Dr. Richard de Brabander 

What we have in common.

The political transition from ego to eco

In-Person presentation / Symposium (Forum Hall)
May 22, 2023 – Monday, 11– 12


Photographer: Remco Remeijer

The climate crisis particularly affects vulnerable and marginalized groups in society. Due to this, the transition to a sustainable society that is socially and ecologically just poses major challenges for social workers. In the Netherlands and other European societies, the institutional and professional models of social work are based upon the (neoliberal) model of economic growth and the moral values as self-reliance, personal responsibility and self-direction that are at the basis of professional ethics and social policy.

In response to the climate crisis the transition to a sustainable society that is socially and ecologically just, it is necessary for social work to shift from a human and ego-centric paradigm to an eco-centric paradigm. This shift from ego to eco challenges social work to consider the principles of social and ecological justice as a crucial part of professional ethics. In this lecture/workshop I want to explore and discuss the implications of ecocentrism for the professional ethics of social work. What moral assumptions and values are related to ecocentrism? And what do these imply for the practices of social work?

Dr. Richard de Brabander is philosopher and professor at the Social Work Department of Inholland University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands, Rotterdam). His research focusses on the politization of social work and ecosocial work. He has written about philosophy and ethics for social work. His latest book contains a critical discourse analysis of empowerment. His new research project is about the role social work can play in creating a sustainable society that is socially and ecologically just.