Héctor Gil Rodríguez (Universidad de las Islas Baleares)
Topic: Collective Action Survey – An Instrument to Measure the Preconditions for Collective Interest Action
Thematic area: Green Social Work
This paper analyzes the professional work of social workers in rural areas in the international framework through a systematic review of the literature published between 2009 and December 2022. In particular, it aims to answer the following questions: what is the state of the art of rural Social Work? And what is the methodology used in the available research? For this, a bibliometric study was carried out according to PRISMA criteria in the Google Scholar, SSCI and Web of Science databases. The keywords used (in Spanish and English) were: rural social work, social intervention, rural areas. These descriptors were combined with the Boolean AND operator. A total of 509 articles were identified, of which 18 were analyzed for meeting the eligibility criteria of this paper.
The main topics of study are the opportunities and limitations of professional activity in rural areas and the vulnerabilities of these territories. The results reveal that these environments are not attractive for the professional practice of Social Work due to mobility and isolation. It is verified that the territorial gap worsens the well-being of the excluded groups and hinders their access to social services. On the other hand, it is striking that the work of rural social workers occupies a secondary place in numerous investigations.
Despite the advances, there is an evident gap in knowledge about rural Social Work in Spain. Similarly, this issue has been insufficiently addressed in the international framework. The conclusions allude to the importance of alleviating the dispersion of this field of knowledge and of incorporating the territorial variable in professional analyzes and diagnoses. With this contribution, we intend to provide evidence that the work of social workers is essential for the future of the field.