TRS.20.008 – Social Work and the Art of Crafting Resilient Societies

Route: Towards resilient societies

Cluster question: 050 What is the secret of a resilient society?

This project aims to bring together academics, lecturers, policy officials, welfare and social work organisations, and practitioners to examine how social workers and similar professionals go about the task of helping shape caring, resilient societies. It asks how they work with and on social relations to reform and strengthen the social fabric, and how they position themselves vis-a-vis the state and their target groups while doing so. We also ask how community building interacts with risk management and safety regulation in social work practices. We pay special attention to diversity and related questions of equal access and participation.
While documenting what works, this project also seeks to more fundamentally explore the social worlds that social workers engage, how they understand and position themselves in these social worlds and how they try to influence and shape them. We are particularly interested in how the shaping of caring, resilient communities articulates with questions around diversity and inequality.
Innovative insights are expected from a combination of ethnographic research on social work practices and action research with practitioners. Comparative research on social work practices in Denmark and France will serve to unearth the taken-for-granted foundations of social work in the Netherlands.
The research is envisioned to have four research lines: 1. Histories of Working the Social, in which we ask how shifts in social work policies and practices relate to changing political and economic configurations; 2. Crafting Resilient Societies, which asks what ‘the social’ is in social work and how social workers seek to shape or reform that social; 3. Professional Politics, which examines how social workers situate themselves and their work politically; 4. Safe relations?, which explores the intersection of safety policies and social work as the area where the tensions between working for and on target groups and communities become most explicit.


Advocacy, Area-based governance, Community building, empowerment, resilience, Safety policies, Social Interventions, Social Work, State-citizen relations

Other organisations

Hogeschool Inholland


Organisation Leiden University (LEI)
Name Dr. A. (Anouk) de Koning