In this issue we present a range of papers about current issues and developments in social work and welfare in Russia. In the Soviet era official state policy did not recognise the existence of social problems so social work was ‘not needed’ in the USSR, a situation which existed to varying degrees in other countries under state socialism (Iarskaia-Smirnova, 2013). The disciplines of sociology and psychology (which could form a basis for critical thinking and professional interventions) were eliminated from university curricula, except in forms which accorded with the dominant political view, and dissent was repressed. There have been major changes in political thinking, societal attitudes and welfare developments since perestroika started in 1985, and particularly since 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved, Russia then became open to relationships with western powers and capitalist economic thinking. However, Russia remains a considerable independent power with a distinct history and culture. In this editorial we give a brief overview of the historical and other contextual factors which are informing the particular nature and direction of current developments, some aspects of which are described in the articles.
On the basis of in-depth case studies of four Russian regions, Kirov and Voronezh oblasts and Krasnoyarsk and Perm' krais, the trade-offs among social and economic policy at the regional level in Russia are examined. All four regional governments seek to develop entrepreneurship while preserving social welfare obligations and improving compensation in the public sector. Richer regions have a greater ability to reconcile social commitments with the promotion of business. Regions differ in their development strategies, some placing greater emphasis on indigenous business development and others seeking to attract federal or foreign investment. Governors have considerable discretion in choosing their strategy so long as they meet basic performance demands set by the federal government such as ensuring good results for the United Russia party. In all four regions, governments consult actively with local business associations whereas organized labor is weak. However, the absence of effective institutions to enforce commitments undertaken by government and its social partners undermines regional capacity to use social policy as a basis for long-term economic development.
Using the cross-country ESS (2008) data file, the author explores welfare attitudes of population of European countries. The paper argues that expectations associated with the social policy and willingness to accept higher taxation in order to receive more benefits as well as the gap between these two depend on institutional characteristics of the countries. Poor institutions feed corruption and fiscal illusion, therefore generating misperceptions and free rider behavior.
In this chapter we aim to examine the discourses created and reproduced through the interaction between single mothers and representatives of social services. The analysis is based on twenty-six interviews with single mothers and six interviews with social workers conducted in 2001–2003, and six interviews with single mothers and three with social workers conducted in 2006 in the Saratov region in Russia, as well as official documents and the publications of other researchers. In our interviews with mothers, we focused on the issues of familial well-being and interactions with social services, while social workers were asked to discuss their experiences with clients. A short overview of statistics and social policy terminology prefaces a discussion of how mother-headed families and state social policy interrelate and affect each other. The subsequent sections contain analysis of the interviews with single mothers who, as the heads of low-income households, interact with the social service system. The analysis demonstrates that single mothers are frustrated by inadequate assistance and the impossibility of improving their life situations. The discussion goes on to show that social workers, who are used to interpreting complex issues in the life situations of single mothers as individual psychological peculiarities, tend to blame the victim, thus ignoring important social conditions and imposing on women a responsibility for problems that are societal in origin.
The article deals with comparative analysis of family policies towards fatherhood. The author analyzes how family policy in different countries is a mens friendly. Contemporary family policies in different Western European countries include a specific set of support, addressed to father after the child birth. A leave to care for the child is an example which shows that the family policy creates different models of fatherhood. In conclusion the author argues that gender-based analysis of family policy, along with the study of the position of women with children should include fathers who have certain rights and responsibilities.
This volume intends to fill the gap in the range of publications about the post-transition social housing policy developments in Central and Eastern Europe by delivering critical evaluations about the past two decades of developments in selected countries’ social housing sectors, and showing what conditions have decisively impacted these processes.
Contributors depict the different paths the countries have taken by reviewing the policy changes, the conditions institutions work within, and the solutions that were selected to answer the housing needs of vulnerable households. They discuss whether the differences among the countries have emerged due to the time lag caused by belated reforms in selected countries, or whether any of the disparities can be attributed to differences inherited from Soviet times. Since some of the countries have recently become member states of the European Union, the volume also explores whether there were any convergence trends in the policy approaches to social housing that can be attributed to the general changes brought about by the EU accession.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.
This book contains the proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2012) which was organized and sponsored by the Institute for Systems and Technologies of Information, Control and Communication (INSTICC) and technically co-sponsored by SPEE (Portuguese Society for Engineering Education), IGIP (International Society for Engineering Education), ROLE (Responsive Open Learning Environments) and IFIP TC3 (International Federation for Information Processing - Technical Committee 3 - ICT and Education).
CSEDU has become an annual meeting place for presenting and discussing learning paradigms, best practices and case studies that concern innovative computer-supported learning strategies, institutional policies on technology-enhanced learning including learning from distance, supported by technology. The Web is currently a preferred medium for distance learning and the learning practice in this context is usually referred to as e-learning or technology-enhanced learning. CSEDU 2012 is expected to give an overview of the state of the art in technology-enhanced learning and to also outline upcoming trends and promote discussions about the education potential of new learning technologies in the academic and corporate world.
This conference brings together researchers and practitioners interested in methodologies and applications related to the education field. It has five main topic areas, covering different aspects of Computer Supported Education, including "Information Technologies Supporting Learning", "Learning/Teaching Methodologies and Assessment", "Social Context and Learning Environments", "Domain Applications and Case Studies" and "Ubiquitous Learning". We believe the proceedings, demonstrate new and innovative solutions, and highlight technical problems in each field that are challenging and worthwhile.
CSEDU 2012 received 243 paper submissions from 58 countries in all continents. A double-blind review process was enforced, with the help of the 297 experts who are members of the conference program committee, all of them internationally recognized in one of the main conference topic areas. Only 29 papers were selected to be published and presented as full papers, i.e. completed work (10 pages in proceedings / 30' oral presentations). 73 papers, describing work-in-progress, were selected as short papers for 20' oral presentation. Furthermore 37 papers were presented as posters. The full-paper acceptance ratio was thus 12%, and the total oral paper acceptance ratio was less than 42%. These ratios denote a high level of quality, which we intend to maintain and reinforce in the next edition of this conference.
The high quality of the CSEDU 2012 programme is enhanced by three keynote lectures, delivered by distinguished guests who are renowned experts in their fields, including (alphabetically): Joseph Trimmer (Ball State University, United States), David Kaufman (Simon Fraser University, Canada) and Hugh Davis (University of Southampton, United Kingdom).
For the fourth edition of the conference we extended and ensured appropriate indexing of the proceedings of CSEDU including DBLP, INSPEC, EI and Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index. Besides the proceedings edited by SciTePress, a short list of papers presented at the conference will be selected for publication of extended and revised versions in the Journal of Education and Information Technologies. Furthermore, all presented papers will soon be available at the SciTePress digital library.
The conference is complemented with two special sessions, focusing on specialized aspects of computer supported education; namely, a Special Session on Enhancing Student Engagement in e-Learning (ESEeL 2012) and a Special Session on Serious Games on Computer Science Learning (SGoCSL 2012).
Building an interesting and successful program for the conference required the dedicated effort of many people. Firstly, we must thank the authors, whose research and development efforts are recorded here. Secondly, we thank the members of the program committee and additional reviewers for their diligence and expert reviewing. We also wish to include here a word of appreciation for the excellent organization provided by the conference secretariat, from INSTICC, who have smoothly and efficiently prepared the most appropriate environment for a productive meeting and scientific networking. Last but not least, we thank the invited speakers for their invaluable contribution and for taking the time to synthesize and deliver their talks.