent trend of numbers of social work licenses is examined by Grade, one finds that most of the increase is due to the growth in Grade 2

156  Ok Kyung Yang et al. licenses. From 2001 to 2017, the number of Grade 1 licenses increased by 360%. During the same period, the number of Grade 2 licenses increased 59-fold from 13,292 to 784,124 and accounted for 84% of the licenses issued in 2017 (K ASW, 2017). Examination of the growth pattern of social work licenses by grade clearly shows that deregulation of social work licenses in the late 1990s resulted in a huge growth in Grade 2 licenses. As a result, the total number of licensed social workers increased 22-fold between 2000 and 2017 (K ASW, 2017). Compared to the 940,000 licenses issued by 2017, there are many fewer social workers employed in social work settings. Most publicly funded services are provided through NGOs. A recent study shows that a total of 73,000 social workers were in the workforce in 2011 (Lee, 2012). Among those, 84% were employed in the private sector and 16% in the public sector. Moreover, the majority (approximately 91%) of those working in the private sector were employed in agencies and institutions, which meant that very few are actually practicing as social workers in private individual offices (Lee, 2012).

Demand and supply of social worker labor market Figure 9.1 shows the demand and supply of social workers in the labor market. By 2010, the supply of licensed social workers had far exceeded the number of available positions. At the time, it was estimated that 144,000 social workers were employed in both the public and private sectors. Among those employed, 68,000 were licensed social workers. While the demand for licensed social workers ranged from 68,000 to 144,000, the supply of licensed social workers had

4,50,000 4,12,815

4,00,000 3,50,000


3,00,000 2,69,074




1,63,314 1,44,133 1,29,999 1,11,111 1,04,645 1,00,000 95,0001,00,000 85,449 85,000 73,742 69,323 66,790 68,361 62,000 55,000 53,000 52,593 51,200 50,000 41,500 50,000 51,500 42,292 41,447 42,550 49,000 40,000 40,000 49,000 35,138 30,001 28,619 21,244 20,000 24,468 19,500 22,000 23,000 24,300 20,002 24,003 25,500



1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Licensed social workers

Employed at social work agencies

Employed as licensed social worker

Figure 9.1  Demand and Supply of Social Work Labor Market. Source: Lee (2012).

South Korea  157 already surged past 410,000 by 2010. This meant that the supply of social workers was 3.5–8 times more than the market demand. This imbalance between supply and demand of social work workforce has important policy implications. First, over-supply of licenses has resulted in weakening professional status. A professional license needs to signify the level of educational and professional qualification needed to be able to perform the work. If a license is considered something that anyone who wants to have can acquire, it weakens professional status. Second, when the labor market is over-­ supplied, it is very difficult to ask for appropriate salary levels. Data show that the monthly average salary for social workers is among the lowest even in the public sector. A social worker’s monthly average salary is about 1,640,000 KRW (about $1,420 USD), which is approximately 61% of the average monthly salary of all employees in the public sector (Lee et al., 2008).

Social work education in the making of a welfare state Social work education in South Korea did not develop in a vacuum; rather, it progressed in tandem with and helped to shape South Korea as a welfare state. Since the 1990s, social work education in South Korea has developed along with rapid changes in the country. These include the two political regime shifts and two economic crises that occurred against the backdrop of technological development, globalization and changes in South Korea’s demographic structure. Consequently, the basic framework of a welfare state based on the expansion of social insurance and social assistance was realized. However, income polarization emerged with new social risks such as an aging population, low fertility rate, flexibility of the labor market and changes of family structure. In this section, we will briefly review the development of social policies and the response of social work education to these changes.

Economic polarization and welfare expansion The 1997 financial crisis was a major event in South Korea’s economic history. The government’s foreign exchange policy failure brought economic hardship to many citizens. Structural adjustment and massive layoffs resulted in millions of unemployed people, huge debts and broken families. Following the economic crisis, Korean society changed drastically. It adopted the neo-liberalist regime and converted into a highly competitive ‘winner-takes-all society’ similar to the US and UK (Kim, 2017). The numbers of precarious workers and working poor have expanded and poverty, deprivation, and income inequality have become serious social problems. According to the Family Income and Expenditure Survey of Statistics Korea (KOSTAT, 1990–2016), the country’s relative poverty rate, Gini coefficient, income quintile ratio and income decile ratio, which remained relatively stable in the 1990s, had risen rapidly during the financial crisis period (1998–1999). Although there was a slight dip in the poverty rate and distribution index in 2000, these have since worsened (see Table 9.1). The phenomenon of so-called

158  Ok Kyung Yang et al. Table 9.1  Trends in Poverty Rate, Distribution Index and Public Social Spending Relative poverty 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2016

7.8 8.3 10.4 13.6 14.9 15.4

Gini coefficient 0.266 0.259 0.279 0.298 0.315 0.317

Income Income quintile ratio decile ratio 3.93 3.85 4.40 5.17 6.02 6.27

7.77 7.76 10.29 13.53 17.81 20.50

Public social spending 2.7 3.1 4.5 6.1 8.3 10.4

Sources: KOSTAT (each year); OECD (2018)

‘income polarization’ is deepening and posing a serious problem in three aspects. First, there is a specific population group that highlights the ‘seriousness’ of the problem. The poverty rate of each female-headed household and elderly-headed household is two to three times higher than that of the average household. Second, this polarization phenomenon is not a temporary one, but a structural problem with persistent attributes. Existing inequality structures have been further reinforced by disparities in education and health. Finally, these situations are not independent but closely related to other social problems. Suicide rates, crime rates and birth rates, which are highly correlated with the level of polarization, confirm this assertion (Kim, 2014, 2017). In general, economic crises are often an obstacle to welfare expansion or an opportunity for welfare retrenchment, as service expansion requires large amounts of funding. However, the 1997 economic crisis triggered dramatic changes in the historical development of South Korea’s social policy. The government has made aggressive efforts to legislate new welfare programs and expand or strengthen existing policies to cope with various social risks. Ironically, the economic crisis also provided the momentum and opportunities for welfare state development. Almost every welfare policy has been updated or rationalized and the government’s welfare expenditure and welfare recipients have also expanded in tandem. For example, public social spending climbed from 2.7% in 1990 to more than 5% in 2003, before hitting 10.4% in 2016 (OECD, 2018; see Table 9.1). The number of beneficiaries of the National Basic Living Security (NBLS), the main social assistance program, increased from 688,354 households in 2000 to 814,184 households in 2016. The expansion of South Korea’s welfare system significantly increased the number of social welfare facilities and social workers. In this process, there was active participation and contribution by social work educators and researchers. They actively intervened not only in establishing and revising the welfare policies, but also in the founding of social work fields and supply of human resources. Specifically, they provided advice to various committees of central and local governments, actively participated in civic organizations and NGOs, and educated future social workers at universities and academic institutions.

South Korea  159 With poverty levels increasing sharply following the economic crisis and the structural cause of poverty becoming more evident, the government tried to take a new approach in social assistance programs. In particular, the National Congress for New Politics (NCNP), a relatively progressive party, successfully enacted and implemented a new NBLS Act through a comprehensive revision of the existing Protection of Minimum Living Standards (PMLS) Act. With NBLS, rights-based terminology replaced all philanthropic terms in the old system. Additionally, demographic criteria in the allocation process were removed and housing benefits were established to carry out the social safety-net function. These developments may be regarded as significant and positive changes since working adults were also now included in the scope of beneficiaries. Following the introduction of the NBLS in 2000, the most fundamental change was realized 15 years later with the conservative Saenuri party. The integrated or packaged benefit was divided into different categories of benefits such as living wage, medical, housing and education so as to prevent the notorious ‘All-or-Nothing’ problem prevalent in the previous scheme. Eligibility criteria were applied differently, depending on the category of benefit. Additionally, the poverty line was changed from the minimum cost of living that was measured by the market basket method to the relative poverty levels based on statistical measures (e.g., 30%–50% of median income). Improvements to family support obligation rules were also implemented. The National Pension Service (NPS) and Employment Insurance (EI) were widened into universal insurance schemes that covered all citizens and business enterprises. The National Health Insurance (NHI) shifted its operating system from a corporatist approach to an integrated one; it has also continually enhanced the benefit levels. Social services have steadily developed alongside a formal review and revamp of the social security system. The number of related laws has since expanded from only seven Acts in the early 1990s to 25 Acts in 2015. With the emergence of new social risks and growing social care needs, drastic changes to the care system, especially for children and the elderly, were made in the name of ‘social investment strategy’ or ‘customized life cycle welfare.’ The Roh government (2003–2008) tried to expand social services in order to convert in-cash oriented welfare programs into ‘active’ welfare. The Park government (2013–2017) endeavored to provide a variety of social services for life course risks. It was the period when the existing social insurance based welfare path was breaking up. The demand for social workers in various fields, including care workers, expanded with the implementation of the electronic voucher system of social services in 2007 and Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) in 2008. As a result of political debates about ‘free meals’ and ‘free childcare’ that took place in the early 2010s, universal childcare was fully implemented in 2013. This led to the expansion of both public and private childcare facilities and an increase in childcare workers. A quasi-universal social allowance system was established with the implementation of Basic Old Age Pension (2007) and Basic Pension (2014) for the elderly. Finally, the Child Allowance for children under the age of five was implemented in September 2018.

160  Ok Kyung Yang et al. An increase in demand for social workers As welfare policy developed and expanded, it became important to put in place an effective delivery system. The government established the Social Welfare Comprehensive Management Network System for the integrated management of various welfare programs. Public welfare officers used this network to look for excluded beneficiaries, prevent duplicate benefits and eliminate illegal recipients. At the same time, welfare functions of regional offices were strengthened to improve the customization of the welfare delivery system. In recent years, these regional offices have developed into private community centers, leading to a large expansion in the number of public social workers. In 1990, there were only 324 public social workers. However, their numbers have expanded significantly to 19,263 in 2016 (see Table 9.2). The number of social welfare centers has also risen from 88 in 1990 to 460 centers in 2016, while the number of living facilities has jumped from 664 in 1990 to 8,052 institutions in 2016. As a result of efforts to improve women’s education level and gender equality, the economically active participation rate of women has been steadily increasing. The number, which was only 30.0% in the 1960s, rose to 42.8% in 1980, 49.6% in 2010 and 52.4% in 2017 (KOSTAT, each year). These changes called for social responsibility for the care work that women in the family were primarily responsible for. The government also responded to this by expanding parental leave, childcare allowance and childcare services. Therefore, the number of childcare facilities has risen sharply from 1,919 in 1990 to 41,084 facilities in 2016. This has resulted in a sharp expansion in the number of private social workers, with approximately 907,000 social workers employed in the private sector in 2016 (MOHW, 2017).

Social work education in the development of welfare states South Korea adopted the welfare state model primarily to cope with both old and new social risks. With this model, the demand for general and professional social workers has increased, along with the expansion of public welfare offices, private welfare centers and facilities to deliver a variety of welfare benefits and services. The number of institutions that offer social work education has also Table 9.2  Number of Welfare Facilities and Public Social Workers

1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2016

Community welfare centers

Living facilities

Childcare facilities

Public welfare workers

88 297 348 391 425 460

664 778 879 1,471 4,983 8,052

1,919 9,085 19,276 28,367 38,021 41,084

324 2,935 4,496 9,094 10,496 19,263

Sources: MOHW (each year)

South Korea  161 expanded. Institutional changes were also made to nurture future-oriented welfare experts or workers, given the increased emphasis on systematic education and training for social workers. The resulting collaboration between the Korean Council on Social Welfare Education (KCSWE), the Korea Association of Social Workers (K ASW) and the Korean Academy of Social Welfare (K ASW) saw numerous debates and discussions that yielded core courses and curricula. The social work education and license system has set certain standards in the development of the welfare state in South Korea and social workers have continued to increase as a result. As the social work profession and related political, economic, social and demographic environments change, so must the content of social work education. Various efforts have been made relating to the required and elective courses, the classification system of individual courses and the course guidebook. Since January 2009, social workers at welfare facilities are also required to undertake mandatory continuing education; this follows from the revision of the Social Welfare Services Act in 2007. Additionally, every social worker must complete eight hours of training each year. Latest figures show that between 2009 and 2012, a total of 167,353 social workers (or 95% of social workers training in those years) were trained in 48 certified educational institutions (MOHW and K ASW, 2012). Nevertheless, skeptics have questioned whether these efforts have achieved the desired goal. This is a question about the validity of coercive, task-oriented and quantitative centered education. Some critics believe there are too many Grade 2 licenses awarded, leading to an oversupply of social workers who lack expertise in the fields of social welfare.

Case Example 9.1  South Korea’s welfare state and social work education The nature of social work education is defined and influenced by the character of a country’s social welfare regime. On the other hand, social work education also plays an important role in shaping a country’s welfare regime. South Korea’s situation is no exception. Esping-Andersen (1990) distinguished three types of welfare states: liberal, conservative and social democratic regimes. Even though this typology has been well received and widely used, a criticism has been its applicability only to Western welfare states. In order to characterize Asian welfare states, including South Korea, Jones (1993) suggested ‘Confucian welfare state’ where families and corporations play important roles providing welfare functions based on strong Confucian culture. ‘Developmental welfare regime’ is another theory explaining the expansion of the welfare state in Eastern Asian countries (Kwon, 2005). The developmental welfare regime emphasizes the role of the social welfare function to support the economic development of a country. ‘Productivist welfare regime’ also emphasizes the role of social welfare contributing to economic goals (Holliday, 2000).

162  Ok Kyung Yang et al. Because these perspectives try to explain the developmental paths of East Asian countries focusing on the differences from Western welfare states, they are known as ‘East Asian exceptionalism’ (Kim, 2011). However, the debate still continues; whether the East Asian social welfare regime is something really unique in its nature or is in the process of development to a more mature welfare state (Kim, 2011). With the development of information technology and emergence of ‘new social risks,’ what is to be the future of South Korea’s welfare regime will be an important question. The pathway of welfare regime development will also have an important effect on the future of social work education in South Korea’s welfare state making.

In 2017 alone, 936,264 people were licensed as social workers, with 83.8% holding a Grade 2 license. As there have been a proliferation of social work education institutions, the quality of training and education has suffered. Poor coordination between educational institutions and social welfare facilities, dual labor markets for professional social workers and low-paid care workers have added to those problems. In response, the KCSWE is revising the curriculum of social work education and the qualification exam for licensing social workers at the time of writing. The core direction is to increase the number of required courses, rename some courses and strengthen the practical content of fieldwork and practicum in social work. Hopefully, these efforts will pay off positively in fostering responsible social workers who are dedicated to the development of a welfare state.

Conclusion: challenges and future directions of social work education in South Korea This chapter has examined the historical development and current status of social work education in South Korea. We focused on the interactions between the evolution of social work education and changes in policy and practice contexts over the past 80 years. Development of social welfare policies and social work fields led to the expansion of social work education as a resource for supplying professional manpower. At the same time, social work education also provided scholars and researchers who took on the roles of theorists and technocrats with the requisite knowledge and skills for building various social welfare policies and programs. As a result, South Korea’s social work education has expanded at a fast rate. In 2018, South Korea had a total of 123 four-year universities, 138 twoyear colleges, 71 graduate schools and 20 cyber universities. If all the programs offering social work education (including not only ‘social welfare departments’ but also all programs that offer ‘social welfare courses’) to meet the requirement of social work license were included, the number of social work programs would hit 1,600 (Lee, 2012). With the proliferation of social work education programs, the supply of licensed social workers has increased massively and has far exceeded the demand in the labor market.

South Korea  163 Social work research also has expanded dramatically during the period. The Korean Academy of Social Welfare, a major academic society representing the social work field, was established in 1957. The Academy began publishing the first social work peer-reviewed journal, entitled Korean Journal of Social Welfare. The numbers of academic societies and journals in the field of social work have increased since the Korean Academy of Social Welfare was established. As of 2016, there were 27 registered social-work related academic journals published. Given this, it is estimated that approximately 1,000 academic papers are published in peer-reviewed social work journals in a year in today’s South Korea. A recent study examining the articles published in Korean Journal of Social Welfare between 1976 and 2015 shows important changes in subjects and methods in the social work research area (Kam et al., 2016). Before 2001, literature review type papers dominated the published papers. From 2001, however, papers using empirical methods accounted for about 80% of the papers published (Kam et al., 2016). The subjects of social work research also have changed during the period. During the early period, the focus was on more general subjects such as ‘social work,’ ‘social work services,’ ‘social security,’ and ‘welfare state.’ In recent period, the focus shifted to much more specialized areas such as ‘poverty,’ ‘ageing,’ ‘depression,’ ‘disability’ and ‘mental health.’ These trends show that social work research in South Korea in recent years has come to use more empirical methods and deal with specific social problem areas. Expansion of social work education per se is not a problem. It might even be good news for the development of social work. However, it is not all good news in South Korea. First of all, oversupply of licensed social workers has become a major problem. Failure to control the supply and demand for social workers in the labor market has made it difficult for social workers to maintain a professional status. Oversupply has also suppressed the salary levels of social workers and their salaries are significantly lower than those in comparable professions such as nurses and teachers (Kim H. Y., 2017). Low pay has been identified as a major reason for burnout at the workplace and frequent job changes among social workers (Lee, 2012). Another major challenge has been the lack of quality control of social work programs. While there is a general guideline on the curriculum and social work courses to be taught, enforcement is weak. A survey of social work programs revealed that they were generally short-staffed and lacked qualified teaching staff (Lee et al., 2011). Moreover, 26% of social work professors did not major in social work at either the undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral levels. Initially, South Korea relied heavily on American social work programs. Many of the practice and theoretical models were directly ‘imported’ from the US and the American influence can be seen in the dominance of psychotherapy treatment and the counselling approach as a practice model in South Korea in the early years (Lee, 2011). However, psychotherapy treatment and counselling models did not work well in South Korea’s situation due to cultural and social differences between the US and South Korea. Social work education in South Korea faces many challenges. One critical task in the future will be balancing the demand and supply of professional social

164  Ok Kyung Yang et al. workers. This is an important task as it will determine the survival of social work as a profession in the future. Another related issue is the quality control of social work education. Past experience has shown the national exam, as a means of quality control, to be insufficient. Instead, efforts to improve quality at the education program level, such as establishing an accreditation scheme for educational programs, may be more effective. Thus, the Korean Council on Social Welfare Education (KCSWE) has an important role to play in mapping out a strategy for quality control. Developing theory and practice models, based on South Korea’s own experiences, that reflect what is happening on the ground is a task of social work education. Imported theories and practice methods need to be modified and reconstructed to better address South Korea’s social problems and activities. We also need to employ a more culturally sensitive approach and to rigorously test and develop evidence-based practice models that take the unique characteristics of South Korea’s cultural and social contexts into consideration. A recent survey of social work practitioners in community settings ranked the need for development and training for more ‘field-applicable’ practice skills as the first priority that social welfare education needs to focus on (Lee J. W., 2014). There has been a strong call for a social work education renovation which takes account of South Korean welfare state contexts (Korean Academy of Social Welfare, 2015). Social work education must provide content and methods to deal with some of the new social risks. South Korea is no longer a racially homogeneous nation. The influx of immigrants in recent years is making South Korea racially and culturally diverse. Diversity is now a reality in South Korea. Increasing gaps between the haves and the have-nots have become an important policy concern too. South Korea may have overcome absolute poverty but relative poverty and deprivation remains a serious problem that negatively impacts many facets of society. Additionally, South Korea’s family structure and functions have also changed quickly. Although the family used to be a basic provider of welfare, that does not hold true anymore. New norms and working models are needed to balance the roles of the family, market, civic society and the state in the provision of welfare. In recent years, the role of civil society in initiating and promoting social welfare issues has become more important than ever. This is an important change in recent years because civil society has often been excluded or overlooked in the discourses of the welfare state in South Korea (Han, 2012). Social work education needs to provide theoretical perspectives and practice models that can help South Korean society better manage and overcome these new emerging challenges and tasks in the future.

Taking it further 1 The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by cyber-physical systems including IIoT, 5G, 3D printing and fully autonomous vehicles. In South Korea, cyber-universities have been booming since 2001. Social work education, however, seems to prefer traditional educational methods. How do

South Korea  165 you predict that the 4th Industrial Revolution will influence the educational system and what do you see as the future of both cyber-universities and traditional universities? 2 Generalist and specialist approaches in professional social work have co-­ existed for a long time. Many scholars and practitioners have argued one is better than the other as a social work identity. In South Korea today, the figures and documents show that generalist social workers are over-supplied in the social work market. If you are reading this as a Korean, what do you think is the future of social work professionalism under a licensing system? 3 Social work education has played an important role in introducing welfare policies and programs. And yet, the nation’s environmental features have influenced educators and social workers to align with the system. South Korea has rapidly diversified in race and ethnicity as well as in different cultures. How do you think social work educators and practitioners should engage with diverse populations and practice social work?

10 Social work in Taiwan State programming and the search for an empowered profession Yeun-wen Ku Introduction Social work has long been a profession that deals with welfare delivery in a given society, especially in Taiwan since it has been fostered under governmental regulation and licensing. The heavy dependence of Taiwan’s social work on state intervention began in the 1950s when the country was under authoritarian rule. During this period, social work expanded significantly with the growth of governmental welfare programs, accounting for 10% of GDP nowadays (Ku and Hsueh, 2016). As the regime transitioned to democratization, social work experienced a difficult process in claiming its professional status from the governmental licensing system. This chapter will first locate social work in Taiwan within the specific context of regime transition to illustrate the benefits and constraints of state intervention. Second, the chapter addresses challenges that have faced social work since 2000. Globalization, especially the increasing interaction with China, has put social work in Taiwan in a difficult situation that has stimulated further reflection on the nature of the discipline. Some appeals for educational reform have begun with a young students’ movement that seeks a truly empowered social work profession. A brief assessment of the impact will be made in the concluding remarks along with issues for further discussion.

Origins The origins of social work in Taiwan mirrored its regime transition. Taiwan was one of China’s provinces before 1895 and then a Japanese colony until the end of the Second World War, when it was returned to Nationalist China (namely the Kuomintang, KMT). However, the civil war between the KMT and the Communist forces led to the KMT’s failure and it retreated to Taiwan in 1949. Once again, Taiwan began moving along a very different path of development from China. Under such a specific historic timeline and context, there were many factors contributing to the origin of the discipline. First, the idea of modern social work was introduced to Taiwan by the Japanese colonial government, rather than by China. Typical examples were the development of modern social services in colonial Taiwan. For instance, social settlements,

Taiwan  167 copied from Jane Addams’ Hull-House in Chicago, were prospering in Japan during the 1920s when the country suffered from famine and earthquakes. In Taiwan, the first social settlement, named ‘Human House’ was founded by a Japanese activist and located in the Tadauchen district of Taipei in order to provide education for the poor. Social settlement programs involved family interviews, employment services, unemployment relief, free education for poor children and farming training which not only helped but also disciplined the poor. Thereafter, six additional social settlements were established around Taiwan with the permission of the colonial government (Chang and Ku, 2013: 76). Another example of the colonial legacy was the establishment of the Association of Social Affairs in Taiwan. In 1908, the Central Charity Association, a copy of the London Charity Organization Society, was founded in Tokyo and spread throughout Japan. In 1919, the Japanese Home Office reorganized the Central Charity Association into the Central Association of Social Affairs to achieve national coordination and a more centralized structure. Inevitably, colonial Taiwan could not stand apart from this change. In 1928, the Association of Social Affairs in Taiwan was founded in Taipei and became a subordinate member of the Central Association of Social Affairs in Japan. As with other social organizations in Taiwan, the association shared the same office with the Division of Culture and Education under the Government-General as a semi-official organization. Although the nature of the Association of Social Affairs in Taiwan was quite different from the voluntary Charity Organization Society, the British idea was indeed passed on to Taiwan through the colonial government (Chang and Ku, 2013: 77). Second, American influences were particularly important in the postwar era. As early as 1921, modern social work was introduced to China by an American social worker, Ida Pruitt, who established the Department of Social Services in the Hsieh-ho Hospital in Beijing, but this did not influence Taiwan because it was under Japanese rule at that time. By the 1950s, as Taiwan was included in American global strategy against the Communist bloc, courses on social work began to emerge in Taiwan’s universities with the help of American institutions and Christian churches. The first generation of social work scholars was supported by UN programs to pursue advanced study in professional social work in the US, which was foundational to the construction of social work education in Taiwan’s universities. During this period, social work education deeply depended on the welfare ideas of America. For example, over 51% of social work lecturers had been awarded their degrees in America and this figure was higher if we count the local professionals trained by these lecturers. Also, textbooks on social work published in Taiwan showed dependence on the US: references quoting American literature formed 54% of the total, while Chinese references only accounted for 40% and the remainder were shared by British and Japanese publications. Notably, most of the Chinese references were published under the influence of American welfare ideas. Thus, the expansion of US-based welfare theories in postwar Taiwan was significant (Ku, 1997a: 117). Third, the authoritarian regime enforced social work as a form of state control. Although the idea of professional social work was supported by American

168  Yeun-wen Ku ideas and scholarship, social work was never independent from the state in either colonial or postwar Taiwan. Cheng (2007) examined the development of social work in Taiwan from 1949 to 1963 through chronicles, literature reviews and oral history. The findings showed that under the KMT authoritarian regime the development of NGOs crumbled, but the scholars who studied abroad in America created another track of development for Taiwan's social work practices. Such knowledge and practices were seen as rather dependent on the American social work model of professional human services. In comparison, the KMT government’s perspective was that social work was a social control mechanism because of their requirement that all efforts be mobilized against Communist China. From 1949 to 1963, these two competing ideas of social work developed the discipline in Taiwan into ‘dual social work,’ implying that social workers were semi-officials who played a role in social control through welfare and service delivery. Beginning in the 1960s, China gradually threatened Taiwan’s international status. With the change of US global strategy to include China against the Soviet Union, Taiwan’s position in the UN was taken over by China in 1971 and, finally, America terminated its diplomacy with Taiwan in 1978, causing Taiwan’s political isolation from the international community. Since then, the importance of internal cohesion has been replacing external support as the key to social stability. Thus, welfare money was allocated primarily to military servicemen, government employees and teachers and then spread gradually to other groups during various political crises. Increases in social expenditure and the expansion of welfare programs were therefore not so much by economic reasons as by political ones (Ku, 1995). The enactment of the Current Social Policy for the Principle of People’s Livelihood in 1965 constituted the first national policy guideline for social welfare and it also subsequently resulted in numerous welfare developments that had profound influences: the first central policy-based program on social welfare; organization of a professionalized system of social workers; newly modernized social assistance; and community development as a means of welfare facilitation. Along with welfare legislation aimed for children, elderly people and people with disabilities, all these developments signified that social welfare had gradually become an important aspect of state legitimacy. As Huang and Ku state, ‘(a) lthough this policy diminished into political slogan due to the military- and economy-led policymaking focus, it took the promotion of (a) professional social work system one step forward’ (2014: 57). Since then, social work in Taiwan has been inevitably interwoven with the state welfare system and governmental regulation.

Social work in Taiwan’s welfare regime Social work in different societies is not always consistently intertwined with the varied welfare regimes in which it exists (Adams, Dominelli and Payne,

Taiwan  169 2005: xix). Taiwan, as one of the East Asian welfare states, has been examined with its characteristics of a developmental or productivist regime, which differs from the three traditional European welfare regimes of the social democratic, the conservative corporatist and the liberal proposed by Esping-Andersen (1990). For instance, Lee and Ku (2007) conducted empirical analysis based on a set of 15 indicators from 20 countries during the 1980s and 1990s. They argued for the existence of a developmental/productivist regime, consisting of Taiwan and South Korea, in East Asia. The theme of a developmental/ productivist regime can theoretically be traced back to the trajectory of East Asian development in the twentieth century, emphasizing the important role of the state in pursuit of economic development and the subordination of all state policies to economic/industrial priorities (Holliday, 2000; Kwon, 2005). However, democratization during the 1990s also opened up more opportunities for social policy in East Asia. This is particularly significant if we consider the expansion of welfare schemes in Taiwan (e.g. Ku, 1995) and Korea (e.g. Kwon, 1999) throughout the 1990s, resulting in Tang’s conclusion, ‘(t)he experiences of Korea and Taiwan have shown that democratization could be a crucial factor which influences social welfare development’ (2000: 60). Welfare in the developmental/productivist regime therefore has a tremendous impact on social work. Social work education in Taiwan has a long history since the 1950s when it was affiliated with sociology as a minor field without any distinctive course structure. However, social work was finally officially recognized by the K MT government’s ‘Current Social Policy of the Principle of People’s Livelihood’ in 1965, signifying that the state began to promote social policies, including social insurance, social assistance, employment services, public housing, personal welfare services, social education and community development for meeting the needs of poor people. Social workers were then regarded as the main workforce to deliver necessary welfare services, marking the first step in the development of a professional social work system (Huang and Ku, 2014: 57). As social workers secured their jobs and roles in state welfare, a further development of social work education emerged, especially in the 1970s and the 1980s, when social work gradually became independent from sociology and established its own course structure and curriculum. Since then, a university degree in social work is a necessary prerequisite for professional social workers in Taiwan. Even though the government started to construct Taiwan’s welfare system in the 1960s, as a developmental/productivist regime, the KMT government still put its policy priorities on economic development and military efforts against Communist China during the Cold War. Welfare provision reflected this in the way it was limited to the very poor and to public employees like civil servants and military servicemen (Ku, 1995). Social workers in those days were mostly a supplementary workforce in governmental welfare departments, rather than formal civil servants. This categorization provoked a movement for more equal

170  Yeun-wen Ku status that spanned two decades. Eventually, the 1997 Act for Professional Social Workers was enacted to confirm social work as a profession, alongside other existing professions like doctors and lawyers, in charge of welfare services and related issues in Taiwan. The 1990s was also an important decade of democratization in Taiwan as it witnessed the remarkable development of a statutory welfare system with the completion of numerous welfare policies that brought about increased social justice, such as the National Health Insurance Act in 1994, the Child and Youth Sexual Transaction Prevention Act, the Temporary Statute on Senior Farmer Welfare Allowance in 1995, the Protection Act for Disabled People, the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act and the Domestic Violence Prevention Act in 1998. During this period, national conferences on social welfare were also convened to ensure that the government’s social welfare policy matched the needs of the people by incorporating the opinions of the private sector and scholars into the government’s welfare-related decisions, thus fully demonstrating the significant impact of democratization on social welfare (Ku and Hsueh, 2016). The job opportunities for social workers were growing remarkably not just in the public sector but also in the non-governmental sector. Table 10.1 indicates the updated figures for full-time social workers in Taiwan, from which we can learn of some important developments. First, the number of full-time social workers increased nearly five-fold from 2,713 in 2003 to 12,487 in 2015, implying that the role of social workers has been widely recognized. Second, the government remained the biggest single employer of social workers, so Table 10.1 Full-time Social Workers in Taiwan Year

Grand Total Total


Public Sector Female Total

2003 2,713 475 2,238 1,025 2004 3,208 553 2,655 1,092 2005 3,686 634 3,052 1,207 2006 4,356 661 3,695 1,469 2007 4,709 745 3,964 1,670 2008 5,655 902 4,753 1,948 2009 6,232 966 5,266 1,947 2010 7,103 1,102 6,001 2,221 2011 8,409 1,332 7,077 2,727 2012 9,457 1,601 7,856 3,046 2013 10,301 1,758 8,543 3,587 2014 11,537 2,021 9,516 3,978 2015 12,487 2,274 10,213 4,394

Private Sector

Aboriginal Area

Male Female Total


Female Male Female

190 196 203 211 244 296 294 353 418 526 666 742 815

285 357 431 450 501 606 672 749 914 1,075 1,092 1,279 1,459

1,403 1,759 2,048 2,437 2,538 3,101 3,613 4,133 4,768 5,336 5,622 6,280 6,634

835 896 1,004 1,258 1,426 1,652 1,653 1,868 2,309 2,520 2,921 3,236 3,579

1,688 2,116 2,479 2,887 3,039 3,707 4,285 4,882 5,682 6,411 6,714 7,559 8,093

… … … … … … 25 32 42 59 64 69 73

… … … … … … 155 251 312 364 394 397 432

Source: Data from Department of Social Assistance and Social Work, MOHW and County and City Governments.

Taiwan  171 that about 35% of social workers were employed in the public sector in 2015. Third, the number of social workers in the private sector benefitting from governmental outsourcing projects increased faster than in the public sector, from 1,688 in 2003 to 8,093 in 2015. Fourth, and most importantly, social work has been extending into aboriginal areas to serve people with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds since 2009, indicating the development of cross-cultural social work and the requirement of cultural competency and empowerment in social work education. This suggests a transition of social work from top-down implementation to a more professional discipline with awareness of service users’ rights. The significant growth of social workers further stimulated the expansion of social work education. By the end of 2016, as shown in Table 10.2, a total of 70 degree programs had been established in Taiwan, of which at least half were founded after the 1990s. This is true especially in relation to the expansion Table 10.2 Profile of Social Work Education in Taiwan, 2016


Faculty Member

Annually Recruited Student Number

Number of Degree Programs

Full-time adjunct




Bachelor Master PhD











Source: Data from Taiwan Association of Social Work Education.

Table 10.3 Licensed Social Workers in Taiwan Unit: Persons Year

Grand Total

Under 25 Years Old

Total Male Female Male 2003 872 86 2004 1,019 97 2005 1,053 104 2006 1,117 104 2007 1,208 111 2008 1,286 120 2009 1,599 163 2010 1,817 211 2011 2,115 239 2012 3,112 398 2013 3,837 521 2014 4,471 638 2015 5,107 731 2016 5,394 787

786 922 949 1,013 1,097 1,166 1,436 1,606 1,876 2,714 3,316 3,833 4,376 4,607

- - - - 1 1 1 1 1 5 8 14 12 21

25–29 Years Old

30–34 Years Old

35–39 Years Old

Over 40 Years Old

Female Male

Female Male

Female Male

Female Male


7 7 4 4 4 4 14 12 24 70 78 96 130 154

114 127 102 105 106 109 178 244 298 526 654 674 744 829

299 331 318 320 300 276 342 366 394 663 894 1,004 1,169 1,207

179 222 259 292 342 364 396 415 465 538 605 770 896 922

187 235 266 292 345 413 506 569 695 917 1,085 1,289 1,437 1,495

5 6 5 6 10 8 19 32 27 67 90 101 124 145

34 33 27 21 14 21 36 52 74 119 153 187 206 224

27 34 37 40 45 42 43 51 47 74 104 150 177 178

20 24 35 37 41 48 64 75 90 133 166 186 212 219

Source: Data from Department of Social Assistance and Social Work, MOHW and County and City Governments.

172  Yeun-wen Ku of PhD programs that reflects the expansion of social work education with more academic research. The main body of social work students consisted of bachelor’s and master’s programs, recruiting over 3,000 new students every year and forming the main source of the workforce in social work. The number of social work faculty members has expanded, at the time of writing, to 316 full-time positions and another 436 positions as adjuncts, from about 150 full-time positions in the 1990s. Moreover, over 90% of full-time faculty members in social work hold a PhD – most awarded in the US, the UK and locally – compared to about 65% in the 1990s (Chang and Mo, 2007). Taken as a whole, these data fully demonstrate that the development of state welfare since the 1990s has successfully induced the growth of job opportunities and education in social work. However, many issues arise from the specific experiences of social work in Taiwan’s welfare regime. First, while democratization during the 1990s opened up opportunities for welfare development, it did not shift the developmental/productivist regime in Taiwan. Economic development was still the priority in governmental policies that restricted the further extension of welfare services and social workers. Second, state power was critical in directing professionalization of social work in Taiwan, through welfare policies and regulation of social work licensing. The latter has been the most controversial issue up to now. Accompanying the first Act for Professional Social Workers in 1997, Taiwan also confirmed social work licensing by a governmental examination held every year. The examination set up important courses and credits in social work education for those who desired to take the examination, meaning that social work education lost its autonomy to decide teaching content. On the other hand, it lost control of the standards of qualified social workers, implying that a degree-holding social worker was not fully qualified until he or she passed the examination. The 1997 Act was amended in 2007. It further tightened up the requirement for courses and credits in social work education through strong state intervention and therefore it controlled the number of qualified social workers. Table 10.3 shows the number that passed the examination and were employed as social workers. If we take the data in 2015 for comparison, in that year only 5,107 social workers had licenses while the total number of social workers in Taiwan was 12,487 (see Table 10.1), suggesting that about 59% of social workers in Taiwan were without a license. This situation caused a radical gap, as Huang and Ku stated ‘…the (licensing) system is just like a screen, the function of which is to tell the qualified from the unqualified. It also causes stratification, and the conflict between these two types of social workers’ (2014: 66). Moreover, Table 10.3 also shows the division of licensed social workers by age. Young social workers under 25 years old are a minority, implying great difficulty for young social work graduates in passing the examination. This situation further developed into a movement calling for a fundamental reform of social work education that we will explore in the following sections.

Taiwan  173

Case Example 10.1  Authoritarianism To Democracy As an East Asian welfare regime, South Korea also experienced a similar development trajectory from authoritarianism to democracy. South Korea and Taiwan are generally classified as two typical examples of a developmental welfare regime where economic development is the top priority of national policy, rather than welfare (e.g. Kwon, 2005; Lee and Ku, 2007). However, many scholars also argue that democratization in both countries has driven their expansion of welfare programs and the development of social work followed (e.g. Tang, 2000; Wong, 2004). Social work in both countries reflects the expected features: the discipline developed under the influences of American professional social work;it expanded with statutory welfare programs; it is licensed via governmental examination; social workers ares employed mainly in the public sector with partial or complete civil servant status; and they are charged with welfare delivery.

Globalization and its impacts The impacts of globalization have been observed since the late 1990s, as Ku warns (s)omeday in the near future, as Taiwan’s social workers assist poor service users and ask the reasons for falling into poverty, the answers may well be beyond traditional ones of old, weak, sick, and insufficient employability. Rather, the likely reasons will be “Bosses moved factories to mainland China”, “My wage cannot compete with Philippine workers”, or “Companies failed because of product price higher than Thailand’s”. Moreover, such a day will not be too slow to come. (1997b: 77) The main challenges in the globalizing world have been particularly linked to the developmental/productivist regime in Taiwan. To restore Taiwan’s competitiveness in the global economy, many liberalist policies and measures, such as tax cuts, privatization, deregulation and so forth, had been widely enforced to restructure the Taiwanese economy from state-led to market-led, even though this process was accompanied by rising social costs of unemployment and inequality. Some followers of liberalist thought regarded these social costs as necessary and temporary in moving towards economic growth and a nation more competitive in globalization. However, rising unemployment accompanied by increased poverty required more state provisions for social welfare. Eventually, a strange policy orientation that mixed tax cuts with welfare increases was proposed that precisely demonstrated the dilemma of a state caught between global competition and social reform during the first decade of the twenty-first century (Ku, 2004).

174  Yeun-wen Ku In responding to the re-emergence of poverty under globalization, welfare was expanding and recruiting more social workers, as we can see from Table 10.1. But the resources for welfare were still limited because the government also promised more liberal reforms, especially tax cuts and deregulation. Such policies put social workers in a very difficult situation. First, the increasing number of social workers was still far lower than what was actually needed and this gap induced heavy workloads. Second, limited welfare resources were unable to meet the rising expectations of service users such that high tensions developed between social workers and service users (Chou et al., 2006: 770). Finally, social workers were frustrated in their work as they were unable to do their work effectively and accused of being incapable of meeting social needs, especially when they could not stop certain social problems due to family disorganization under globalization. Unfriendly working conditions became the major factor for social workers quitting their duties. For instance, in Hsu’s (2007) study on why young social workers quit, he concluded that there were three main reasons affecting young social workers’ decision to quit their jobs, including the ‘individual factor,’ the ‘job characteristic factor,’ and the ‘external environmental factor.’ According to calculation of the response numbers in a message board text content analysis, the factor most influencing young social workers to leave their job or their willingness to become social workers was the ‘job characteristic factor,’ which was counted 305 times, higher than the ‘external environmental factor’ at 140 times and the ‘individual factor’ at 28 times (Hsu, 2007). Eventually, it was difficult for social workers to escape from the impacts of globalization that had remarkably changed their profession from one essentially rooted in local conditions and community needs (Lyons, 2006). In response to globalized social problems, social workers in different regions and countries found they must work together and they experienced difficulties in recognizing themselves as indigenous and local as they acquired the necessary capacity to address cross-border issues. Some international organizations, e.g. the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), have spearheaded important efforts to update the definition and framework of social work practice in the globalizing world since the beginning of the new millennium. These changes are not only concerned with the necessary competencies of social workers but also with global standards for social work education that would make the international transferability and portability of qualifications possible (Lyons, 2006). The impacts of globalization are especially obvious in Chinese-speaking societies, as China also establishes its own social work education and governmental licensing system. The relationship between social work in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the largest Chinese-speaking societies outside of China, has long been recognized and social work degrees can be mutually recognized on some occasions in the two locations. This agreement has not yet made large impacts in either society, because they are both smaller economies of a similar size and development, while for China such is not the case.

Taiwan  175 Due to the benefits of having a shared language and a more open political atmosphere since 2008, faster integration with China appeared in Taiwan. First, prior to 2008, visitors from China were about 200,000 annually; this number jumped to nearly 900,000 in just one year. In 2015, over four million Chinese visitors came to Taiwan, totalling 40% of all foreign visitors. Taiwanese visitors to China were about three and half million, increasing from 188,744 in 2008 and equivalent to one Taiwanese person out of every six (data from Tourism Bureau).1 Second, Taiwan’s exports to China increased from less than 20% of the total exports before 2000 to nearly 30% in 2015, implying that China has become the most important trading partner for exports, beyond America and Japan. Third, Taiwan’s investments in China further increased from 27.7% of its total outbound investment in 1999 to 60.6% in 2007, reaching a historic high of 85% in 2011 (Lee and Chu, 2016). The above information illustrates that it is impossible for Taiwan to escape from China’s broad influences. Starting from 1999, the development of social work in China entered an era of explosive growth (as discussed elsewhere in this volume). The newly established schools of social work in China’s higher education sector increased by 20 or more every year and included 321 bachelor’s degree programs by the end of 2016, compared to Taiwan’s 39. The expansion soon extended to MSW degrees, from 33 programs in 2009 to 104 in 2016, and then to PhD programs. In China, the number of students awarded social work degrees was at least 30,000 every year, equivalent to ten times Taiwan’s social work student numbers. Apart from the above quantitative measures, China also confirmed its fundamental courses of social work education, including introduction to social work, social work practice with individuals, groups and communities, and some macro courses, e.g. administration and management, social policy and welfare, and social research. A field practicum is also attached to all social work programs for enhancing skills and competences. Similar to Taiwan, China’s social work students also need to take a national licensing examination held by the government, in which the category of junior social worker is specifically for those who are without a university degree and the category of a social worker is for those with a social work university degree. The number of licensed social workers with a university degree has been over 50,000, about five times larger than Taiwan’s. The job market for social workers is increasing remarkably in China, estimated to be over 110,000 posts in 6,600 social work organizations by the end of 2016 (He and Ku, 2017). In short, China has been successfully upgrading and expanding its social work system over a period less than two decades.

Challenges for social work in Taiwan Social work in Taiwan is facing a very difficult situation in the globalizing world. Domestically it is working hard against the re-emergence of poverty but criticized for its inability to resolve the issue appropriately. Externally, China’s fast development leaves Taiwan’s social work marginalized in its quality of education,

176  Yeun-wen Ku especially in catching up to global standards for social work education. Some research has been done that precisely demonstrates the challenges. The first challenge has been debates on the nature of social work education. Since the beginning of social work in Taiwan in the 1950s, Western ideas and knowledge have underpinned its development and expansion. As Chou et al. state, ‘… social work education in Taiwan is embedded in the country’s colonial character … modeled after the USA, including textbooks, curricula and professional systems such as licensing’ (2006: 771). Benefitting from Western ideas and knowledge, Taiwan’s social work education was regarded as a model for China when it began to develop its social work sector and reprinted Taiwan’s teaching materials and course structure because of the benefit of a shared language (Chou et al., 2006). However, Taiwan lost its strength as China established its own comprehensive social work system and this has induced a critical reflection about the nature of social work in Taiwan. Is social work merely the training of skills, or is it deeply rooted in the competencies of promoting human well-being through empowerment? As for skill training, there is indeed nothing new in China learning from Taiwan. In particular, the redefinition of social work in the new millennium has emphasized the competencies of promoting social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being (Payne, 2006: 28–29), indicating that social work in the globalizing world should focus more on issues of empowerment for those who are constrained by their cultural and environmental contexts. Regarding the first challenge, the further issue is whether social work education in Taiwan could appropriately cultivate just competencies of social workers. Shek et al. (2007) conducted a study to analyze postgraduate social work dissertations in Taiwan and realized the implications of their results for social work research and education. They found that there were a relatively limited number of dissertations about social work methods compared with studies about social problems and special groups of service users and, furthermore, the use of English references was small (Shek et al., 2007). These findings implied an indigenization of social work in Taiwan that focused on serving and meeting community needs in the national context. Some scholars have insisted that indigenization will be necessary through the investment of considerable efforts in developing social work principles and practices appropriately for the unique socio-cultural context of Taiwan (e.g. Chou et al., 2006). But others have noted that there might also be obstacles to constructing Taiwan’s social work as an international profession, not just to understand local problems but also to devise ways of solving them (Shek et al., 2007). Similar to Shek’s study, Chang et al. (2010) also conducted secondary data analysis, based on the Dissertation and Thesis Abstract Database, which contains 2,089 theses from all of the 20 social work institutes in Taiwan. A three-dimensional framework was constructed to highlight important changes in theses from 1990 to 2008 and the implications for social work education. They concluded that there were some common patterns in Taiwanese social work education. The first pattern, namely the interest in micro-social

Taiwan  177 work, originated from the psycho-social tradition of social work professionals which paid most attention to individuals and small groups. Just like counseling and psychotherapy, micro-social work applies the skills of case work and group work to deal with problems of mental health and as a way to reconstruct a healthy social life. The second pattern fell at the other end of spectrum with a focus on the politico-economic context of policymaking, namely macro-social policy, which is based on theories and ideas drawn from sociology, politics and economics. Moreover, there was a third pattern of meso-organization/management in between micro-social work and macro-social policy. This pattern pursued an even more effective and efficient system for service delivery and therefore combined a range of skills, such as administration, management and evaluation. The main arenas for the third pattern were NGOs and communities, where they targeted problems, set goals, gathered resources, organized the resources to target specified needs and finally assessed the degree of problem improvement (Chang et al., 2010). The three patterns revealed the necessary competencies of social workers: traditional service users, e.g. children and youth, the elderly and disabled people, still attracted the most research concern and therefore social work with the individual was most frequent. However, social workers in Taiwan have been aware of the importance of skills and knowledge of administration and management, program evaluation and social policy analysis, especially as they have needed to face social problems induced by globalization. For instance, the course module of social work education in Taiwan was dominated by micro-social work on psycho-social dynamics of individuals and small groups in the 1990s, while it has transited to meso-­organization/ management and macro-social policy in the 2000s, according to Chang’s analysis of social work theses (Chang et al., 2010). It is a very interesting issue in terms of the practical nature of social work education in Taiwan. As early as the 1970s, some commentators pointed to a gap in the social work curriculum between an individualized practice worker and an agent for social change. The former tends to see themselves as neutral skill operators and to see that approach as the way to enhance their status as professionals, similar to doctors and lawyers, though the latter are usually overloaded by conflict and debates against injustice (Greenblatt and Katkin, 1972). Similarly, Carroll (1975) comments that social work practice is easily narrowed to direct service delivery without thinking critically about the impacts of unequal social structures. The emergence of macro-­social policy has given more emphasis to the politico-economic perspective, meaning that social work in Taiwan is evolving into collective action in democratic policymaking, differing from social work under authoritarianism. The specific experiences of social work in Taiwan explicitly demonstrate how a Western profession developed to adjust to regime transition and finally consolidated its role in Taiwan’s welfare provision. Initially, the main task of Taiwan’s social workers was delivering resources and services to the groups targeted by governmental welfare programs, while through the collaboration between practice and research, social work scholars devoted efforts to evaluating and constructing appropriate knowledge and policy for meeting social needs. The regime transition to democracy further inspired social workers’ dissatisfaction

178  Yeun-wen Ku

Case Example 10.2  Social Work Dissertations Many scholars have conducted meta-analyses of social work dissertations and theses to examine the knowledge base behind social work studies (e.g. Chang et al., 2010; Shek et al., 2007). A similar method has also been adopted by Dellgran and Hojer (2003) to examine the theoretical knowledge in Swedish social work. Based on their analysis of the 89 PhD dissertations and more than 500 theses written on undergraduate and master’s level programs from 1977 to 1997, these authors find a strong position for sociology in PhD dissertation research and a strong position for psychology in the educational system below the master’s degree level. The reason for this result might be due to different kinds of students’ knowledge interest, but it also suggests different goals of social work education in Sweden. In contrast to undergraduate and master’s programs that aim to strengthen professional identity, PhD research emphasizes more the socio-political and structural conditions for social work. Nevertheless, Dellgran and Hojer’s study shows that an analysis of degree theses can be helpful for our understanding of the development of social work education and of the profession as a whole in society.

with welfare delivery alone and advocacy of justice-based research approaches was therefore the mainstream of social work education after 2000, concerned more with policy issues of service users’ rights and empowerment. Eventually, social values linking to justice, e.g. equality, respect for diversity, structural attribution and social reforms became essential in Taiwan’s social work education (Chang, 2016; Peng, 2016).

Critical responses from below Since initiation of strong state intervention of the licensing examination in the making of a social work profession in Taiwan, the government controls the educational contents and criteria for the qualification of social workers. Moreover, the job market and working conditions of social workers are under state regulation through direct hiring of state social workers and the contracting-­out of welfare projects. One positive impact of state intervention is the remarkable growth of job posts for social workers, as shown in the previous sections of this chapter, while the price is losing autonomy to decide the necessary educational course materials and contents for social workers in response to changing environments. The situation is even worse as many shortterm programs, containing the minimum required 15 courses and 400-hour practicum to take the social work licensing examination, are set up to meet the demands of a growing social work job market. On the other hand, due to the low qualifying rate for the social work licensing examination in Taiwan,

Taiwan  179 normally between 7% and 20% per year, some universities are forced to focus on the course contents highlighted in the licensing examination to help young graduates achieve qualification, rather than the necessary competencies for social workers in the globalizing world. Ultimately, some young social work students feel frustrated in the doom and gloom, under the high pressures of the licensing examination. A social movement called ‘Flipped Social Work Education’ was initiated by young active social work students in 2015. They complained that the governmental licensing examination had kidnapped social work education, creating a radical gap between learning and practice, narrowing the real purpose of education to cultivate a whole and intellectual personality and overlooking the diversified nature of human beings (Ku, 2016). The Taiwan Association of Social Work Education (TASWE), an organization of social work departments in all the universities, therefore launched discussions on the possibility of reforming course contents with a more open structure. Many critical issues have been raised about the future of social work education in Taiwan, including: (1) What are the main challenges in a globalizing world? (2) What are the competencies of social workers needed in the globalizing world? (3) What are the implications for social work educational curricula and practice? The shift of family structure is a good example for interpreting such changes. Traditionally in Taiwan, as a society under Chinese culture, the family is the main provider of welfare for its members, while state welfare only cares for those who are without families to support them. This, however, is no longer the situation. The supporting function of the family has been weakening for many reasons. First, the global distribution of employment opportunities has made it difficult for families to live at the same location and in turn, increased the risk of family disorganization. For instance, it is estimated about 10% of the labor force in Taiwan is now working abroad, mostly in China and Southeast Asia (Ku and Hsueh, 2016). Second, nuclear families now account for 50% of families and a constantly increasing number of women engage in the labor market, implying that family is not able to take responsibility for long-term care of elderly members (Ku and Hsueh, 2016). Thus, foreign care workers are permitted to enter Taiwan to meet the needs of family care, pressing social work to face simultaneously the requirements of elderly care and international labor rights. Third, transnational marriages are significant with the development of globalization in Taiwan, that is not only an issue regarding women but also a wider cultural and human right issue (Hsia, 2000). For social work, cultural competence is essential to assist families with transnational marriages, as well as entitlements to welfare services and citizenship. Possible answers mainly lie in the Global Definition of the Social Work Profession, approved by the IFSW General Meeting and the IASSW General Assembly in July 2014 that states: (s)ocial work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights,

180  Yeun-wen Ku collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing. The above definition may be amplified at national and/or regional levels. The Global Definition has addressed the role of social work in promoting social change towards coherent and empowering development. To do this, social workers need an attitude of respect for diversity and they need to effectively mobilize knowledge and theory from the general social sciences and further integrate these theories into local wisdom. The Global Definition also reiterates that social work is not bound to any specific skills, but it deals with complex issues in human beings and therefore, the competencies of social workers require more reflexiveness than skills training alone (Adams et al., 2005: 1–7). Unfortunately, social work education in Taiwan is currently bound too much to what students should know in their discipline, rather than what they should think and do in practice. A series of efforts have been launched by TASWE, ensuring the quality of social work education, networking inter-institutional collaboration and course innovation, cultivating evidence-based research and practice and conducting empowering workshops for young students and scholars, through which they may look for an alternative approach to restore the real nature of social work.

Concluding remarks: looking for an empowered social work We have briefly reviewed the remarkable growth of the social work profession in Taiwan’s welfare regime. Social work has grown with the expansion of welfare programs since the 1990s, while the developmental/productivist regime set limits on the functioning of the field. Social problems of globalization put social work in a very difficult situation as do the increasing workloads and criticism of the discipline’s incapacity that ostensibly threatened social work’s mandate to promote social development and enhance people’s well-being. The rapid development of social work in China brought about the challenge of the marginalization of social work in Taiwan on the one hand and, on the other hand, the strong constraints of the governmental licensing examination hindered the restructuring of social work education to respond to a changing environment. A critical response initiated by young students has forced a rethinking of the nature of social work education and has opened an opportunity for social work reform in Taiwan. The experiences of Taiwan’s social work profession precisely demonstrate the fact that it cannot escape from the context in which it exists. Just as the diversity of human beings exist, so social work itself is embedded in a complicated context, held accountable to the law, public authority, societal organizations, service users and to its professional values. Benefitting from governmental fostering, Taiwan’s social workers seem to be in a situation where it is impossible to escape

Taiwan  181 from the intervention of the state. But if they do, then social work in Taiwan can be a truly empowered profession with confidence and competencies to in turn empower and liberate its service users.

Taking it further Issue I: Generally, there are two social work licensing systems: governmental examination (e.g. China, Japan, Taiwan) and registration upon being awarded a qualifying university degree (e.g. Hong Kong and Singapore). What strengths and constraints do each system have for social work education? Issue II: In Taiwan’s welfare regime, social workers – as officials or semi-­ officials (e.g. governmental contractors) – are mainly in charge of welfare delivery. Are there variances in social work development between different welfare regimes? What should be the core elements of social work education across different welfare regimes?

Note 1 See

Part III

Fragile democracy

11 Programming of social work in Indonesia Adi Fahrudin

Introduction Indonesia has many labels and names. Indonesia is archipelagic country, Muslim, multicultural and with a fragile democracy. As an archipelagic country, Indonesia has 17,508 islands (more than 6,000 of which are inhabited) extending about 3,200 miles (5,150 kilometers) east to west and 1,250 miles (2,012 kilometers) north to south. It is divided into 34 provinces. The five major islands are Sumatra, Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Java, Sulawesi (Celebes) and Papua (the Indonesian half of New Guinea). Most of the smaller islands except Madura and Bali belong to larger groups. The largest of these are Maluku, (Moluccas) and Nusa Tenggara (Lesser Sundas). The country’s strategic sea-lane position has fostered inter-island and international trade. Based on the latest National Census in 2010, the population of Indonesia is 237.6 million, many of whom are descendants of people from various migrations, creating a diversity of cultures, religions, ethnicities and languages. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country on earth after China, India and the United States. The United Nations Population Division figures show a population that has grown from 69.5 million in 1950 to an estimated 272 million by 2020 but rising slowly thereafter to a steady state just over 320 million by mid-century and an ageing population (Central Bureau for Statistics [CBS], 2010). The fertility rate mirrors this with a rate of 4.73 children per woman in the 1970-75 years, falling to 2.32 at the time of writing and projected to fall to 1.9 by mid-century (CBS, 2013). The official language is the Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia). It is the language that unifies Indonesia, with its 350 ethnic groups and 750 native languages and dialects. Indonesia proclaimed independence from Japanese colonial rule on August 17, 1945. Since then the country has experienced several profound political developments. Indonesia’s founder, President Soekarno, was succeeded by President Soeharto in 1966. A ‘New Order’ government was established in 1967 and it was oriented toward direct overall development. A period of uninterrupted economic growth was experienced from 1968 to 1996 when per capita income increased sharply from about US $50 (IDR 439,000) to US $385 (IDR 4,230.000) in 1986 to US $1,124 (IDR 12,364 billion) in 1996.1 The national economy expanded at an annual average rate of nearly 5%. This situation was abruptly

186  Adi Fahrudin reversed by the 1997 economic crisis that affected Southeast Asia. In 1997 and 1998 Indonesia went through its worst economic crisis since independence. Economic growth reversed to negative 13% (CBS, 2003). After 20 years of the reformation era, the Indonesian economy has experienced some growth, although not too significant. Based on projections of international institutions such as the World Bank, the Gross Domestic Product per capita of Indonesia as projected for 2018, corrected for the cost of living, was USD13,162.2 After more than three decades in power, President Soeharto resigned in 1998. The political situation underwent rapid transition. Soeharto’s last vice president, B.J. Habibie, succeeded him as president from 1998 to 1999 and he was followed by Abdurrahman Wahid from 1999 to 2001 and Megawati Soekarnoputri, daughter of President Soekarno, from 2001 to 2004. An historic direct presidential election took place for the first time in October 2004, when President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono came into office. After a second term he was replaced by President Joko Widodo in 2014 until the 2019 election due to take place shortly after the time of writing in 2019. As the third biggest democratic country after India and the USA, since Soeharto resigned as president in May 1998, Indonesians have been learning the nuances of democracy, from street demonstrations to party organizing, from Utopian philosophizing to the beginnings of coalition building. But still, nobody knows what direction this nation, rising towards almost 300 million people, will take and if its fractured societies can co-exist within one nation. Rabasa and Chalk (2001) describe this situation as a Fragile Democratic Experiment which has marked a perceptible change in Indonesia’s political culture. The authoritarian bureaucratic-military vision of the state and society that dominated in the Soeharto era has been replaced by a greater emphasis on civil society and political parties as the primary focus of order and stability (Rabasa and Chalk, 2001). The archipelago’s landforms and climate have significantly influenced agriculture, trade and the formation of the state. After Reformasi the number of provinces expanded from 27 to 34. Each province is subdivided into municipalities, cities and the decentralized administrative unit. In 2010 there were 398 districts, 93 cities and six administrative units in Indonesia (Ministry of Domestic Affairs, 2018). Indonesia’s politics in the post-New Order (called reformation era) are basically a reflection of societal resentment against the old-style politics of authoritarian rule, which were repressive and centralized. This so-called ‘new politics’ also witnesses the birth of a polycentricism phenomenon – a regional collective struggle that rejects old ideas of governing deemed to be undermining local identity and power (Agustino and Yusoff, 2014). According to Mohan and Stokke (2000), this phenomenon was a movement or struggle that went against the idea of centralization. As a result, subnational economies become static. The situation also resulted in a strong cultural resistance (i.e. the creation of a movement campaigning for local wisdom values) calling for alternative solutions to the development of districts. The new political culture, backed by civil society, is an avenue for struggle to recreate local identity that has been denied by the earlier autocratic regime. But after 20 years of democratization, Indonesia has

Indonesia  187 performed admirably in terms of political freedom, free media and freedom of speech, but according to Davidson (2018) it is clear that Indonesia still has many challenges to overcome, some so pressing that they could potentially erode or reverse many of the democratic gains the country has achieved since its former authoritarian ruler, Soeharto, was forced to resign in 1998. Geographically, the Indonesia archipelago is located at the confluence of four tectonic plates, namely the Continent of Asia, the Continent of Australasia the plates of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In the southern and eastern parts of Indonesia there is a volcanic arc that extends across Sumatra, Java, Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi, whose sides are old volcanic mountains, and lowlands which are partly dominated by swamps. These conditions make the country very prone to disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and landslides. Data show that Indonesia is one of the countries that has a high seismic rate in comparison with other parts of the world and more than ten times the rate of seismicity in the US (Arnold, 1986). Indonesia generally seems to be a potential area of natural disaster. Earthquakes, landslide, flood and tsunami are an ancient and frequent phenomenon due to the geological structure and the high seismic activity. Although Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, with 87.2% (225 millions) of the Indonesian population identifying themselves as Muslim based on latest census 2010 (CBS, 2010), It is also a multicultural country that recognizes the existence of all religions. Indonesia is in principle a pluralistic society, which is why the state ideology of Pancasila is the basis for living together as a nation which recognizes unity in diversity. The Indonesian coat of arms enshrines the motto of Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), written on a banner held in an eagle’s talons. Pancasila is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit words, ‘panca’ meaning five and ‘sila’ meaning principles. It comprises five principles: belief in the one and only God (Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa), just and civilized humanity (Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab), the unity of Indonesia (Persatuan Indonesia), democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives (Kerakyatan yang dimpimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan dalam Permusyawaratan dan Perwakilan) and social justice for all the people of Indonesia (Keadilan Sosial Bagi Seluruh Rakyat Indonesia). It is believed that Pancasila should be practiced and implemented in all aspects of life, including in social welfare (Fahrudin, 2013). In practice, even though not too seriously, religious and ethnic identities sometimes still surface in various fields including politics and if left unchecked may be the seed of division in this multicultural society. In the context of social work, Pancasila is not only a national ideology but also a set of values reflecting the original Indonesian social work theory and practice. Therefore, it has been argued, indigenization of social work in Indonesia should be based on local context, such as Islamic social work (Fahrudin and Yusuf, 2016). While considered as a universal profession, social work practice cannot be separated from the ideological, political, cultural and social contexts of a particular society (Ferguson, Lavalette, & Whitmore, 2004).

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Consequences for social work Indonesian history, especially long-time colonization, influenced all aspects of life in Indonesia. Colonization is usually thought to influence the development of social welfare systems and social work education. For example, the Malaysian social welfare system and social work education were influenced by the British administration. But in the case of Indonesia, colonization by the Netherlands and Japan had little impact on its social welfare system and social work education (Fahrudin, 2013). Social welfare was started formally when the Department of Social Affairs was established on August 19, 1945, after Indonesia gained independence. The Department of Social Affairs had no predecessor during the Dutch or Japanese colonial-rule eras. Short-term services for poor people and neglected children were established as a result of Article 34 of the 1945 Basic Constitution. In the early stages, social welfare efforts were focused primarily on providing assistance to refugees and war victims, including former forced laborers who survived World War II, and helping repatriate Indonesian people from Australia, the Netherlands and other countries. All of this was done by former soldiers or freedom fighters, employed in the field of social welfare without having relevant skills. A few of them were illiterate (Fahrudin, 2013; Praptokoesoemo, 1982). In the beginning social work education in Indonesia was influenced strongly by the American model. Most of the social work education is based on curriculum approaches and modified models of practice from the US. Curriculum content is more clinical, with the use of a problem-solving approach and model. International assistance through the United Nations and also USAID has been linked to specific recommendations in regard to the need for extensive work in the development of qualified social work manpower under regional and international agencies. The contributions of United Nations organizations especially the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in development of the Kursus Kejuruan Sosial Tingkat Tinggi (KKST) are extensive and also significant for the curriculum, field work, teaching material and development of faculty staff. According to Soelaiman (1985), in the early 1960s, social work experts, mostly from the US, worked under the UNDP. Such expert input focused on giving advice in preparing curriculum and staff development in this center from 1960 until 1964 (for example David Livingstone, 1960, Thomas M. Brigham, 1961–1962 and Irving Tebor, 1962–1964). They made significant contributions to preparing and establishing the first college of social work in Indonesia. At the end of 1965, the political upheaval caused by an attempted coup by the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) that caused the downfall of President Soekarno, and the associated security concerns, caused international assistance from the UN and USAID to be stopped. Later, the college was deemed capable of conducting education and social work independently but was still guided and supervised for the social work education curriculum by social work experts from the US under the UNDP project (Fahrudin and Yusuf, 2015; Soelaiman, 1985). With its large area, Indonesia has problems in the distribution of development. This also has implications for social work education. The distribution of education for social work is uneven and generally concentrated on the island of Java.

Indonesia  189 Even in the Era Reformasi (reform era), this condition has not changed how social work education remains concentrated on the island of Java. The vastness of the territory should open up space and opportunities for organizing distance education in social work, for example through the advancement of information technology, especially the entry of the 4th (and even 5th) industrial revolution era. Government regulation and policies regarding distance education for social work could be eased, thus giving a sense of justice to all people from various regions to participate in social work education. The Indonesian socio-political regime was already changing. Authoritarian systems have undergone changes under democracy. However, this change is more superficial and in practice the system does not really change much. Centralized politics are still very strong. Permits for the establishment of new study programs, including social work, are not easy. Many universities only fill and focus on old study programs such as social welfare that are not in accordance with the needs of the public industrial revolution. Social welfare programs in Indonesia are different from social work programs, because they are regarded as different disciplines and professions. In transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, the role of civil society is important in creating a new political phenomenon to support the idea of polycentricism. Decentralization acted as the agent for the empowerment of civil society and at the same time as a guardian of a check and balance mechanism to the government’s political activities. The impact of this new politics and polycentricism has changed Indonesia’s local political landscape at provincial and district levels. This change has influenced social welfare development in provinces and local communities such as in planning, human resources and financing. Expenditure by federal, state and local governments on social programs is very limited. Also, Indonesia’s country-wide expenditure on welfare, compared to that of other countries, is very limited. This means that the government has not given serious attention to social welfare development, especially to education for the social work profession. Social work education in Indonesia is varied in terms of program content, teaching methods, student admission qualifications, faculty staff and duration of study, career outcomes and the numbers of the student intake each year (­Fahrudin, 1999). According to Brigham (1982), the number of schools of social work is not correlated with a country’s size, development level, socio-economic status, cultural factors, colonial history or poverty level. Brigham’s study has relevance to the Indonesian social work education system. Social work education in Indonesia is very varied, has undergone a slow development and is still struggling to achieve professional education status relevant to its national development. The major problem with social work education in Indonesia is the education system’s struggle to attain a professional standard and curriculum that is relevant to the country’s needs (Fahrudin, 2009). There also are weaknesses in human resources in social work education, which especially lacks qualified lecturers and instructors for field work. Brigham (1982) noted that in 1981 only four universities and colleges had social work programs at bachelors and doctorandus levels in Indonesia. The doctorandus degree is similar to a master’s level qualification. These courses were offered by the University of Indonesia, the Bandung School of Social Welfare, the University of Muhammadiyah Jakarta and the Widuri School of Social Work. Uniquely until

190  Adi Fahrudin 2018, 26 universities and colleges offered social welfare programs and only one college offered a social work program. Although the academic degree of doctorandus was used in the Indonesian education system at that time and imitated the model in the Netherlands before it was exchanged in 1988, the pattern of social work education did not adhere to or mimic the Dutch social work education system. Collective hatred of the former colonizers from the beginning of independence left a grudge against using anything that savored of invaders. As such, it is understandable that, after independence, education orientation, including social work education, was towards the US. The role of the UN and US is dominant in helping newly independent countries through technical assistance and development grants through UNDP and USAID. That is why most social work educators who are pioneers in Indonesia, particularly from the Bandung School of Social Welfare, graduated from universities in the US. They implemented knowledge and experiences gained from the US into the Indonesian social work curriculum and training without adaptation and modification to the local context. All these factors, such as colonization history, independence era, international collaboration and assistance, political and coup d’état attempts by the Indonesian Communist Party, New Order Government, Era Reformasi and today’s political and education situation, have influenced social work education and the social work profession in Indonesia.

Development of social work and social work education Social work education in most countries is offered at college or university level. The major exception is Indonesia, where social work courses are offered not only in universities and colleges but also in secondary schools (Midgley, 1981). This social work high school still survives today with the label ‘Senior Vocational School of Social Work’ or ‘Senior Vocational School of Social Care’ (Fahrudin, 2019). Formal social work education in Indonesia starts at secondary level. It is established by decree from the Ministry of Education: No SK: 24/C, Date: 04–09–1946 and the Ministry of Education established the Sekolah Pembimbing Kemasyarakatan (SPK) in Solo, Central Java. Formal social work education at college level in Indonesia started in 1957 when the Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA) launched its Kursus Dinas Sosial A,(KDSA) a one year short-term course program. The Kursus Dinas Sosial Menengah dan Atas (KSDA) course extends to Kursus Kejuruan Sosial Tingkat Menengah dan Tinggi (KKSMT), a two year training program. This course is considered as early formal education and training to improve the quality of human resources in the ministry (Fahrudin, 1997; Sulaiman, 1985). The establishment of the Sekolah Pembimbing Kemasyarakatan (SPK) and Kursus Dinas Sosial Menengah dan Atas (KSDA) was not solely because of the needs for skilled human resources for the implementation of the relatively newly created Ministry of Social Affairs’ tasks, but was also due to the shape of the response of the two previous surveys of the United Nations International Surveys of Training for Social Work. Based on Documents of Training for Social Work (An International Survey, United Nations publication Sales No: 1950.IV.11 and Training for Social Work: Second International Survey, United Nations) it was

Indonesia  191 very clear that education and training for social work in Indonesia was not yet adequately developed. This is a consequence, first, of Indonesia being a relatively new independent state, with post-independence political turmoil which left the leaders no time to think about the need for expertise and skills in the field of social work. Second, the countries that once colonized Indonesia, such as the Netherlands and Japan, did not help prepare a system of social welfare services including preparing trained professionals in social work. Many policies were implemented to expand social work to developing countries, especially in the Third World under the UN. Midgley (1981) noted that among the earliest activities of the UN in the field of social policy was an international survey of social work training ‘designed to determine the extent of and need for social work education throughout the world and although it dealt also with the industrial countries, special attention was paid to the Third World’ (Midgley, 1981: 57). National education is divided into three levels: basic, secondary and higher education. In Indonesia, based on the National Education System Law No. 20 Year 2003, the higher education institution can be in the form of an academy, polytechnic, college, institute or university. Higher education is provided by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (MORTHE), other Ministries or Government Institutions and by community or private agencies. Higher education is divided into two types known as academic education and professional education. Academic education is based in higher education using innovative science and development with more emphasis on quality improvement and a broader science vision. Academic education is usually offered by a college, institute or university. Meanwhile, professional education is a higher education that exists to prepare students in the application of specific skills with emphasis on the improvement of competency and work skills or applied science and technology. The latter is offered by an academy, polytechnic, college, institute or university. Academic education is mostly under the administration of MORTHE National Education, while professional education is generally under the administration of other ministries which excludes MORTHE. There is an ambiguity in social work education which falls within both the administration of the Ministry of Social Affair (MOSA) and also the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education. Higher Education Law No. 12 Year 2012 article 10 (2) states that the grouping of science and technology in higher education divides into six: religious sciences, humanities sciences, social sciences, natural sciences, formal science and applied science. The explanation of article 10 states that social work is placed with the grouping of applied sciences. The state as well as the Indonesian government recognizes social work as an applied science and profession in higher education institution across universities, institutes, colleges, academies or polytechnics.

Socio-political conditions The traditional types of cooperative relationships illustrated in the Case Example have developed naturally over extended periods of time. Some of these

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Case Example 11.1  Gotong royong (communal self-help) The Indonesian culture strongly encourages the spirit of the value gotong royong, or communal self-help. Gotong-royong is a very familiar social concept in many parts of Indonesia and forms one of the core tenets of Indonesian philosophy. Geertz (1983) described the importance of gotong royong in Indonesian life as an enormous inventory of highly specific and often quite intricate institutions for affecting cooperation in work, politics and personal relations alike. Gotong royong means rukun, or mutual adjustment, while tolong-­ menolong, another common value, means reciprocal assistance. These values are needed to complete a wide range of village community tasks and activities, such as maintaining rural roads and irrigation facilities, coping with emergencies in natural disasters, providing mutual help for house construction and daily agricultural operations, and contributing labor or financial support for important ceremonies. For example, if a neglected elderly person is found in the community, community members together help the elderly, for example by repairing their houses, or providing daily food and even more extensive assistance to maintain the neglected elderly in the community.

daily interactions enable economic and social survival by sharing the burden to accomplish tasks. Gotong royong activities can also organize people into a collective action group anxious to improve access to services and overall family welfare (Suyono, 2008). Cooperation in relationships in local community associations may well be more important than the specific functions of the associations. By cultural necessity, social welfare programs are required by the law and regulation to be based on cultural values in the local community, especially gotong royong, which is an important source of social capital in the development of kesetiakawanan sosial (social solidarity) and pekerjaan sosial (social work) in Indonesia. Throughout history, social capital and local wisdom have been exercised through gathering and sharing of food and exchanging personal possessions freely in many communities and societies. But with modernization, mainly due to the cry for control, domination, power and group interest, society has been divided by class, clan, creed, caste etc., which has resulted in much human suffering (Day, 2000). However, over time the scope of gotong royong has been expanded and discourses like international cooperation, globalization and the concept of ‘one world,’ ‘the global village’ or ‘global solidarity’ has emerged to maximize the welfare of the vast number of people who hitherto have mainly been excluded from the processes and benefits of development initiatives. In this context, ‘social work’ has been introduced as a profession and instrument in modern society. Consistent with international practice, social work education in any form, whether undergraduate or postgraduate programs, has become linked to the principal philosophies and national identity of countries such as Indonesia.

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Challenges: the development of social work education and the role and influence of the state Some people believe the situation for the social work profession is bleak in Indonesia because the government has neither established it as an independent profession nor valued social work training (Fahrudin, 2004a). While trained social workers are hired by the Social Welfare Department, these employees are relegated to lower mid-range occupational positions. In addition, only untrained, rather than trained, social workers are eligible to compete for the national excellent social worker award that is sponsored by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The possibility of engaging in private social work practice is almost non-existent. Volunteer workers, religious leaders, government officials and political activists who also call themselves social workers seem to be more valued than trained social workers. People of other professions and lay people also do not have a high regard for the social work profession. This is due to the general public’s understanding of social work as charity work and not an academic discipline or profession. Doctors, nurses, teachers and psychiatrists are better known and better regarded as professionals than social workers (Fahrudin, 1999). Doctors and psychiatrists are particularly respected since they may prescribe medication, while professional social workers cannot prescribe anything. In addition, there are a number of lay people, such as local leaders and religious leaders, who readily provide assistance and counsel. Clients are happier discussing their personal problems with indigenous healers, astrologers, priests, healing men or dukuns and clever men or orang pintar, because they offer mantras, flowers, prayers, water with prayers (air jampi-jampi) and so on, and they are said to possess charismatic powers capable of healing all problems. Clients do not hesitate to pay lay people, hoping for solutions to their problems (Fahrudin, 2013; Sherliawati, 2014). The political, social and economic changes in Indonesia have also influenced social work education. After the New Order Regime under General Soeharto, more changes and reforms occurred in the education system and social service delivery models (Fahrudin, 1999). Until 2004, generally Indonesian people viewed social work as kesukarelawan, kerja kebajikan, pekerjaan amal dan aktivitas sosial. ‘In Indonesia, the term social worker usually relates to people who work for those who are marginalized … The term does not reflect the approaches used for solving problems of the target group … Sometimes, they are also called social/ environmental activists’ (Sulistyowati, 2011: 135). But the earthquakes and tsunami disaster in the year 2004 changed the landscape of social work education and the profession in Indonesia. Periods during and after the tsunami provided opportunities Building Professional Social Work (BPSW), UNICEF and the Indonesian Association of Social Workers (IPSPI) launched a program in 2006 in the tsunami affected area of Aceh to help build the capacity of the local government to implement a community-based, family-centered child welfare system. The project was initiated by Martha Haffey from Hunter College of Social Work. This very successful project is a showcase for quality services and employs professional social workers in the coordination of community-based child protective services and the training of community workers at the government level. Through this initiative BPSW also established a Social Work Practice Resource Center (SWPRC)

194  Adi Fahrudin for community based, family-centered child protection (BPSW, 2007). In that period the SWPRC was very active in integrating the knowledge, skills and values of current social work theory into the social services systems present in Indonesian communities. This center subsequently collapsed and does not now exist. Other impacts of the tsunami include international collaboration between the State Islamic University (UIN) in Yogyakarta (this university is under the Ministry of Religious Affairs) and McGill University with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in the Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN Indonesia Social Equity Project (IISEP) to set up and offer postgraduate interdisciplinary Islamic studies focusing on social work without an undergraduate social work program (Fatimah and Wildan, 2013). This program is supported by McGill’s School of Social Work. The concept of interdisciplinary Islamic studies makes a difference in that the social work program in the university seeks to develop a new kind of dakwah – ‘dakwah by doing’ rather than by preaching (Allen, 2008). The acceptance and understanding of the community regarding social work increased after the tsunami, especially with the issuance of Law No. 11 of 2009 concerning social welfare and Law No. 12 of 2012 concerning higher education which included social work as an academic discipline and a profession. As a sign of shifting views on social work, at the time of writing a draft law on social work has been discussed in parliament. As of 2019 there is a semi-governmental licensing system, under the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, for the Professional Certification National Board for professional workers, including professional social workers. However, the absence of a licensing system specifically for social work practitioners in Indonesia results in an uncertain quality of social work services. It is also very difficult for practitioners to work in other countries (Fahrudin, 2004b) because there is no standard for the quality and competence of Indonesian social workers. While the above conditions seem dismal for the profession, Indonesia has established four social welfare organizations that collaborate with the government and NGOs on common issues, such as developing higher quality social services throughout Indonesia; improving the quality of social work practice; and developing indigenous social work education relevant to Indonesians. The first social welfare organization is the Indonesian Association of Social Workers, or Himpunan Pekerja Sosial Indonesia (HIPSI), which was established in 1987 by the first chairperson, Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, the oldest daughter of President Soeharto. Members of this organization are professional social workers and volunteer workers. This organization is, however, inactive. The second organization is the Indonesian Association of Professional Social Workers, or Ikatan Pekerja Sosial Profesional Indonesia (IPSPI), which was established on August 19, 1998. This organization includes only professional social workers. The third organization is the Indonesian Association for Social Work Education, or Ikatan Pendidikan Pekerjaan Sosial Indonesia (IPPSI) and was established in 1985. The fourth organization is the Indonesian National Council on Social Welfare, or Dewan National Indonesia untuk Kesejahteraan Sosial (DNIKS), established in 1982. Ongoing political and financial problems make it difficult for these four organizations to sponsor significant activities that promote social development, social work practice and social work education in Indonesia. The strong distinction we noted earlier between ‘social welfare’ and ‘social work,’

Indonesia  195 and the existence of these four organizations, points to the disparate ways in which the meaning of ‘social work’ is framed within Indonesia. One means of progress would be for members of these four organizations to increase their participation in international social work associations to ensure that social work in Indonesia is kept abreast of developments in international social work. The biggest challenge for social work in Indonesia is how to equalize perceptions about social work as taught in higher education. Nearly 90% of the universities and colleges in Indonesia are currently opening social welfare majors that are very different from the social work discipline and profession. There is no desire within the country to change or adjust to the development of social work education elsewhere in the world. The universities and colleges maintain their self-identity very strongly and maintain their arguments regarding the disciplinary and professional nature of social welfare. Moreover, the social welfare program offered at these levels is not in line with the global standards of social work education. This debate on social welfare and social work has continued since Indonesia became independent and up to the time of writing, though all know that the energy spent to maintaining one’s own group identity rarely comes to fruitful completion. Therefore, the contribution of social work in the national arena is less prominent because of the busyness of dealing with domestic affairs among the social work community itself. The Indonesian parliament initiated the launch of the new act about social work law starting in 2013 but at the time of writing it is still tied down in parliamentary procedure in ways comparable to the difficulties outlined in the chapter on Malaysia. In new legislation, the state passed regulations that recognize the social work profession, but qualification and who is recognized as a professional social worker is still under debate. This happens because the state does not have a roadmap on how to develop the social work profession and how social work should contribute to national development.

Research on social work Many social work research studies have been carried out, but research is still limited to describing social problems. Various national surveys based on social work such as the Basic Social Welfare Survey, the Violence Against Children Survey and the Domestic Violence Survey have been carried out. However, the results of the research are still limited to the published books and have no impact and influence on state policy or national development directly. In the future, social work research ought to be focused on evaluating national development programs, including poverty alleviation programs or the Family Hope Program (PKH) and indigenous community empowerment programs and even on the impact of urbanization and globalization such as local migration and international migration. Social work research should focus on the impact of international migration toward global citizenship, transnational marriage and national identity. Also, there is an urgent need for social work research in Indonesia on the short-term and long-term impact of Industrial revolution 4.0 and 5.0 on family life. Many research issues regarding the family, such as family kinship, family structure, family relations and family problems are affected by the digital revolution.

196  Adi Fahrudin Social work research also needs to be conducted on multicultural social work, good practice evidence and indigenization of, for example, the Islamic social work model. Funding is needed to ensure that Indonesian social workers are scientist-practitioners moving towards the further development of indigenous social work through research. At this time, very little research on social work practice in Indonesia has had an impact on national policy or been published in international social welfare or social work journals. Social work educators should conduct research based on their own teaching and fieldwork supervision experiences. Similarly, social work students should engage in research about fieldwork placement and produce small projects that document indigenization.

Taking it further Unlike the ‘Taking it further’ contributions of other chapters, these final two paragraphs recapitulate the chapter themes as a basis for a general learning task. Indonesia is a multicultural, Muslim and developing country with political changes and fragile democratization. As a developing country, Indonesia is faced with many social problems to resolve. Social work education and social work professional organizations play vital roles in the development of social welfare and the delivery of social services. Programming of social work education in Indonesia started after independence. The development of social work education and the social work profession are very strongly influenced by overseas social work scholars. In the earlier years of the introduction of social work education, US social work models were drawn on in the Indonesian social work curriculum, teaching material and staff development. During this period social work still struggled to attain maturity as a profession. The internationalization of social work education has moved this orientation not only to the US but to other countries such as Australia, India, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia and European states. Social work education in Indonesia needs a new direction in order to achieve international standing according to the IFSW/IASSW Global Standard for Social Work Education and Training. Raising the quality of social work education can yield an improved quality of social workers. This in turn can contribute to national development through research, practice and policy formulation. The state and government have important roles to play to assure the quality of social work education and practice in the country. One would wish for rapid change and continuous adaptation to ensure social work profession graduates in Indonesia become qualified and competent as social workers in the global arena. Task: In the light of the previous two paragraphs, focus group discussions of social work students and other key stakeholders might meet to develop awareness of the extent of consensus on priorities across these major issues and to identify and seek to resolve areas of dissonance.

Notes 1 See 2

Part IV

State socialism

12 The governmental technology of social work in China Leung Tse Fong Terry, Luk Tak Chuen and Xiang Rong

Introduction China is among the largest providers of social work education, just after the United States and the United Kingdom. At the time of writing, the latest information was that there were 339 undergraduate programs and 105 postgraduate programs offering a social work specialty in Mainland China, providing training for about 30,000 prospective social workers each year (China Association of Social Work Education, 2017). The Chinese party state has been the most important sponsor of social work education in its flourishing development, although social work did not enjoy state support when the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949 (Bai and Daley, 2014; Yan and Tsang, 2005; Yao, 1995). This chapter will employ Foucault’s governmentality thesis to understand the political role of social work that garners the party state’s support for social work and social work education in recent decades, and to uncover the forces influencing the construction of social work in China despite imposition of the state agenda.

Development of social work and social work education since 1949 In China, social work has often been considered as a branch of sociology. The oldest social work program, inaugurated in Yenching University in the 1920s, was housed in the Department of Sociology (Peng, 2014). Echoing the popular distinction between sociology and social work, sociology was taken to explain social problems and their sources, whilst social work rendered practical solutions to the social problems (Bai and Daley, 2014; Xiong and Wang, 2007). Between the 1920s and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, about 20 social work related programs were developed in China for training social service practitioners, all with the assistance of missionary groups and scholars trained in Western society (Li et al., 2012; Yan and Tsang, 2005; Yao, 1995). Western inputs for social work education since its early years of development have exposed Chinese scholars and social service practitioners to the

200  Leung Tse Fong Terry et al. philosophy, principles and practices of western social work that have emphasized human rights and the value of the person. Claiming that new China did not have the social problems that sociology and social work purported to address, the Chinese party state eliminated all sociology and social work related courses from universities in the country not long after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (Bai and Daley, 2014; Yao, 1995; Yuen-Tsang and Wang, 2002). Social work, however, silently slipped back into university curricula in the 1980s, as Lei Jieqiong (who was considered a founder of contemporary Chinese sociology) documented civil affairs as ‘social work with Chinese characteristics’ (Wang, 2011). In the pressing concern to enhance governance in urban areas, the Ministry of Civil Administration announced in 1983 a policy to reconstruct China’s civil administration education system (Ma, 2013). This instigated the return of social work in training civil administration officials. In 1986, the Ministry of Education officially recognized social work as a university discipline and the State Educational Committee authorized Peking University and other universities to establish social work programs (Li et al., 2012; Yuen-Tsang and Wang, 2002). The Ministry of Education initially framed the new discipline as ‘social work and management,’ associating social work with the management of social relief programs. Later, in 1998, the Ministry of Education allowed social work programs in higher education to become a ‘non-quota-controlled’ discipline, meaning that universities across the country could freely establish social work programs in accordance with identified social needs (Li et al., 2012). The critical turning point in the development of social work and social work education in Mainland China came in 2006, when the party state affirmed the functional role of social work in its political mission to construct a ‘socialist harmonious society’ (Central Committee of the Communist Party, 2006). The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Personnel subsequently announced the government’s recognition of social work as a profession and set out rules for its regulation (Xiong and Wang, 2007). Support for the development of social work as a profession was further endorsed by the Chinese party state in the 2010 National Outline for Medium and Long Term Talents Development Plan (2010–2020), whereby the party state called for training a social work talent troop of two million by 2015, targeted at achieving an eventual talent pool of three million trained social workers by 2020 to meet the manpower demand in building up – repeating the phrase from 2006 – a ‘socialist harmonious society’ (State Council of the People’s Republic of China, 2010). The ambitious target for 2020 was later downward adjusted to 1.45 million, with a shortfall of one million social workers still recorded in 2016 (State Council of the People’s Republic of China, 2016). The talent development project of the party state further boosted the development of social work programs in higher education. Initiated as an urban product by and large, social work programs in institutes of higher education were mainly distributed around the eastern coastal regions and the metropolitan areas, teaching skills and knowledge that essentially addressed urban issues (Li et al., 2012).

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The socio-political context for inaugurating social work in China State support to re-inaugurate social work and social work education since the 1980s has to be understood against a background of governance problems in the aftermath of its economic reforms (Leung et al., 2012). Before the deep-seated economic reforms in the 1980s, work-unit based neighborhoods (danwei) were important building blocks of the socialist economy as well as a source of collective identity and attachment (Bray, 2005; Dai, 2008; Gui et al., 2009; Hua, 2000; Huang and Low, 2008). Combining work and residence, danwei served as the center of resource distribution in the provision of health care, housing and education services to workers and their families (Dai, 2008; Gui et al., 2009). In the shift from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, an immediate impact of the economic reforms was the replacement of the socialist work units by private enterprises, which ceased to perform the social, political, civic and cultural functions that the danwei used to shoulder (Hua, 2000). Dismantling of the danwei in the economic reforms called for fundamental change in the grassroots administration system. In the early years of economic reforms, the unchecked capitalist relations of production and opportunities for abuse of political power for economic interests under state monopoly capitalism have caused widening social and economic inequality, which instigated contentious social actions and threatened social order in the country (Leung et al., 2012). Following China’s integration into the global economy, governance problems in urban China were further compounded by the influx of a mobile, heterogeneous and independent population from the rural areas (Bray, 2005). The usual ‘versatile government’ that bore full responsibility for the provision of services to all citizens under the danwei system became ineffective for tackling escalating social discontents arising from the host of social problems and divergent community needs (Li et al., 2012). Accordingly, the party state had to look for an alternative governance paradigm to manage the novel social and political circumstances. Social work as a knowledge discipline was noticed and brought to front stage in this search for a new approach to local governance for tackling the emerging social issues and safeguarding social stability in urban China (Leung et al., 2012; Zhang, 2011).

Social work as a governmental technology Social work was revived in China as the party state looked for a new strategy of governing in the aftermath of deep-seated economic reforms. Foucault’s governmentality thesis is an analytic tool for studying networked governance beyond the state (Merlingen, 2011), which is useful for understanding the political role of social work in socialist China. The governmentality perspective has been employed by scholars outside China for analyzing a range of social and political phenomena in contemporary China, such as policing (Dutton, 2009), the work unit (Bray, 2005), religion (Cooke, 2009) and sexual health (Jeffreys and

202  Leung Tse Fong Terry et al. Huang, 2009). Although it offers a conceptually rigorous framework for understanding how social work was inaugurated as an alternative governing approach in socialist China, Chinese scholars have not taken up this perspective in social work research. In the governmentality perspective, government is conceived as ‘the ensemble formed by institutions, procedures, analyses and reflections’ and a ‘calculation of tactics’ that allow the exercise of ‘a very specific albeit complex form of power’ over the target population (Foucault, 1991a: 102). The diverse technologies governing the target population also structure the possible field of action for others to govern relationships in micro system like the family (Chambon, 1999). Instead of imposing direct constraints on individual freedom and autonomy, government is a much more decentered, ad hoc and contingent system of actor networks that exercises control through shifting relations between knowledge, power and subjectivity (Foucault, 1982; Jeffreys and Sigley, 2009; Rose and Miller, 1992; Sigley, 2006). Governmentality studies identify the particular way of thinking about the kinds of problems that can and should be addressed by state institutions, and uncover the calculated means by which particular forms of ‘truth’ are invoked and specific means and resources are used to direct how the population behaves and acts (Jeffreys and Sigley, 2009). In governmentality terms, the logics of government are incorporated in complex interconnections between political rationalities and governmental technology (Stenson and Watt, 1999). Political rationalities represent claims of knowledge authorities in prescribing the ideals of government and the associated actions for realizing such ideals (Merlingen, 2011). Rather than being mere rhetoric, political rationalities are expressed in vocabularies that are morally colored and grounded upon knowledge to make intervention possible in the real world (Merlingen, 2011; Rose and Miller, 1992). Problematization is central to the articulation of political rationalities. The problematization process defines ‘the threats and challenges to good governance and the adverse effects that can be expected from any failures or shortcomings’ (Merlingen, 2011: 153). Government programs translated from the defined problematics of government are often explicitly connected to systems of knowledge that theorize and explain the governmental problems (Merlingen, 2011; Rose and Miller, 1992). To manage the governmental problems articulated by specific political rationality, governmental technology that assembles diverse forces within a web of actors and actions is employed to make the subjects thinkable and measurable for the purpose of governing them (Miller, 1990; Stenson and Watt, 1999). Being instrumental in articulating political rationalities and crafting the programs of government, governmental technology enjoins people in specific locales (such as institutions and families) through the complex of mundane programs, documents, procedures and techniques, ‘to work out where they are, calibrate themselves in relation to where they should be’ and regulate them in a way that does not encroach on their freedom and autonomy (Rose and Miller, 1992: 187). Leung and colleagues (2012) used the governmentality framework in an analysis of the political role of social work when China was confronted by problems

China  203 of local governance in the post-economic-reform era. By reviewing governmental and quasi-governmental documents on social work after the 2006 promulgation of policy commitment to building a ‘socialist harmonious society,’ they identified a new emphasis on the problematization of government in contemporary China. Departing from the Maoist mass-line politics in the pre-economic-­reform era, threats to society were seen as caused not only by sabotage by internal and external enemies, but also by personal shortcomings and moral failures among civilians and government officials (Leung et al., 2012). Alleged moral degeneration instigated a moral crusade that focused on the ‘person’ unlike the former socialist emphasis on the ‘mass’ (qun zhong), i.e. the collective of individuals (Leung and Tam, 2015). The renewed problematics of government were taken as justification for government actions to re-inaugurate socialist moral standards through intervention on the person. This emphasis on personal responsibilities in the political rationality of the party state was translated into programs of action whereby social work was recognized as a programmed solution because of its knowledge claim in handling psychological dynamics, human relationships and the human-society interface (Leung et al., 2012). Whilst ‘solving social problems, tackling social risks, facilitating social harmony and enabling social development’ through ‘helping the needy, resolving conflicts, expressing care, adjusting psychological state, changing deviant behaviors and mediating relationships’ expressed the major functions of social work in China (Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party, 2011), the technical process of administering diagnostic assessment and plans of intervention for the clients, and applying tools for evaluating effectiveness of service was recognized as a manifestation of professional competence in social work (Ministry of Civil Affairs, 2006). In constructing the dyadic relationship between the social worker and the client as a convenient and manageable technology for governing change in persons, social work promised to implant the techniques of responsible citizenship and inaugurate the ‘socialist moral standards’ which were conceived to be in sharp decline in the post-economic-reform-era (Central Committee of the Communist Party, 2006). Recognized for its instrumental value, social work aligns ‘the self-governing capacities of subjects with the objectives of political authorities by means of persuasion, education and seduction rather than coercion’ (Rose, 1996: 50). The broader societal context that could account for clients’ problems was relentlessly taken for granted by and large, and the politics of relationships and the political causes of personal problems were not given the attention rendered by some social workers in Western liberal democracies (Leung et al., 2012; Leung and Tam, 2015). With an emphasis on individual rather than structural changes, the professional discourse of social work serves to relocate the problems of regulation ‘from the disputed terrain of politics onto the tranquil yet seductive territory of truth’ (Rose and Miller, 1992: 186). This clinical emphasis was appealing to proponents of social work in China, since it helped to project a professional image to support the expansion of its boundary and made it easier for government officials and the general public to comprehend and accept the new occupational terrain (Yuen-Tsang and Wang, 2002).

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Social work education under state agenda As an important ground for socializing practitioners, social work education plays a significant role in shaping social work practices in socialist China. Since the early days of the re-inauguration of social work, the party state has been influential in determining the contents of social work education in the training institutes (Yao, 1995). As social work was recognized as a university discipline, the Ministry of Civil Affairs set up the Social Work Education and Research Center in 1988 to advise the development of social work education (Ma, 2013). The Ministry of Education has indicated a set of assigned textbooks for the social work curriculum (for example, the textbooks on Case Work, Group Work and Community Work published by the Chinese Social Work Education Association), notwithstanding that many of them were not able to keep up with the fast developing landscape of social work in China and other parts of the world. Meanwhile, party branches of the Chinese Communist Party were set up in academic departments of all universities in China, in accordance with the Constitution of China that defines the Chinese Communist Party as the sole leading political party in China (National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, 2019). The role of the party branches has always been ideological, to ensure allegiance to the mainstream political line and party principles by keeping a vigilant eye on events of ‘political incorrectness.’ Apart from overt control over the direction of social work education in universities, the state also exercises clear influence on the contents of teaching and research in social work through other indirect means. With progressive interventions in areas of poverty alleviation, social assistance, crime prevention and mental health, as well as community service provisions for young people, the elderly, women and families in recent decades (Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party, 2011), the party state has been the direct sponsor of welfare projects in the country and funding provider for employing graduates from social work programs. When these welfare initiatives were extended to rural China, social work was recognized as relevant to the rural communities too. In the Policy Statement for Strengthening the Development of the Social Work Professional Work Force promulgated in 2011, social work services were officially inaugurated in rural China for dealing with issues of child abuse and domestic violence, poverty alleviation and community service provisions as well as social governance (Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party, 2011). To garner support from the state that provides much of the authority and financial remuneration that the social work community in China accrues, the state agenda about the role of social work is reflected in emphasis on psychotherapy and clinical practice in the social work curriculum (Leung et al., 2012). Meanwhile, social work educators in China have been actively involved in government organizations and projects as advisors, consultants, trainers or even operators (Yuen-Tsang and Wang, 2002). In performing the service functions in both the urban and rural areas of China, social workers also have to collaborate with various government departments and governmental organizations, such as

China  205 the All China Women Federation, the Community Youth League and the General Labor Union. Recognizing the reality of having to work closely with the state and state organizations, social work training institutions have put heavier emphasis on knowledge and skills pertaining to working with state bureaucracy than the social work curriculum in most other countries did (Yuen-Tsang and Wang, 2002). Apart from direct and indirect state control, the development of social work education in China is shaped by a constellation of other forces. Noticeably, the rapid and large scale development of social work education has created a serious shortage of qualified social work teachers who are able to work out an indigenous curriculum of social work for socialist China. Since benchmarking with top American social work institutions was hailed as reaching academic excellence, many training institutes essentially followed the foreign experience in curriculum design and course contents (Wang and Huang, 2013). For example, the social work program in the Beijing Normal University rode on the social work curriculum of the South California University in the US. Between 2013 and 2017, faculty from the South California University were involved in teaching social work core subjects to Beijing Normal University students. The heated debate occurring in the West over dominance of the clinical models in social work practice was not heard in China, when western social work curriculum with a clinical emphasis was taken as the benchmark of high educational standards. Notwithstanding the prevalence of clinical discourse in social work education and practice, training institutes had difficulty enacting the clinical curriculum in teaching. A significant portion of social work educators in China were trained in sociology, public administration, social policy, anthropology etc. rather than in social work and had little or no experience in frontline practice (Liang and Lam, 2015). They often did not have the required knowledge and practice experience in the clinical models and the micro helping process to support their teaching. Partnership with training institutes and senior social work practitioners from Hong Kong became a way to make up for the shortcomings in the social work education infrastructure (Bai and Daley, 2014; Leung et al., 2012). An illustrative example is the purchase of supervision services from Hong Kong by the Shenzhen Municipal Government. Taking advantage of its proximity to neighboring Hong Kong, the municipal government of Shenzhen initiated a purchase scheme to recruit experienced social work practitioners from Hong Kong to coach their newly hired social workers. Bringing in handy expertise from Hong Kong and elsewhere to foster social work as an effective technology of government was invariably a double-edged sword (Leung et al., 2012). Social work in Hong Kong has had a long liberal and progressive tradition, wherein many Hong Kong social actions in the 1970s and 1980s were organized by social workers. The structural emphasis brought in by social work practitioners and educators from outside China contradicted the predominantly clinical approach to social work that the Chinese government desired.

206  Leung Tse Fong Terry et al. Another influence on social work education in China came from the rise of the third sector or the philanthropic sector in recent decades. With incubation support from international NGOs, grassroots non-governmental social organizations have emerged since the 1995 Global Women Summit held in China. These grassroots social organizations were set up for coping with the host of problems inherited from state socialism and springing from the deep-seated economic reforms, such as those intended to tackle rural and urban poverty, massive rural-urban migration, shortages of education and health services, pollution and ecological degradation etc. The contributions of these social organizations, particularly in reconstruction works after the Wen Chuan earthquake, have impressed local governments with their good organization and apparent success in mobilizing human resources. This made them suitable candidates for receiving procurement contracts from the government and other, philanthropic, foundations to provide much needed public services, despite the fact that the distinction between social work and volunteering remains a subject of much discussion. These grassroots social organizations eventually became new venues for social work practicums and exposed social work educators and students to models of social work practice that focused on the social and economic rights of the marginalized and disadvantaged population in the quest for social justice. The third sector also started to offer career opportunities for social work graduates to work on the issues of gender and labor, and on marginalized populations like migrants, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Some of the experienced social workers in the third sector later joined the new cadre of social work educators, bringing to social work education insights from the alternative visions and practice models learnt from progressive NGOs on the margin.

Liberal discourse for social work in state policies The foregoing discussion illustrates that despite state agenda to make social work a governmental technology once it was accepted that personal failings were an appropriate area of activity for government, other forces combined to shape the social work curriculum and practice. Whilst the structural notion of social work began to capture the attention of a new breed of social work practitioners and social work educators, the party state also played a part in creating room for an alternative construction of social work that deviates from its own governance agenda. As the party state made social work its governmental technology and shifted from the class-laden rhetoric of the ‘mass’ to atomized remedies in tackling ensuing social problems, the humanistic discourse intrinsic to social work in Western liberal democracies also gained momentum in Mainland China (Leung and Tam, 2015; Leung et al., 2012). The ‘person-centered’ (yi ren wei ben) rhetoric first appeared in China’s political discourse in 2003 at the Third Plenum of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party, as the party state heralded ‘person-centeredness’ as one of the guiding principles for developing the ‘socialist market economy’ (Central Committee of the Communist

China  207 Party, 2003). The party state also highlighted the ‘person-­centered’ rhetoric in its pledge to establish a ‘strong social worker workforce’ as the essential infrastructure for achieving the vision of a ‘socialist harmonious society’ (Central Committee of the Communist Party, 2006). Marketed as scientific applications, the wholesale introduction of Western social work to socialist China has opened the country to humanistic values and principles that the international social work community incorporated as core tenets of the profession (Leung and Tam, 2015). Social workers in China also considered ‘person-­centeredness,’ as embraced in their practice, a distinctive feature that differentiated them from the administrative officials whom the disadvantaged groups in China used to encounter before the re-introduction of social work in local communities (Leung and Tam, 2015). In the humanistic tradition of social work, ‘self’ is conceived as an active agent whose individuality and autonomy are to be respected. Emphasis on the person as an independent entity with inherent dignity and worth has encouraged commitment to liberal goals such as social justice and civil rights (Taylor-Gooby and Dale, 1981). Philosophical premises about the persons and their relationship with the social environment make social work a values-based profession, wherein values and beliefs are unlikely to be removed from knowledge and skills in the practice of social work (Peters, 2008). Relying on imported knowledge to support the social work professionalization process, Chinese social workers and social work scholars have had an open acceptance of the humanistic values and principles embedded in the international definition of social work, despite hesitation about the quest for social justice in relating to the powerful state (Leung, 2007; Liang and Lam, 2015). As social work was heralded as a technology for social re-engineering in Mainland China, the nice fit between its psychological and interpersonal focus and the portrayed problematization of government has allowed oversight of its inherently liberal undertone (Leung et al., 2012). Meanwhile, the proposal of the party state to enact ‘innovations in social governance’ has defined a new role for social workers, portraying them as more than individual change agents. In 2013, the Chinese government introduced at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China the concept of ‘social governance innovation’ for tackling the persisting problems in urban governance (China Internet Information Center, 2014). Further, in 2017, at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the party state addressed the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life as the basis of innovations in social governance (State Council of the People’s Republic of China, 2017). Pronouncing the ‘contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life,’ the party state acknowledged the demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness, justice, security and a better environment among the people and called for ‘a social governance model based on collaboration, participation and common interests’ (State Council of the People’s Republic of China, 2017). Progressive vocabularies such as social justice and social inclusion began to appear in the discourse

208  Leung Tse Fong Terry et al. of government in parallel with the individualistic notion of personal failings in defining the problematics of government. Admitting that the state was not omnipotent in serving the population, the party state realized the need for synergy with civil society in a model of social governance built on ‘co-­creation,’ ‘co-­governance’ and ‘co-sharing’ among different social sectors (People’s Daily, 21 June 2018). Social workers are recognized as having a role in facilitating community participation to vitalize the local communities and create synergy with the residents’ committees and local government in the new model of social governance (Ministry of Civil Affairs, 2018). The emphasis on community participation in social governance echoes the notion of democracy inherent in macro social work practice, amidst the prevalence of personal and clinical discourse in defining social work. Similar to what Sigley (2006) found in his study of birth control in China, liberal political reasoning has always co-existed with an authoritative form of technical control in socialist China.

Interaction with civil society Apart from the room for an alternative definition of the essence and role of social work that the Chinese government instigated through policy promulgation, debate about the relationship between social work and gongyi (the public interest sector and a synonym for civil society) has also vitalized reflection on social work practice in China. Such debate may be unthinkable to social work educators in the West, since social work has been considered as being anchored in civil society and has a role to quest for social justice in collaboration with the civil society. However, in China, civil society and social justice have become politically sensitive terms as these ideas were, from 2014, progressively repudiated by the Xi-Li Administration as threatening national security and social stability. In the endeavor to strive for professional recognition from the state and society at large, mainstream social work practitioners and social work educators have been distancing themselves from these politically sensitive themes. Instead, social justice as inherent in the international definition of social work was taken over by the emerging civil society movement in diverse forms, such as in the works of rights-based NGOs and media, as well as academic activism on issues relating to gender, labor, migrants, disabilities, environment, citizen participation and the like. Paradoxically, such ‘unprofessional’ civil society activities were later incorporated into the social work purview, as some rights-based grassroots social organizations took advantage of the fast track registration system for social work organizations to obtain a legitimate legal status from the government. This rendered the grassroots social organizations eligible to bid for procurement contracts from local governments in the face of dwindling international funding support. These social work organizations, transformed from rights-based grassroots social organizations, were conceived by mainstream social work organizations as competitors for public resources and the structural model of social work they upheld was criticized as the ‘fallen angel’ of social work (Zhu, 2016).

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Case Example 12.1 – From self-help to helping The Birdie Social Work Service center (pseudonyms) in Guangdong province started as a self-help group for victims of industrial accidents. The center was formed by veteran industrial injury victims who have gone through the complicated recovery process of dealing with the legal procedures to fight for mandatory compensation, adjusting to changes in family and community life and reconciling with inflicted disabilities. The cumulative experiences in organizing activities and services enabled the center to take advantage of the demands for community services to register as a social work organization with the local government. Subsequently, the center successfully won some government contracts to provide community services for migrant workers and their families in the adjacent industrial parks. Its advocacy work for the educational rights of migrant children has however alarmed the local government. Officials in the local government threatened to reverse their registration status. Although the threat was not actualized, the center was not able to get further service contracts from local government. The financial difficulty of the center was relieved by the support of a charity foundation, which was impressed by the commitment and zeal of the center’s founder in safeguarding the rights of workers and migrant-citizens. Some charity foundations outside the jurisdiction of the local government also provided funding to support the center’s services to migrant workers.

Persistently, institutional change has not been incorporated as a mission of social work among mainstream social work practitioners and educators in China. However, the various forces combined have created a group of ‘progressive’ social workers who embrace the cause of social justice and collaborate with the gongyi sector to venture beyond individual changes in tackling social problems. The Social Work Forum held in Southern China in 2016 was a platform for bridging social work and gongyi in terms of their common values and practice methodology. The forum provided an opportunity for communication between social work and the gongyi sector, enabling the structural discourse that the gongyi sector adopted to inspire those mainstream social work educators and practitioners to reflect on their apolitical stance and re-connect with civil society. A group of social work practitioners and educators from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan also formed the ‘Progressive Social Worker Network’ for constant dialogue among social workers from these Chinese communities of divergent political structures. In 2016, a WeChat (the most popular SNS in China) newsfeed titled ‘Frontier of the Editorial’ (shelun qianyan in Chinese) was created, with social workers in China as the target audience. The newsfeed renders a compilation of introductory essays or summaries of critical and progressive academic articles on social work and sociology outside China, providing social workers

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Case Example 12.2 – From helping to self-help Formation of the Progressive Social Worker Network in China was triggered by a series of labor disputes within the social work community in China. In 2013, a female social worker died in work after a continuous duty of 48 hours. The employing organization denied responsibility for the social worker’s death. This provoked a few social work students to take action in supporting the family of the deceased to fight for compensation from the organization and to demand official recognition of its responsibility. This case has raised concerns for the rights of social work practitioners in China, which became the theme of the 2014 Progressive Social Work Forum held in Hong Kong. More than 200 social workers from China attended the forum. Since 2014, the Progressive Social Worker Network has been organizing forums to discuss common issues confronting social work practice in Chinese communities with divergent political structures. i.e. Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

and social work students in China with the critical perspectives in social work that are not available from mainstream channels. It has disseminated translated articles on topics like structural social work, radical social work, managerialism, Foucauldian analysis etc. The newsfeed platform has been able to survive possible political risk in the past four years by refraining from direct discussion of the social situation in China. These venues for alternative definition of social work outside the overt state agenda emerged during the time when tightened control was exercised on social organizations under the Xi-Li Administration (Ministry of Civil Affairs, 2018). Should such venues be allowed to stay, vibrant discussion among social work practitioners and educators may help co-construct ‘social work with Chinese characteristics’ that can accommodate the diverse facets of social work within the socio-political reality of socialist China.

Conclusion As social work was recognized as legitimate for tackling the host of social problems in socialist China, social work research in the Chinese context has largely been focused on practice issues. The governmentality perspective that was employed by scholars outside China for understanding the political facet of social phenomena such as religion and sexual health was not at all popular among social work researchers in China. Notwithstanding, we witness the increasing significance of social work as a tool of social governance in socialist China. In recent years, under the Xi-Li administration, there has been increased pressure on social workers and social work educators to align more closely with the ideological line of political leadership at the top. Meanwhile, as international funding dwindles, social work organizations are placing greater reliance on service

China  211 procurement contracts from the government. Given the reality of a strong state in Mainland China, which continues to maintain a mandate of control in the name of care, social work remains a governmental technology in accordance with state agenda, rather like social work in other parts of the world (Lorenz, 2008).Notwithstanding, domination and control always create gaps and spaces for free play and resistance (Foucault, 1977a). Despite tightened control on social organizations and civil society after enactment of the 2016 Charity Law (in which social organizations have to pledge loyalty to leadership of the Chinese Communist Party), progressive social work educators and social workers have been actively exploring discursive, institutional and social spaces to pursue social work practices in line with the quest for social justice. Having ideological affinity with the structural discourse of social work, the liberal vocabularies and liberal political reasoning that were included in recent government policy documents on social governance have provided legitimacy for social workers and the third sector to attempt more progressive practices in local communities. Social work practice has always been a person-to-person engagement within the orbit of the worker-client relationship, in which microscopic supervision and surveillance has not been easy. Cautiously navigating the political risk, street level social workers have been able to exercise discretion in the work place as subtle resistance to governmental control. Still, it remains to be seen if the socialist regulatory machine will be encroached on by the humanistic ideology that social work embraces, or if ideology and technology can be disentangled in social work to align with the governance agenda of the state. Optimism suggests that human agency of the progressive social work educators and social workers in crafting spaces for progressive social work practices cannot be over-estimated.

Taking it further When this chapter was written in early 2019, the political landscape in China under the Xi-Li administration had been increasingly unfavorable to autonomous actions in civil society, including by social work organizations. Yet at the same time, the party state was placing greater expectations on social work to help relieve the tensions inherent in state socialism. Diverse interpretations of the essence of social work prevail in China and projecting a clear trajectory for the future development of social work is not easy. Amidst this fuzzy situation, continual dialogue in a vibrant civil society is needed to resolve contesting ideas and values in the development of social work for socialist China. It remains to be seen if the human agency of progressive social work educators and practitioners can successfully craft the discursive and institutional spaces necessary for constructing ‘social work with Chinese characteristics,’ against the structural constraint that the state imposes. In small group discussions or projects, explore the following questions in the light of the case set out in the chapter.

212  Leung Tse Fong Terry et al. In what ways can social work in China play out its role as change agent whilst fulfilling the political role that the state assigns? How can the helping technology in social work be applied to realize its political role of social governance in socialist China? To what extent is social work in China relevant for creating structural change in tackling social problems? To what extent and in what way can the technical knowhow of social work be applied in isolation from the liberalist value base defined by the international social work community? How can the political rhetoric of ‘person-centeredness’ and ‘community participation’ be translated into social work practices in socialist China? In what way can synergy be created between social work and the third sector in tackling social problems and fulfilling community needs in socialist China?

13 Social work education in Vietnam Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan

Introduction Unlike some other parts of the world, in Vietnam the development of social work education has been a significant driver of the growth of the social work profession, rather than the other way round. For example, in Europe and North America the early social work educational programs in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and New York were key in the early steps towards the professionalization of social work as it emerged out of the practices of the Charity Organization Societies and the Settlement Houses (Healy, 2008; Hugman, 2010; Payne, 2005). In contrast, moves towards the professionalization of social work in Vietnam began with the establishment of university programs and changes in practices and social service structures have followed from research and advocacy about how the knowledge and skills being taught might most effectively be used in the social development of the country. This chapter focuses on the recent history of social work education and locates this within the context of the social development of contemporary Vietnam as it has industrialized and become more open to global influences. In particular, we seek to explore the way in which the tension between the creation of social work education and practice that is socially and culturally relevant to Vietnam, and at the same time is of international standard, has both shaped these developments and at the same time led in some respects to some blockages to rapid progress. Thus we examine some of the contradictions inherent in the adaptation in a new context of ideas and practices that may have their origins in another social and political system and cultural setting. In conclusion, in this chapter we consider some of the future challenges for social work education in Vietnam as the country continues to develop and, within that development, professional social work practice is shaped further.

A very short history of social work education in Vietnam Although the recent history of Vietnamese social work education has been described in a number of reports and reviews (including by ourselves) (Nguyen Thi Oanh, 2002; Forgery et al., 2003; Hugman et al., 2007, 2009; Taylor et al.,

214  Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan 2009; Hines et al., 2010, 2015; Nguyen Thi Thai Lan et al., 2010; Stevens et al., 2011; Han et al., 2016), in order to identify key themes and issues it is necessary to summarise this process here. Nguyen Thi Oanh (2002) identifies the origins of contemporary Vietnamese social work education in the advocacy of community practitioners in Ho Chi Minh City. These community social workers had formed non-government organizations to provide community services in response to needs that became evident through the rapid social change that was occurring. In 1986 the Vietnam Government had shifted its economic policy to embrace a market economy and at the same time began to open up to the world. These community social workers had mostly been trained in first the French and then American run social work programs that had existed in Saigon (as it then was) prior to national reunification in 1975. After that time, professional social work had been abandoned as unnecessary within socialism because social problems were seen to be caused by capitalism (and by some as the consequence of colonialism). However, as a market economy began to develop, social issues quickly re-emerged. This led to the ad hoc establishment of various short courses within specific organizations (Nguyen Thi Oanh, 2002: 88) and in 1986 approval for a one semester social work course to be included within the BA in Women’s Studies at the Open University of Ho Chi Minh City (OUHCMC). As social change continued to reveal serious social issues, such as child maltreatment and other social problems, international organizations such as UNICEF, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and Save the Children Sweden in the early 1990s advocated for the introduction of social work to the social services system. Although the political system remained that of state socialism, the identification of social problems with the shift to a market economy mean that the government faced the challenge of developing state social services to address such problems. This was to be achieved by the strategy of the creation of professional social work in the social services that are the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA). In 2004 the Ministry of Education approved the training code for social work, which established full degrees in social work based on international models and standards, with advice from Philippines social workers. The first element of this strategy to be implemented, drawing on the experience at the Open University of HCMC, was the approval of a Bachelor of Social Work program at the College of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (COLISA) in Hanoi, which in 2004 became the University of Labor and Social Affairs (ULSA) (Hugman et al., 2009). It is important to note that COLISA was the staff training college of MOLISA, as this location for the early implementation of a social work degree reflects both the identification of social work as relevant to the ministry’s social welfare functions and also the way in which the interests of the state shaped educational provision. By 2009 there were more than 30 universities across Vietnam that had been approved by the Ministry of Education to run social work degree programs and this number has grown rapidly (Han et al., 2016: 663). A survey in 2017 by the Vietnam Association of Schools of Social Work (VNASSW, 2017a) found that

Vietnam  215 there were then 58 programs, including PhD, masters of social work, four-year bachelors of social work, three-year bachelors of social work and two-year college diplomas. However, this proliferation of social work programs has not been matched by numbers of university or college educators qualified in social work. Although some Vietnamese educators have been trained in social work, either by participating in programs in other countries, or though social workers from other countries (including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, the Philippines, Sweden, Canada, the US and Australia) running intensive courses in Vietnam, there are some approved programs that cannot admit students because they do not have anyone able to teach them (VNASSW, 2017b). There also remains a shortage of opportunities for students to gain practice experience as part of their education. Some short-term solutions have been created, for example with special projects set up in which social work qualified university or college educators act as field supervisors, but these are limited and not seen as sustainable in the longer term. In short, the continuing expansion in the number of programs has been done without any increase in the overall availability of educators who are qualified and/or experienced in social work. Following research undertaken by UNICEF Vietnam together with MOLISA, that examined the need for professional social work (UNICEF Vietnam, 2005), and a study of a potential model for social work services within the MOLISA system (UNICEF Vietnam, 2009), professional social work was finally approved by the Government of Vietnam in 2010 through a Prime Ministerial Decision (Decision 32/2010/QĐ-TTg). This Decision contains two elements. The first is the designation of job levels in government service of ‘principal social worker,’ ‘social worker’ and ‘assistant social worker.’ The Decision specifies educational qualifications for these levels of masters degrees, four-year bachelors degrees and college degrees or diplomas respectively. Having such designated job levels permits government institutions (ministries and departments) to employ people as social workers, although it does not stipulate that their qualifications must be in social work. The second element is that the Decision contains a program for the development of social work within MOLISA’s responsibilities for social affairs. In this way social work was defined both in terms of its role in government social services but also focused within one specific ministry. Although this has not prevented some ‘pilot projects’ being established to develop social work in hospitals and schools, it means that the predominant way in which social work roles and tasks are being shaped is defined in terms of the perspectives of the ministry that is responsible for social affairs rather than health or education. The creation of services that are identifiably concerned with social work has continued slowly. By 2018 there were social work services centers in 40 provinces (out of 63 provinces nationally, including the five major cities which have provincial status), as well as the ‘pilot projects’ in some hospitals and schools, most of which are urban although some of the schools are in rural areas. However, at the time of writing, not all of the practitioners in these centers have completed recognized social work education (UNICEF Vietnam/MOLISA, 2014: 45) and

216  Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan almost all are managed by people who are not social work trained. We will return below to the implications of this both for social work education and also for social work as a profession in Vietnam. In summary, this very short history of the recent development of social work education in Vietnam has identified a number of challenges and questions that require further consideration. These are: 1 The extent to which the rapid growth of social work education by comparison to professional social work practice has introduced distortions, including the lack of professional employment opportunities for social work graduates. 2 Related to this, the model of professional placements as a key element in professional education has been highly problematic, due to the lack of qualified supervisors. 3 There has been a strong reliance on international collaborations in this process, which raises grounds for concern about if and how ideas and practices are appropriately integrated to local contexts, including the social, economic and political structures as well as Vietnamese culture (including recognising the issues of the ethnic minority groups). 4 The pace of change in the main arena of employment, namely government social services, remains slow for several reasons, so that social work education still has a primary role in social work professionalization. Drawing on these points, in the following discussion we focus in turn on the way in which social work education has responded to the lack of practice learning opportunities, efforts to ‘indigenize’ social work for Vietnam (Nguyen Thi Thai Lan et al., 2010), the way in which employment of social work graduates might grow in the future and the continuing central role of government in shaping Vietnamese social work.

Developing a socially and culturally authentic curriculum As has been the case with most countries, the development of social work in Vietnam is being achieved, at least partly, through learning from ideas and practices in other parts of the world. However, it could be observed that in those countries where professionalized social work first emerged there were often, to some extent, exchanges between countries as opposed to the importation of ideas and practices from one country to another (compare with Hugman, 2010: 2, 19). Before 1975 social work as an organized practice in Vietnam was first introduced from the French and then, subsequently, American attempts to develop social services along the lines of models prevailing in those countries, including models of social work training (Nguyen Thi Oanh, 2002). Then, after 1984 when contemporary social work began to be developed, both the universities and government looked to countries where social work was established for inspiration, with active support from international organizations.

Vietnam  217 Thus, it could be said that the colonialism of pre-1975 social work has been replaced by neo-colonialism, in which theories and practices of social work have effectively continued to be imported from other places (Nguyen Thi Thai Lan et al., 2010). To some extent it may be that this is inevitable. Even from the 1920s, the core influences on social work professionalization were shaped by international social work organizations. Originating in the International Conference on Social Work in Paris, 1928, the then International Committee of Schools of Social Work and the International Permanent Secretariat on Social Workers have continued to exert considerable control on the definition of social work, standards for social work education and principles of social work ethics through their contemporary versions, the International Association of Schools of Social Work and the International Federation of Social Workers (IASSW/IFSW, 2004, 2014, 2018). These important elements in the shaping of the profession have, at least until very recently, been couched entirely in terms that are embedded in the cultures, social systems and political structures of the global North. It is not that they have no relevance to countries of the global South. What is at issue is that, first, the institutions that set their key terms for a long time were based in the North and were led by social workers from global Northern countries. So, second, the way in which these issues are considered and the ideas and principles that inform the international documents contain some elements that are framed in global Northern terms, so that at the very least they require reinterpretation to be relevant in a country such as Vietnam. When looking for ways to understand social work and to consider what social workers do, therefore, it made sense for countries like Vietnam to look to the global North for theories and practices on which to draw. Even when the individuals involved included social workers who were themselves Vietnamese, many had trained in global Northern countries (such as in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the US and so on). Moreover, institutions from those same countries have supported some of the developments in social work education and practice developments (see Han et al., 2016; Hines et al., 2010; Hugman et al., 2009; Nguyen Thi Thai Lan et al., 2010). At the same time, however, there also have been influences from Asian social workers, which have served to balance the potentially mono-cultural sources of theories and practices. In particular, universities and social work agencies in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and the Philippines have contributed to Vietnamese social work education and practice. This means that there have been other Asian perspectives introduced that are more culturally harmonious with Vietnam. Yet, it must be remembered that in these countries, too, social work was introduced from the global North (from the UK in Hong Kong and Singapore, and from the US in South Korea and the Philippines), so that issues of neo-colonialism are not necessarily overcome simply by referring to the ideas, practice and systems in other parts of Asia. Nguyen Thi Thai Lan and others (2010) identify particular issues regarding the need for Vietnamese training materials. First, as many of the texts and other

218  Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan

Case Example 13.1 Two models of international contributions to the development of social work education in Vietnam The growth of social work education and the professionalization of social work have been affected greatly by the influence of international collaborations. Although there have been many individual collaborations, in the form of contacts between social work educators or social work programs, there have been two particular sustained programs that have been very influential. First, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funded 46 Vietnamese social work educators to undertake the Master of Social Work program at Regina University in Saskatchewan (Hugman et  al., 2009; Durst et al., 2010). These Vietnamese educators followed the Canadian social work program, including field education placement. This project created a body of qualified lecturers, especially at the University of Labor and Social Affairs in Hanoi. Second, a group of social work educators from the State University of California at San Jose, funded by USAID, was invited by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH) Hanoi – part of the Vietnam National University system – to collaborate on a project to expand and enhance social work education, including the development of a masters of social work degree (Hines et al., 2010). This Social Work Education Extension Project (SWEEP) ran for three years from 2012 to 2015 and made a major contribution to establishing the MSW at USSH (Hines et  al., 2015; Han et al., 2016). These international collaborations have been very successful in increasing the number of qualified educators and in enhancing the quality of social work education. The first created a body of qualified educators, largely for one university; the other has produced educators working at a wider range of institutions. At the same time, they raise questions about how and to what extent international influences have been appropriately transformed to be suited to the Vietnamese social and cultural context (Nguyen Thi Thai Lan et al., 2010). This poses questions for both Vietnamese social work educators and international collaborators about the way in which the transfer of knowledge, methods and ethical ideas o ­ ccurs  – indeed whether it should be a goal to achieve two-way exchange relationships instead of a one-way transfer model.

materials that the overseas trained educators are using come from their own educational background, they are written in English or another European language, so that terms and concepts may not easily translate. Second, the ways of thinking about and doing social work contained in these materials are embedded with concepts and assumptions that are grounded in cultural understandings, policies and laws, governmental systems and other aspects of social structures that are

Vietnam  219 specific to the countries where they originate. Given that all these important factors are very different between Vietnam and global Northern countries in particular, this is a crucial issue if Vietnamese social work is to grow in a way that is appropriate for the country. In this sense, the goal is to build the profession in such a way that it meets the widely held international standards and norms but at the same time clearly has ‘Vietnamese characteristics.’ This task is not simply a matter of adding some local aspects in a superficial way. It requires that social work theories and practices move from the adaptive response that can be seen as ‘indigenization’ (adapting external ideas and practices in ways that are culturally appropriate – see, for comparison, Osei-Hwedie et al., 2006) to the creation of an authentically Vietnamese perspective on social work. This latter process is understood as ‘authentization’ (Walton & El-Nasr, 1988) in Africa, or as ‘authentication’ in China, where very similar issues of cultural relevance are faced (Yan & Cheung, 2006). One example of the need for authentization is in the way that social work with individuals and families is undertaken. Social work methods texts from the global North frequently make assumptions about the shape and functioning of families, the way that individual people understand their lives in relation to others and so on, that are based in the norms and experiences of people from the global North. Even in these countries, there are growing debates about the ways in which established theories and methods are appropriate for individuals and families from ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and other groups whose identities and lives are not best grasped in the ethnocentric terms that predominate in the literature (Bennett et al., 2013; Dominelli, 2008). In the same way, even though Vietnamese society is modernizing and absorbing globalized norms, it has its own distinctive if changing culture. For example, under Prime Ministerial Decision 136/2013/NĐ-CP priority is given to placing children with family members in out-of-home care placements. Similarly, how casework, counselling, case management or other practices are undertaken must be relevant to the local social and cultural context. Therefore, social work educators in Vietnam find that they need to develop their teaching in ways that are relevant to Vietnam, as well as writing texts and other learning materials that are appropriate. For example, as didactic instruction remains the standard method in many disciplines, while international texts assume interactive learning, this requires Vietnamese social work educators to rethink and adapt both what they do and how they interpret international influences – it is not a one-way process. As an aspect of culture, the importance of religion has also been identified by Nguyen Thi Oanh (2002). In terms of religion, Vietnam is predominantly Buddhist, with Catholic Christianity being the largest minority faith. Minority faith communities include Cao Dai, Protestant Christianity and Indigenous belief systems. These religious influences are woven together through a more diffuse background of Confucian thought, so that all take a distinctively Vietnamese character and a sense of what it is to ‘be Vietnamese’ is shared between them. Indeed, in many ways there is a greater difference between these more traditional expressions of culture and modernist secular perspectives, than there is between the various spiritual belief systems (Nguyen Thi Thai Lan, 2017).

220  Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan The influence of traditional beliefs and values is reflected in problems of translating ‘social work’ into Vietnamese, as the equivalent term (‘côngtác xã hô ̣i’) traditionally refers to anyone doing helpful work in response to the needs of their neighbors or wider society (Nguyen Thi Oanh, 2002: 91). That many political leaders at all levels in Vietnam share this view of social work has been seen by its advocates as one of the blockages to faster professionalization in social work. Another example of an issue raised by traditional values for authentization is in the way professional ethics are understood and constructed. On this issue, there are many points of view about the way in which the international statement of ethical principles is framed (IASSW/IFSW, 2018). While it is certainly the case that ethics and values in social work can be seen in different ways according to culture, it is also important to note that assumptions can also be over-­ simplified (Hugman, 2013). For instance, Yip (2004) argues that the value of human rights is not relevant to Asian culture. However, in Vietnam the value of human rights is a feature of the national constitution (Government of Vietnam, 2013). For example, it should be noted that Vietnam was the second signatory globally of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Nguyen Thi Oanh, 2002: 89). This Convention is reflected in law and policy (for example, the Child Act 2016) that underpins practice in the area of child and family welfare and child protection, the implementation of which involves the developing social work role in MOLISA. More widely, ideas about the rights of women and of disabled people have also been influential in applying law and policy to social work (UNICEF Vietnam/MOLISA, 2012). What is at issue here is that the way in which it shapes society, economics and politics is distinctively Vietnamese and must be grasped in teaching social work as well as in the formulation of professional ethics for Vietnam. This is variously expressed, such as in the emphasis on family placement in out-of-home-care being developed as part of implementing the Child Act 2016 and in the way cultural understandings of family structures underpin such practices. Nguyen Thi Oanh argues that the early influence of the French and American social work training programs and the support they received from non-­government organizations from those countries, created connections with Catholic agencies such as Caritas and Catholic Relief Services (2002: 85–86). Although this was followed by the establishment of the Buddhist Youth School for Social Service, Nguyen Thi Oanh is critical of the way that these developments were used by the American Government to pursue war with what was then North Vietnam (which in Vietnam is called The American War). After the reintroduction of social work in the 1980s, the major emphasis has been on the development of a secular profession. In this context, faith-based organizations continue to play a part, but they do not have the leading influence as they did prior to 1975. Nevertheless, the influence of these faith perspectives continues to be important in the culture of Vietnam, affecting the way in which assumptions about family life continue to be made, such as which branches of a family have what specific obligations, as well as in faith-based organizations continuing to play roles in the provision of social services (for example, see Nguyen Huong, 2015).

Vietnam  221 Since 1975 Vietnam has been a unified country, with a state socialist governmental system. Although since the 1980s there has been some scope for the civil society sector to develop, so that non-government social services organizations and faith-based organizations play a role in social work developments, as already noted, the main provider and predominant focus for the profession remains the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA). It is for this reason that the University of Labor and Social Affairs (ULSA) has had a leading role in the development of social work education, as it was previously the former training college for the Ministry (as COLSA, see above) and first developed a social work program to meet the Ministry’s requirements. Decision 32 of 2010 (see above) is primarily concerned with providing a job category for the employment structure of MOLISA (Government of Vietnam, 2010). In this sense, the government has given MOLISA both a responsibility to create professional social work positions within its structures and the lead function in defining social work for other ministries and departments. At the same time, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has to approve all higher degree curricula in Vietnam (with the exception of the Vietnam National University system [VNU] and the three regional universities in the north, middle and south of Vietnam, which have the authority for self-­ accreditation). So this part of the government has also exerted a very strong control on social work developments, particularly in the first decade of social work education (2004–2014) (see below). The main professional social work qualification in Vietnam is the Bachelor of Social Work. As noted above, according to the database from the VNASSW (2017a), there are now 58 educational institutions which have been accredited to teach social work, in programs across six levels: PhD, Masters, University Bachelors (four-years), College Bachelors (three-years), vocational college diplomas (two-years) and vocational schools. Most of the social work training institutions have less than ten years of experience (76.6%), with a substantial minority (40.4% of the total) having less than five years (see Figure 13.1).

< 5 years, 40.4

> 10 years, 23.4

5-10 years, 36.2

Figure 13.1  Social Work Training Experiences of Vietnam Training Institutions (n=47). Source: Vietnam Association of Schools of Social Work (2017a).

222  Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan Bachelor of social work The national curriculum for this program (other than in the self-accrediting universities – see above) was first developed in 2004 and revised in 2010 and 2015. In this core curriculum, some elements are common to all Vietnamese bachelors degree level programs, including modules on the political and social thought of Ho Chi Minh and on Marxist-Leninist theory, statistics, logic, a foreign language and physical education. The part of the curriculum that includes all the major modes of social work practice then comprises the rest of the degree: working with individuals and families (casework, case management, counseling); groupwork; community work; policy and research. In 2015 the Ministry of Education and Training approved curriculum changes, so that now BSW programs can have over 60% of their content focused on social work professional learning, including foundational and professional practice subjects, with some having as much as 75% allocated to this content (VNASSW, 2017a, 2017b). Nevertheless, training institutions face ongoing challenges in building their own specialized social work programs. For example, the University of Labor and Social Affairs BSW has been directed to welfare and social security policies that serve its managing ministry, MOLISA, so that approximately one quarter of the credits in the professional social work knowledge block addresses social welfare policy and social insurance compared to the credits that cover introduction to social work and all practice modalities (individuals, families, groups and communities). At the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi (which can set its curriculum independently) the program focuses more on research methodology (including research design in social work), as well as working with children, people with disabilities, people living in poverty and mental health. At the Public Health University they have paid particular attention to social work in hospitals, with 14 subjects in health and health care (equal to 30% of the total credits). At many other universities providing a BSW program, they are challenged by whether they should adopt a general or specialized approach in their training. Nevertheless, in the BSW programs some efforts have been made to indigenize the curriculum with the inclusion of Vietnamese perspectives and social problems and issues. For example, in many training programs, a ‘local-needs’ approach is taken to subjects such as social work with poverty, social work with mental health, social work with drug abusers or social work with persons/children with disabilities.

Master of social work programs To meet a growing demand from both employers and potential students, masters level training was first started at the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities Hanoi in 2012. At the beginning of its MSW the University of Social Sciences and Humanities had received considerable support from UNICEF Vietnam in conducting a bridging program of postgraduate training for candidates from different social sciences into social

Vietnam  223 work, which ran from 2009 to 2011. More importantly it also worked with the Social Work Education Extension Project initiated by San Jose State University, US (Hines et al., 2010, 2015) and the Canadian International Development Agency’s project on social work and health in developing the MSW curriculum. Up to the time of writing, there are seven institutions providing MSW (five in Hanoi and two in Ho Chi Minh City, the two largest cities), with about 400 graduates and 300 students currently enrolled in the MSW program. There are two kinds of MSW: i) research-based MSW and; ii) practice-based MSW (which is only conducted at two institutions). The requirements for these two programs are somewhat different. For the research-based MSWs only bachelors graduates in social sciences are eligible, whereas admission to the practice-based MSWs is open for candidates who hold a bachelors degree from any field and who have some practical experience in social welfare. Additionally, there are more subjects in the practice-based programs, with fewer requirements for research work, compared to the research-based programs. Nevertheless, as with the BSW programs, there are still issues in MSW, particularly with regard to the appropriate qualifications of educators and to indigenizing the content of programs, that affect the quality of MSW education in Vietnam.

The problem of practice learning From the early days of the reintroduction of professional social work to Vietnam and the (re-)establishment of social work education, providing opportunities for practice learning has been highly problematic. Nguyen Thi Oanh (2002: 91) notes that as recently as the year 2000 fieldwork in social work education was still unknown. Although NGOs provided opportunities for learning to take place in field projects, the fact that none of their staff were qualified social workers was seen as a significant limitation. That the lack of qualified social workers in field projects was considered a limitation was based on the expectation that to be recognized as plausible practice learning, fieldwork should be supervised by qualified social workers, as stated in the Global Standards on Social Work Education and Training (IASSW/IFSW, 2004: Section 3.10). Although these standards are intended to be ‘aspirational’ in countries where social work is not yet an established profession (Section 1.3) and interpreted relative to local conditions (Section 3.10), they are understood in a strict sense in many countries. In Vietnam this has led to the creation of forms of fieldwork that involve those educators who hold recognized social work degrees, who have still mostly graduated from other countries (as we have noted above), acting as field educators. (These are typically those educators who have received their own fieldwork experience through completing master of social work degrees in global Northern countries.) The model described by Hugman et al. (2009) that developed after 2004 allowed for fieldwork supervised by both university-based educators and, in fewer numbers, social services practitioners who are not qualified social workers. The possibility for change in this situation remains limited by the lack of employment of social work graduates by relevant

224  Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan organizations, especially the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and its relevant departments at provincial and district levels. Ironically, one of the anecdotal explanations for this is the lack of practice readiness of social work graduates. Although the way in which practice learning is constructed shows some improvements since 2004, there is still little capacity for the universities to increase the amount of practice learning towards international standards. In particular, because opportunities for placement learning with qualified social workers continue to be restricted by the supply factor of relatively few positions being filled by those who have formal graduate training themselves, it could be said that there is a closed feedback loop occurring, in which each factor is both a cause and effect of the other. The resolution of this problem is something to which a lot of thought is given but for which an easy answer is not yet apparent.

The problem of educational capacity With the very rapid growth of training institutions, from 4 in 2004 to 58 in 2017, social work education in Vietnam is facing serious problems of teaching capacity. In a survey conducted by the Vietnam Association of Schools of Social Work (VNASSW, 2017a) at 47 social work training institutions, the capacity of the teaching faculty was identified as a major challenge. In Vietnam, to teach on a bachelors degree requires a masters qualification and on a masters degree requires a doctorate. Of 697 social work lecturers in all levels in BSWs and MSWs (at the 46 institutions that responded to the survey) there were only 14.9% with MSWs and 1% with relevant doctorates (in social work, social development or social welfare). The largest numbers have masters or doctorates in sociology or psychology (40.6%), followed by those who graduated in other disciplines such as education, medicine, economics or languages (28.1%). (VNASSW, 2017a). This survey shows the continuing severe lack of professionally qualified social work faculty, despite the efforts made in the last decade to enhance educators’ competence.

The research base of social work education developments Social work and social work education developments in Vietnam have an explicit research base. This research has come from three sources. First, there is research that has been conducted by Vietnamese government bodies and universities; second, research undertaken by international partners (including NGOs) with Vietnamese colleagues; third, independent inquiry from individual scholars, including both Vietnamese and foreign researchers. However, research undertaken about Vietnam in this field is still a relatively small body of work (much of which is referenced in this chapter), whether this is undertaken within the country or more widely in the region or globally. Relatively little social work research has been undertaken in Vietnam, beyond the accounts and evaluations of particular aspects of social work education or policy advocacy reports of the type produced by international NGOs, especially

Vietnam  225 UNICEF (on which we have drawn in this chapter). Although this research has had an influence, it is largely from a small number of projects or research groups. Related to this, developments in social work in Vietnam have only had limited recognition more widely in Asia or globally, despite there being widespread engagement between Vietnamese social workers and social work academics with colleagues across Asia and beyond. Consequently, much of the research material that has informed Vietnamese social work and social work education so far has come from elsewhere. Indigenized research and theorizing that addresses socially and culturally relevant perspectives is beginning to be established (for example, Nguyen Huong, 2015; Nguyen Thi Thai Lan, 2017), but the progress remains slow.

Conclusion Social work in Vietnam is in an ongoing process of professionalization and, as we have argued, social work education has been and continues to be central to this process. We have identified four key themes that remain highly relevant to the next stages of this development: • •

Whether curriculum, modes of teaching and educational materials are based on a Vietnamese approach to knowledge, skills and values. Whether sufficient capacity in the form of educators who are qualified to teach in social work is created – this includes having faculty with masters and doctorates in relevant disciplines. Whether the employment practices of the key government departments can be changed to enable sufficient social work qualified staff to be appointed, especially as this affects the provision of field education opportunities. Whether the boundaries between ministries and departments can be overcome sufficiently to enable social work to be developed in areas such as health, education and justice.

In addition, there is a need for better application of research to guide the decisions of government, which in this context has a strong control over such developments, such as the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) in setting the curriculum in most universities or the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in creating social work services and making choices about who should be employed as social workers. Social work education in Vietnam has developed very quickly by comparison to those countries where the profession is very well established. It has faced unique challenges, arising from the history of colonization, war and reunification. It is also the case that in Vietnam social work education has been a major driving force in the development of social work practice and the profession as a whole. Throughout this discussion we have noted that in a state socialist system such as that of Vietnam, there is a strong centralized political control of key elements, including the definition of social work, the approval of educational curriculum,

226  Richard Hugman and Nguyen Thi Thai Lan structures for social work services and the employment of social workers. From this, it may be said that contemporary social work reflects the concerns of the state, which Gillespie describes as the pursuit of ‘an equitable and civilized society’ within a market economy and socialist political structure (2018: no page). We have noted that the issue of indigenizing social work remains a key question in Vietnam. However, external influences have not only created a challenge for Vietnamese social work, they have also at times enabled it to grow. What has been crucial has been whether those from other countries who have provided ideas and practical assistance have sought to work with Vietnamese social workers and educators to develop an authentic Vietnamese social work, or have been insensitive to the question of whether or not they were imposing global Northern perspectives. This chapter has noted the particular issues facing social work degree programs in Vietnam arising from the ongoing limitations on practice placements. In particular, we have also noted that, ironically, within the main potential employing system of the Departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs the social work degree is widely seen as failing to provide an adequate preparation of relevant skills and knowledge precisely because graduates do not have practice learning. Social work education in Vietnam has already shown itself to be a powerful force for change. It is only just over 30 years since the first one semester class was provided at the Open University of Ho Chi Minh City and short in-service training began to be made available for practitioners in Departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs. Many gains have been made in a relatively short period of time and, given the commitment of social work academics, practitioners and managers to the growth of the profession, there is potential for ongoing development. The central question is in what ways the different political and professional interests can be brought together to resolve the challenges that are currently evident.

Taking it further Several questions yield opportunities for group discussions and tasks of disciplined inquiry. For example, 1 Underlying the development of social work education in Vietnam is a question about the extent to which social work is basically the same in all countries or if it is so affected by society and culture that it is different in each country. 2 We have argued that social work practice in Vietnam has been shaped by social work education, rather than the other way round. Is this the same as other countries or different and, if it is different, in what ways is it so? 3 The Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training (IASSW/ IFSW, 2004) states that social work programs ought to include placement supervised by qualified social workers – is this always necessary and, if so, how should this be achieved if there are too few qualified social workers in the country?


1 For example, Stanley, (Ed.) 2011. 2 3 For a Korean understanding of this history see the film ‘So Long Asleep’ directed by the cultural anthropologist David Plath and the ‘activist anthropologist’ Byung Ho Chung. 4 5 Tày Son Dynasty 15th Year of the reign of Quang Trung (Western calendar 1790), ‘A Decree on Building Schools.’ This decree is exhibited in the National History ­Museum in Hanoi. 6 Welfare regimes do, however, figure through the book, especially in the chapters on South Korea and Taiwan. 7 The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, had much to say about ‘democracy’ in relation to his own and other countries in a speech at the Oxford University Union on 18 January 2019 and in the subsequent discussion. watch?v=QVNkFpTATEw and 8 The eighth Five-Year National Socio-economic Development Plan (2016–2020). 9 on_anti_corruptionThese figures report perceived corruption. The 2018 report concludes of the Asia Pacific region ‘With an average score of just 44 for three consecutive years, the Asia Pacific region is making little progress in the fight against corruption. Compared to other regions, Asia Pacific is on par with the Americas (average score: 44) in its lack of progress and behind Western Europe and the European Union (­ average score: 66). Why is Asia Pacific making little to no progress in its anti-­corruption efforts? One of the reasons is an overall weakening of democratic institutions and political rights.’ 10 11 12 The nature and characteristics of this were explored in a conference on ‘Temples, Trust and Trade: Chinese Temple Networks in Southeast Asia’ at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, November 2017. The quotation is from the conference brief. 13 The meanings ascribed to communitarian and cosmopolitan are much debated and with little consensus. They are variously emphasized as being about cultural plurality; views of the ideal international system of justice; ideals for inter-state collaboration; human rights; social versus individual values; the role of reason in resolving differences; and views of what constitutes the social and political good. 14 Digitized at papersad00joan_djvu.txt 15 A useful link for US history can be found at social-work/history-of-social-work-education-and-the-professions-structure/

228 Notes An interesting early account of the LSE can be seen at­ centenary/timeline/events/london_school_of_sociology_and_social_economics_ set_up See also Shaw, 2014. 16 However, this has often been presented in an unhelpfully polarized fashion (Shaw, 2014 and 2016a, Chapter 3). 17 ‘supererogation’ = the action of doing more than duty requires, often used in a slightly negative way. 18 This question raises more extensive considerations that may appear (Shaw, 2016b). 19 We are indebted to Professor Kenneth Dean, Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore, for this observation. 20 This links to the wider Muslim charitable work through endowments associated with waqf (e.g. Fauzia, Mostowlansky and Yahaha, 2018). 21 http:// The editors’ indebtedness to the first two of these will be transparent. 22 Project Southeast Asia, for example, gives limited attention to welfare issues apart from the pervasive demographic challenge of ageing. Their website states ‘While emphasizing core disciplines of history, politics/international relations, anthropology, human sciences, medicine and development studies, it will also address and offer inputs into important contemporary issues facing Southeast Asia, such as regional security, infectious diseases, environmental change, ageing and sustainable development.’ 23 Giddens seemed to make a similar assessment in his 1999 Reith Lectures and his subsequent book based thereon (­ transcripts/1999_reith5.pdf; Giddens, 2002), but whether he would maintain that position two decades later is less certain. 24 w w­ southeast-asia/ This is not at all an Asia-only question. At the time of writing the European Union is in dispute with member states such as Poland and Hungary regarding the nature of democracy. The term ‘illiberal democracy’ has been coined to describe such democratic forms that resist the idea (first developed by Karl Popper) of an ‘open society.’ 25­c reaking-at-the20-year-mark/ Edward Aspinall expresses some similar reservations, while ­cautioning against alarmism. Aspinall, E. 2019 ‘Indonesia’s elections and the challenge to its democratic achievement.’ indonesias-elections-and-the-challenge-to-its-democratic-achievement/ 26­southeast-asiaauthoritarianism-is-enduring/ 27 The rise of right-wing populism across Europe offers another example. 28­southeastasia/ 29 30 31 Trends and Drivers of international migration in Asia and the Pacific.’ 2017. www. 32 C.f. ut m _ sou rce=newslet ter& ut m _ med iu m= ema i l& ut m _ ca mpa ign=newslet ter 2018-11-18 33 We are quoting in this paragraph from the briefing text of a conference on ‘Love’s Labours Cost? Asian Migration, Intimate Labour and the Politics of Gender’ held at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, 3–4 December 2018. 34 Some of this history is traced by Craig at­ documents/tsrc/presentations/community-dev-a-short-history.pdf

Notes  229 35 Of interest to social work is Anderson’s remark how in studies of colonial medicine there has been a ‘studious avoidance of mental illness.’ OECD (2018), 36 General government spending (indicator). doi:10.1787/a31cbf4d-en (Accessed on 03 ­December 2018). 37 38 Kessler, 39 By ‘clientelism’ the authors refer to the exchange of goods and services for political support, privileges and access to rights, and to the associated unequal relationships of patronage between groups in power and ‘clients.’ 40 Anyone who did not have a left-wing ideology or participated in any actions connected with the communist party and other left-wing organizations. 41 Roche, S. (2018). In conversation with Steven Roche, Department of Social Work, Monash University, Melbourne, December 2018. C.f. Roche, 2017. 4 2 Speaking of Indonesia Davidson says ‘Most observers do concur that the country is a democracy. But glancing over a list of modifying adjectives offered by these scholars indicates what they think of the quality of this democracy: young, defective, electoral, weak, illiberal, procedural, patronage, or patrimonial.’ 43 4 4 We are indebted at this point to an argument developed by Patricia O’Neill in a seminar in 2018 at the National University of Singapore. 45 Asep Suryahadi and Ridho Al Izzati.­economicgrowth-under-jokowi-benef its-the-middle-class-more-than-the-poor/?utm_ source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter2019-02-24 46 Roughly ‘community’ and ‘association.’ 47 Alfred Schütz’ classic essay on ‘The Stranger’ bears comparison in this respect (Schütz, 1967). 48 Their interest lies in applications of the systems theory associated with Niklas Luhmann. 49 Slater, D. ‘Malaysia’s modernisation tsunami.’ malaysias-modernisation-tsunami/ 50 For Weber, these were rational, traditional and charismatic. 51 An excellent conceptual digest of the concept is given by Harris Mylonas at w w 52 Reid sketched this argument in a paper on ‘Perils of Eurocentric gender history’ at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. 5 October 2017. 53 Accessed 28 February 2019. 54 The first quotation is from Kenneth Tan’s flyleaf endorsement. For the second we borrow from Robert Macfarlane in an essay in The Guardian newspaper, 30 July 2005. 55 The study raises a further question, not explored, when they say of standard approaches to disability surveys, ‘Indeed, whether the questions fit Western lay people's views may be uncertain as well’ (p. 1). 56 The neglect does not appear to be one-sided. Not a single article in the long-­ established Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, for example, has included ‘social work’ as a key word. 57 ‘Women through the years: economic and family lives.’ Oral history interview. Vaithilingam, Daisy. 9 and 10 June 1993. Accession #000621/17. 58 59 Incidentally, the IFSW emphasis on holistic social work is intended to encompass all social work across nations, regions and cultures, and seems to run counter to any case for a distinctively Asian stance on such an approach.

230 Notes 60 An article in the Harvard Business Review conveys this in an accessible manner. 61 The word ‘holistic’ occurs several times in articles in that special issue but without exploration of its meaning. 62 A search of The British Journal of Social Work suggests a pervasive valuing of anything ‘holistic.’ The term appears almost 600 times in the journal. By comparison it appears just 77 times in the Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, only twice as part of a title. 63 They are discussing qualitative social work research methods. 6 4 The authors of the chapter on Vietnam elaborate these complexities as fully as anyone. Referring to how ‘universities and social work agencies in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and the Philippines have contributed to Vietnamese social work education and practice’ they caution that ‘in these countries, too, social work was introduced from the global North (from the UK in Hong Kong and Singapore, and from the USA in South Korea and the Philippines), so that issues of neo-colonialism are not necessarily overcome simply by referring to the ideas, practice and systems in other parts of Asia.’ 65 While the Asian values argument was weakened by the financial crisis of 1997, it remained as part of welfare and state arguments, and there have been renewed politically grounded arguments in favour in the light of responding to China and the USA. See the piece by a former BBC journalist at asian-values 66 Interestingly Lorenz stands out as one writer who has discussed the case for a European model of social work (Lorenz, 2008), albeit in very different terms. 67 Brinton, M.C. 17 March 2019. ‘Burden sharing a remedy for falling birth rates in East Asia.’ email&utm_campaign=newsletter2019-03-17 68 In illustrating the historical development of social work education in Singapore, we refer primarily to the undergraduate curriculum of the social work department in the National University of Singapore (hereafter NUS) which has the longest history having first started coursework in October 1952 (Wee, 2002) and continues to be integral in the education and production of social workers today. We also refer to the S R Nathan School of Human Development of the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) in tracing the recent developments of social work education in Singapore. 69 SkillsFuture is a nationwide initiative to develop and upgrade the skills of Singaporeans as Singapore heads into the next phase of being an advanced economy. 70 Offe (1984) notes that the welfare state emerged as a ‘major peace formula of advanced capitalist democracies for the period following the Second World War’ (p. 147). 71 For readers wondering about policy practice, it is one of the areas of practice in Singapore’s Skills Framework for social work. However, it is separate from casework, group work and community work. In the social work curriculum, policy is a compulsory module only at the honours’ level (the other practice methods are offered as lower-­ level compulsory modules) in NUS and an elective module in the undergraduate curriculum at SUSS. While policy content is said to be infused into the various modules throughout the undergraduate curriculum in both universities, the allocation of the core compulsory modules to direct practice skills might reflect the secondary role of policy to other forms of social work practice. 72 The term ‘community work’ is more commonly known as ‘community organizing’ internationally. Semantically the latter connotates an active tense while the former, a passive tense. 73 In citing Specht and Courtney, we are consciously aware that there are competing versions of the historical relationship between social work and sociology. Shaw (2014), writing in the British context, claims that the ‘later boundary demarcations between

Notes  231 “sociology” and “social work” make at best only limited sense’ (p. 127) and suggests that ‘what 130 years or more of shared history may support is a relationship … of intellectual reciprocity based on egalitarian respect’ (p. 150). 74 Mrs Ann Wee studied economics and sociology for her undergraduate degree at the London School of Economics and was planning to study anthropology for her masters prior to her move to Singapore in 1950 (Wee, 1995). 75 Previous head of the then Department of Social Work and Psychology in NUS, Vasoo (2012), notes: ‘I was tasked to help develop Psychology which was first offered as a minor subject in the early 1980s until 1986, when it was launched as a full programme hosted together with Social Work, which has a more established academic history’ (p. 30). 76 According to Foucault (2003), biopower is a non-disciplinary form of power which produces governable subjects not so much through the regulation of behavior, but through promulgating norms or ways of living for target populations. 77 See MSF (2015): 20–24 for further details on BPSS and FAST. See Koh and Suptjito (n.d.): 34–40 for more on CSWP and FAST. 78 For Said (1983), it is in Marxist thought where ‘the fascinated description of exercised power is never a substitute [emphasis added] for trying to change power relationships within society’ (p. 222). For instance, Offe (1985) locates the unequal relationships of power between groups: ‘To speak of a matrix of social power is to reject “pluralist” and “dispersed” notions of power. It rather implies the thesis, developed most clearly within the tradition of Marxist class theory, that dominant modes of interaction consistently favor the category of actors and result in the systematic exploitation of others’ (pp. 1–2). 79 All of the names of the participants used in the chapter are pseudonyms. 80 A system of advanced certified social workers was implemented in 2011, an accredited qualification by the Agency for Accreditation and Approval of Approved Certified Social Workers. 81 Asano (2018) has revealed that the learning experiences valued by social workers themselves are not necessarily congruent with the rhetoric about professional development employed by professional communities, including their organization and professional associations. 82 The number of members of JSSSW is about 4,700, including academics, students and practitioners. 83 For the articles in English, see 84 On the first dimension, 26 (18.2%) articles were not applicable to any categories. 85 These figures are not adjusted for cost of living. C.f.­ economy/countries-by-projected-gdp-capita.php 86 Because graduate-level students have already completed college degree of study (which is considered to have provided basic competence for social work positions), they are required to take only eight additional core social work courses to be eligible for a social work license. 87 This number represents about 2.6% of the total population aged 25 and over in South Korea, which is a very high percentage.


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aboriginal 170, 171 accountability 18, 63, 145, 146 accreditation see licensing Addams, Jane 23, 167 advocacy 43, 105, 136, 209, 214, 224 ageing 20, 27–9, 56, 68, 76, 91, 93, 137, 138, 148, 153, 157, 163, 185, 228; see also demography; older people America see USA Anthropology 205, 228, 231 ASEAN 4, 19–20, 98, 122, 125 ‘Asian’ social work 32–4, 54, 57, 64–8, 72, 98, 162, 230; see also Confucianism; Orientalism Asian values see ‘Asian’ social work Attlee, C. 12 authentication see authentization authentization 47, 52, 53, 64, 219, 220, 226 authoritarianism 17, 33, 68, 173, 177; see also soft authoritarianism basic law 75–7 Britain see United Kingdom British colonial administration 101, 102, 113 Buddhism 23, 90, 114, 116, 117, 120–1, 126, 133, 219, 220 Cambodia 4, 5, 16, 20, 114 capitalism 5, 18, 63, 71–3, 74, 79, 80–2, 83, 102, 201, 214, 230 cartelization 17–18, 27 casework 11, 12, 42, 79, 82, 104–4, 106, 177, 219, 222, 230 Catholicism 6, 63, 150, 219, 220 Central Charity Association 167; see also charity; Charity Organization Societies

certainty see uncertainty certification see licensing charity 13, 35, 37, 39, 87, 116, 133–4, 135, 193, 209, 211; see also Charity Organization societies Charity Organization Societies 11, 12, 66, 167 children 20, 24, 26, 28, 29–30, 40, 59, 60, 62, 88, 90, 91–3, 115, 119, 127, 134, 144, 147, 159–60, 185, 209, 220 China 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 31, 33, 37, 43, 44, 51, 56, 58, 61, 62, 64, 67, 75, 77, 80, 82, 86, 166, 168, 169, 173, 17–76, 179, 190, 199–212, 219, 230 Christian 13, 23, 90, 114, 117, 133, 138, 149–50, 153, 167, 219; see also faith citizenship 17, 24, 25, 26, 61–2, 65, 68, 101, 108, 114, 179, 195, 201, 203, 208, 209 civil society 2, 5, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18–19, 78, 97, 98, 99, 120, 164, 186, 189, 208–9, 211, 221 clans see temples colonialism 3, 12, 22–3, 35, 38, 41, 42, 44, 60, 63, 66, 74–5, 78, 86–7, 101–3, 166–8, 176, 185, 188, 189, 214, 217, 229; see also postcolonialism communism 2, 3, 16, 26, 118, 124, 166, 167, 190, 204, 206–7 communitarianism see community community 1, 9, 10, 22, 23, 27, 32, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 46, 52, 56, 57, 59, 63, 83, 91, 92, 94, 100, 103–5, 115, 117, 120, 126, 128–9, 135–6, 144–5, 147–8, 160, 168, 176, 192–4, 208, 209, 214, 227

260 Index community care 105, 135, 136 community work 22, 41, 79, 83, 103–5, 134, 193, 204, 222, 230; see also social development competence 32, 36, 40, 46, 48, 49, 89–90, 94, 95, 97, 98, 103, 104–5, 106, 109–10, 171, 174, 176, 177, 179, 180, 191, 194, 203, 224, 231; see also professionalism Confucianism 23, 33, 57, 64, 66, 72, 101, 161, 219 cosmopolitan 9, 10, 16, 21, 227 cross-border marriages see marriages culture 1, 2, 9, 17, 18–19, 23, 27, 29–30, 32–3, 46, 47–8, 57, 59, 60–1, 62, 65, 66–7, 72, 90, 100, 114, 117, 124, 129, 137, 147, 148, 153, 161, 164, 165, 171, 179, 185, 186, 192, 216–25 danwei system 44, 201 democracy 4–6, 8, 14, 15–19, 31, 33, 55, 56, 57, 66, 73, 76–7, 101, 107, 118, 124, 149, 152, 161, 166, 169–70. 173, 177–8, 186–7, 189, 203, 206, 208, 227, 228, 229, 230 demography 3, 15, 38, 62, 68, 90, 157, 228; see also ageing; fertility development see social development developmental welfare regime 161, 178 disability 59, 60, 87, 133, 134, 135, 137, 139, 143, 145, 147, 148, 229 discretion 32, 146, 211 discrimination 21, 25, 129 dissertations 58, 176, 178 diversity 2, 9, 14, 25, 48, 53, 60, 61, 124, 129, 148, 164, 178, 180, 185, 187 education 6, 21, 22, 24, 33, 45, 62, 64, 66, 73, 74, 77, 91, 114, 116, 123, 127, 160, 167, 190, 191–2, 193, 206, 209, 222 elderly see older people elites 3, 5, 15, 17, 26, 27, 116, 117, 118 empowerment 13, 111, 145, 171, 176, 178, 179, 189, 195; see also power equality 6, 9, 19, 25, 42, 43, 55, 57, 72, 84, 94, 96, 105, 116, 120, 128, 148, 157–8, 160, 173, 201 Esping-Andersen, G. 5, 71, 72, 73, 84, 161, 169 ethics 22, 30, 33, 46, 64, 81, 117, 126, 148, 217, 220

ethnicity 22, 25, 33, 40, 41, 86, 90, 91, 94, 101, 114–15, 124, 171, 185, 187 ethnocentric 73, 219 evidence-based-practice (EBP) 32, 124, 125, 145, 164 exceptionalism 20, 162 faith 1, 27, 63, 117, 120, 148, 219, 220, 221; see also Buddhism; Catholicism; Christian; Hinduism; Islam; religion; temples family 13, 21, 30, 33, 56, 61–2, 66, 68, 72, 74, 88, 93–4, 109, 116, 128, 136, 144, 148, 152, 153, 160, 164, 174, 179, 195, 209, 220 family disorganization see family family service centres (FSCS) 103–4, 109 fertility 28, 29, 68, 90, 137, 185 filial obligation 28, 29–30, 33, 57, 93 Foucault, M. 1, 2, 14, 18, 61, 100, 108, 111, 112–13, 199, 201, 202, 211, 231 fragile democracies see democracy Freedom House Index 77 Freire, Paolo 6, 64 Geertz, C. 42, 57, 68, 192 gender 6, 12, 52, 61, 84, 136, 148, 160, 206, 208; see also women Gini-coefficient 75, 116, 157, 158 global North 10, 66, 217, 219, 223, 226, 230 global South 30, 31, 217 globalization 6–10, 29, 31, 54, 61, 149, 157, 166, 173–4, 176, 177, 179, 180, 192, 195, 219 gotong royong 42, 86, 192 governmentality 43, 44, 56, 63, 199, 201–3, 210 gross domestic product (GDP) 5, 23–4, 55, 75, 149, 166 group work 79, 103–4, 106, 177, 204, 230 Hanoi, University of Social Sciences and Humanities 218, 222 health care 24, 62, 72, 74, 87, 90, 91, 114, 115, 116, 119, 126, 201, 222 Hinduism 90, 117 holism 32, 47, 51, 65–6, 229 Hong Kong 3, 4, 5, 22, 24, 28, 29, 31, 32, 37, 44, 50, 51, 56, 61, 63,

Index  261 67, 71–85, 174, 181, 205, 209, 210, 217, 230 housing 24, 59, 60, 74, 91, 94, 104, 126, 148 hukou 62 Hull-House 66, 167; see also settlements Ida Pruit 167 identity politics 2, 18, 25 ideology 32, 33, 61, 67, 101, 124, 136, 187, 204, 211 indigenous 10, 30, 46, 47, 52, 53, 58, 63, 64, 111, 117, 129, 174, 176, 180, 187, 193, 194, 195, 196, 205, 216, 219, 222, 223, 225, 226 Indonesia 3, 4, 5, 12, 13, 16, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 28, 42–3, 46, 54–5, 57, 58, 61, 62, 63, 64, 98, 185–96, 228, 229 industrial revolution 36, 37, 149, 164–5, 189, 195 inequality see equality informal care 136 information technology see technology International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) 6, 111, 124, 174, 179, 196, 217, 220, 223 international collaboration 46, 190, 194, 216, 218 International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) 65, 95, 111, 122, 125, 174, 179, 196, 220, 223 international influence 8, 218, 219 internet see technology Islam 13, 25, 48, 62, 90, 91, 114–15, 185, 187, 194, 196 Japan 3, 5, 12, 20, 22, 23, 24, 27–8, 32, 37, 38–9, 42, 44, 46, 47, 57, 62, 66, 67, 71, 72, 86, 133–48, 149, 166, 167, 181, 185, 186, 191, 217, 230 Japan: Central Association of Social Affairs 167 Japanese Journal of Social Welfare 147–8 Japanese style of welfare society 136 justice 9–10, 12, 42, 66, 80–1, 96, 105, 111, 121, 122, 128, 129, 178, 187 206, 207–8, 209, 211, 227 Korea see South Korea Kuomintang (KMT) 166, 168, 169 language 3, 9, 23, 27, 30, 58, 65, 94, 114, 115, 120, 124, 175, 185, 218

Laos 4, 5, 6, 20, 114, 125 Lee Kuan Yew 33, 57, 67 liberal democracy see democracy liberalism 2, 45, 51, 52, 84, 107, 157 liberation theology 6, 63 licensing 39, 40, 80–1, 95, 96, 97, 98, 108–9, 123, 125, 154–7, 162, 164, 166, 171–2, 174, 175, 176, 178–9, 180, 181, 194, 221 London School of Economics (LSE) 11, 37, 40, 102, 228, 231 long-term care 135, 136, 159, 179 Lump Sum Grant (Hong Kong) 79, 82, 84 macro social policy 177 Malaya see Malaysia Malaysia 3, 5, 16, 20, 23, 24, 25, 28, 34, 36, 37, 40, 41–3, 56, 62, 63, 64, 86–99, 102, 114–15, 188, 195, 227 Malaysian Association of Social Workers 88, 89, 96, 97 managerialism 7, 145, 147, 210 marriage migration see marriages marriages 22, 48, 61–2, 90, 179, 195 mental health 21, 77, 87, 107, 115, 117, 119, 123, 128, 137, 140, 163, 177, 204, 222 meso organization/management 177 micro social work see casework migration 2, 3, 7, 19–22, 48, 61–2, 63, 65, 68, 87, 91–2, 114, 115, 136–7, 185, 195, 206, 228 military 3, 5, 16, 115, 116, 118, 120, 149, 151, 168, 169, 186; see also war Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) – Singapore 103–4, 105, 108, 109, 110 missions (Christian) 138, 150, 199 modernity see modernization modernization 9–10, 16, 22, 29, 31, 33, 39, 46, 54–7, 59, 79, 93, 117, 118, 133, 149, 166–7, 192, 219 multicultural social work 42, 153–4, 185, 187, 196 Muslim see Islam Myanmar 4, 5, 17, 19–20, 91, 114, 125 nation building 2, 19, 25, 41, 45, 51, 56, 67, 100 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 105 National University of Singapore (NUS) 14, 45, 50, 102, 104, 107, 110, 230

262 Index nationalism 2, 3, 9, 25, 31, 101 neocolonialism see postcolonialism neoliberalism see liberalism nongmingong 21 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 8, 19, 78–9, 88, 89, 92, 94, 120, 123, 125, 156, 158, 168, 177, 194, 206, 208, 223, 224 nuclear family 93, 179; see also Family Occidentalism 33; see also Orientalism Older people 23, 56, 59, 60, 90–1, 119, 129, 135–6, 137, 143, 144, 153, 158, 159, 179, 192; see also ageing oligarchy 5, 28 ‘one country two systems’ 77, 78 Open University, Ho Chi Minh City 214, 226 Orientalism 32–3, 66; see also ‘Asian’ social work patronage 17, 27, 117, 119, 229 pedagogy 38, 46, 47, 63–4, 111 person-centered social work 206–7, 212 Philippines 4, 5–6, 17, 27, 44, 63, 98, 173, 196, 214, 215, 217, 230 placement (professional practice) 81, 90, 104, 122, 138, 162, 175, 178, 196, 216, 218, 223–4, 226 political economy perspective 72, 73, 84 politics 1, 2–3, 5, 6, 8, 15, 16, 18, 23, 25, 26–8, 31, 37, 38, 39, 41–3, 52, 55, 63, 67, 74, 75, 76–7, 79, 80, 84, 96, 100, 101, 102, 107, 111, 112, 116, 121, 124, 136, 137, 148, 168, 177, 178, 185–7, 189, 190, 192, 201–2, 203, 208, 224, 225–6 populism 7, 120, 228 postcolonialism 31, 54, 66, 217, 230 poverty 6, 16, 17, 39, 40–2, 43, 55, 57, 75, 76, 86, 87, 90, 93–4, 114, 115–16, 126, 128, 129, 133, 148, 152, 157–9, 164, 173–4, 195, 204 power 1–2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 15, 17–18, 59, 94, 100, 105, 107–8, 111–13, 116, 118, 120, 137, 143, 148, 172, 192, 201, 202, 229, 231; see also empowerment practicum see placement (professional practice) pragmatic social work 23, 36, 45, 58, 100, 101, 103, 104, 106, 113 praxis 112, 113

productivist welfare capitalism 161 professional identity 42, 51, 94–5, 99, 133, 138–48, 151–2, 157, 178, 193, 195; see also professionalism; roles of social workers; uncertainty professionalism 88, 89, 94–6, 98, 165 psychology 88, 94, 101, 106–8, 111, 113, 127, 128, 178, 203, 207, 224, 231 public housing 74, 104, 169 public long-term care insurance see long term care qualified social workers 138, 141, 146, 172, 223–4, 226 regimes 2, 3, 5, 14, 15, 17, 18–19, 25–6, 27, 31, 34, 43, 52, 54, 62, 63, 72, 84, 111, 128, 157, 161–2, 166, 168–9, 172–3, 193, 227, 228 registration see licensing religion 3, 9, 13, 19, 23, 25, 35, 39, 47, 86, 90, 101, 114, 115, 117, 187, 191, 193, 219; see also Buddhism; Catholic; Hinduism; Islam; temples research 4, 14, 26, 27, 29–32, 45, 47, 49–51, 52, 54, 57–61, 63, 66, 81, 84–5, 88, 100, 104, 123–5, 138, 147–8, 153, 162–3, 178, 180, 191, 195–6, 204, 210, 215, 222, 223–5 Richmond, Mary 10 roles of social workers 11, 36, 40, 44, 88–9, 94, 95, 99, 103, 108, 123, 140, 141, 142, 145, 147, 162, 169, 196, 215 rural 20, 21, 23, 41–2, 43, 57, 87, 93, 114, 115, 118, 119, 126, 127, 130, 136–7, 204; see also migration Said, E. 112–13, 231 self-help 38, 42, 192, 209, 210 settlements 10, 12, 166–7; see also Hull-House Singapore 3, 4, 5, 14, 16, 17, 20, 24–5, 26–7, 28, 29, 32, 33, 34, 36, 38, 40–1, 44, 45, 51, 56, 57, 59–60, 63, 64, 67, 98, 100–13, 217, 230 Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW) 40, 108 Singapore: Code of Social Work Practice (CSWP) 109, 110 Singapore: National Social Work Competency Framework (NSWCF) 36, 40, 103, 105, 109, 110

Index  263 Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) 101, 104, 110, 230 social development 16, 42, 65, 75, 86, 90, 114–16, 124, 125, 126, 129, 180, 194, 203, 213, 224; see also developmental welfare regime social exclusion see social inclusion social governance 204, 207–8, 210, 211 social inclusion 55, 114, 129, 207 social insurance 72, 157, 159, 169, 222 social networks 21, 28, 55, 105, 152, 202 social organizations 206, 208, 210, 211 social security 28, 72, 75, 116, 118–19, 159, 163, 222 social settlements see settlements social work curriculum 12, 37, 42, 47, 48, 63, 80–2, 96, 97, 103, 107, 110, 112, 121, 124, 138, 150, 153, 155, 162, 163, 169, 177, 188–9, 190, 196, 204–6, 216, 222–3, 225, 230 social work research see research socialism see state socialism socialist harmonious society 200–3, 207 sociology 36, 37, 60, 78, 102, 106–7, 121, 169, 178, 199–200, 205, 224, 230–1 soft authoritarianism 5, 18, 26–7, 100–1, 102–3, 104, 106, 108, 110, 111–13; see also authoritarianism South Korea 3, 4, 5, 21, 24, 28, 32, 37, 43, 44, 54, 56, 61, 67, 71, 149–65, 169, 173, 215, 217, 227, 230, 231 Specht, H. 38, 106, 230 Special Administrative Region (SAR), Hong Kong 75–7, 80, 82 standards 10, 44, 77, 89, 97, 98, 99, 109, 119, 123, 124, 134, 152 161, 172, 174, 176, 195, 203, 205, 214, 217, 219, 223, 224, 226 state socialism 2, 5, 15, 18, 25, 43, 118, 124, 206, 211, 214, 221, 225 state, the 1, 2, 4, 5, 16, 17, 23–7, 32, 34, 36, 40, 44, 63, 101, 104, 106, 108–11, 112, 129, 166, 167–8, 169, 172–3, 186–7, 193–5, 201, 204–8, 211, 214, 226; see also state socialism; welfare state students 19, 27, 44, 45, 55, 60, 65, 66, 82–3, 90, 107, 110, 113, 121, 122, 124, 149, 151, 166, 172, 175, 178, 179, 180, 196, 206, 210, 215

Taiwan 3, 5, 12, 24, 28, 31, 36, 56, 58, 61, 71, 73, 166–81, 209, 210 Taiwan: Act for Professional Social Workers, 1997, 2007 170, 172 Taiwan Association of Social Work and Social Welfare Education (TASWE) 123, 171, 179, 180 Taiwan: Current Social Policy for the Principle of Livelihood 168, 169 taxation 25, 27, 71, 74–5, 76, 80, 81, 82–3, 120, 173, 174 technology 8, 31, 61, 154, 162, 189, 191, 201, 202, 203, 207, 211 temples 9, 13, 40, 41, 55, 117, 118, 126 textbooks 124, 167, 176, 204 Thailand 3, 4, 5, 6, 19–20, 24, 28, 32, 38, 64, 98, 114–30, 173 theorization see theory theory 4, 30, 31, 32, 34, 49, 55, 56, 58, 61, 64, 81, 82, 100, 106, 110, 121, 138, 148, 162–4, 187, 202, 217, 219, 225, 229, 231 tradition 23, 29–30, 33, 42, 46, 47, 48, 57, 87, 93, 114–15, 129, 137, 191–2, 220, 229 trafficking 2, 7, 19, 90, 97, 119, 129 transnational marriages see marriages uncertainty 55, 95, 138–48 UNICEF 92, 93, 98, 124, 193, 214, 215, 220, 222 United Kingdom (UK) 12, 26, 37–8, 40, 63, 64, 66, 86, 101–2, 151, 167 United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 42, 188, 190 University of Labor and Social Affairs (ULSA) 214, 218, 221, 222 urbanization 10, 11, 21, 22, 29–30, 37, 41–2, 44, 55, 57, 60, 87, 93–4, 114, 116, 119, 130, 195, 200, 201, 207; see also migration USA 7, 10–12, 16, 32, 35, 39, 42, 59, 63, 67, 105, 141, 150, 163, 167–8, 176, 188, 214, 220, 230 USAID 188, 190, 218 Vaithilingam, Daisy 40, 60, 229 value-based practice 86, 140, 143, 145 Vietnam 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 18, 20, 24, 25, 28, 37, 43, 44, 46–7, 54, 58, 63, 66, 213–26, 230 Vietnam: Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) 63, 221, 222, 225

264 Index Vietnam: Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) 63, 214, 215, 220, 221, 222, 224, 225 Vietnam National University (VNU) 218, 221 volunteering 19, 46, 59, 95, 96, 97, 126, 193, 206 war 3, 7, 22, 26, 33, 39, 41, 86, 101, 102; see also military Weber, Max 64, 229

Wee, A. 107, 231 welfare capitalism see capitalism welfare regimes 5, 71, 72, 73, 84, 161–2, 168–9, 172, 173, 180, 181 welfare state 12, 24, 33, 37, 73, 101, 102, 136, 149, 151, 157–62, 164, 169, 230 women 11, 13, 20, 28–9, 57, 60, 62, 68, 76, 88, 93, 136, 150, 160, 179, 206, 220, 229; see also gender World Bank 20, 65, 116, 186