Otherness, social welfare and social work – a Nordic perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we discuss how the other and otherness have been understood in the modern and postmodern social science literature and thinking. We are asking, what kind of relevance can discussions on the other and otherness hold for social work. Our particular interest is to discuss the issue in the context of the Nordic welfare system and through Nordic scholars. A meta-level reflection of classical concepts may be useful to scrutinize the thematic of the other and otherness in the field of social work. We are drawing on examples of our own empirical studies to illustrate the complexity of phenomena which we are dealing with. The literature concerning other and otherness give ingredients for a dichotomy map which describes the multidimensional character of otherness. The levels of macro, mezzo and micro filter through each other, and the dynamics of the multilayered and intertwined relations should be caught in applicable understanding for social work. Our aim in this article is to make a proposal for further development of the concepts other and otherness in the use of social work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Social Work Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)105-119
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5145 Social work
  • social work

Cite this