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Preface

This book began in the autumn of 2011 with the idea to compile a jubilee anthology for Mirja Satka, professor of social work at the University of Helsinki. Professor Satka is one of the most respected and well-known European social work researchers and in August 2013 she celebrated her 60th birthday.

Satka's specifi interest has been the history of gender and generational issues in social work. She has inspired younger researchers to understand social work as a complex interaction of conceptualized practices that change in time and space. Consequently, this anthology follows Satka's interests and expertise by addressing the relation between societal transformation and social work in time and space in Europe. The anthology ponders a range of questions, including the role of social work in a rapidly changing world and what status it holds as a discipline and profession.

In spring 2012, we sent a letter of invitation to Satka's researcher network and the letter brought together a comprehensive group of authors from around Europe. A number of leading, internationally renowned experts, including Satka's long-term Finnish colleagues as well as her former and current students, signed up for the project. In a very concrete manner, we realized that Mirja Satka is a high-profile international expert and that her scientific networks are truly global. Moreover, as we started to gradually receive so many thought-provoking and challenging texts, we decided to share our experience, compile an Englishlanguage book and acquire an international academic publisher. What you hold now is the result of this process.

As this project is now coming to the end, we, as the editors, would first like to thank the 20 anonymous peer reviewers who appraised and commented on the text. Through your efforts the anthology retained its academic character and high standards during the entire process. Second, we would like to thank Matthew Wuethrich from the University of Jyväskylä Language Services for his gentle, careful and proficient work while revising the texts, and Professor Marjo Kuronen for her support while compiling our book proposal. The birth of the anthology has been extensively supported by the Academy of Finland (Grants 136508 and 1141003/2010) and our home institutions.

Finally, we would like to thank you, Mirja! This book project is a tribute to you. All the authors have appreciated your inspiration, kindness and friendship throughout the years and we all hope to have many more with you. We are honoured that you accepted our request to write an afterword to this anthology. We could not imagine anyone better than you for that role. But then again, we knew that you wouldn't turn us down, because you are always ready for new challenges – now and in the future. Congratulations, dear Mirja!

The Editors Helsinki, 30 April 2014


Modernization and Social Work: Toward Governing Risks, Advanced Liberalism and Crumbling Solidarity?

Timo Harrikari, Pirkko-Liisa Rauhala and Elina Virokannas

Introduction

Here at the beginning of 2014 we have lived through nearly two years of the European economic crisis. In the eyes of the average citizen, the crisis has been going on for several years and sometimes it has felt like an endless chain of new problems and risks. The European Union, the Monetary Union and the Central Bank have repeatedly corrected the direction of their monetary policy and organized new loan measures in order to calm the markets. The existence of some nation-states, such as Greece, Spain, Ireland and Iceland, as independent economic operators has been seriously questioned. European solidarity has been put to the test and the European Monetary Union as well as the nation-states themselves seem to be falling apart at the seams. Extremist movements, nationalism and xenophobia are also rearing their heads. What is this all about? Moreover, what does it have to do with social work?

 
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