Michael Emru Tadesse (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)


Topic: Social Solidarity Economy and the Hull-House Tradition of Social Work: Keys for Unlocking the Potential of Social Work for Sustainable Social Development

Thematic area: New Models and Methods in Social Work

Language: English 


Social work (SW) is criticized for its (1) inconsistent ontology, epistemology, and methodology and (2) co-dependency with the capitalist hegemony, which is the main cause of the multiple crises that primarily affect the most vulnerable.

Addressing these issues is of paramount importance should SW achieve its core mandate of promoting social change, social development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.

The purpose of this paper is to assert that SW can address these issues by learning from the (1) Settlement House Movement, especially that of the Hull-House tradition of SW, and (2) current practices of Social Solidarity Economy (SSE). I was urged to argue so because I noticed in my research, in the area of SSE of vulnerable groups and SW, remarkable similarities and potentials of these two approaches to help transform SW.

My argument is based on data and insight gained from (1) a narrative literature review on the history of SW and the nature of SSE and (2) a systematic scoping review of the SSE of People of African Descent in Europe, which is the first comprehensive study in this field in Europe. In this paper, I elaborate on my key arguments and provide recommendations on how to make use of SSE in SW.