Practice of government-sponsored social work has long been critiqued worldwide as a state control of labor from industrial age to post-industrial age. Meanwhile, social work sector has continued its struggle of professionalism all the way. This tension has not been put into a micro lens in neighborhood and actor level in Chinese context. Since 2009, following strategy of central government, Guangzhou has started policy experimentation of government-purchase service to buy social work and fix its practice to each neighborhood in urban area, as part of its new governance of community. This research will explore this new policy in China to respond and contribute to three topics of debate: 1) governmentality and community governance in Chinese urban context; 2) the tension between professionalism of social work and governance; 3) methodological conflict between political and economic rationales. By providing close observation of state-led social work practice, this research will locate its coordinate on a broad field of political geography, community governance and sociology. This research will firstly identify social existence of social work sector in neighborhood, and then discover governmentality in grassroots-level practice of this policy. Finally, it will try to develop a systematic model to fuse political and economic rationales and use the research topic as a case study.
About the Speaker:
Mr. Yi MA is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the University of Hong Kong. He received his bachelor’s degree in construction management from Tsinghua University. His research interests lie at social work, community governance, regional economic development, complex social system and its modeling.
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