Introducing International Social Work by Sue Lawrence; Karen Lyons; Graeme Simpson; Nathalie Huegler

By Sue Lawrence; Karen Lyons; Graeme Simpson; Nathalie Huegler

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Lyme Regis: Russell House Publishing. (Chapter 1, pp 1–8). This chapter introduces the reader to the ways in which social work has been affected by globalisation. Cousins, M (2005) European welfare states: Comparative perspectives. London: Sage. (Chapter 3, pp 41–57). An easy-to-read section on globalisation with activities to check understanding. George, V and Wilding, P (2002) Globalisation and human welfare. Basingstoke: Palgrave. This is a good text, quite accessible. Although it is not specific to social work, it does, as the title suggests, deal with questions about human welfare.

Yet this does not prevent thousands of potential migrants from West Africa risking their lives in an attempt to reach Spanish (and therefore EU) territory in the Canary Isles. The expansion of the EU in the early twenty-first century has included many poorer countries from Eastern Europe, and this has seen many of their younger workers move to the established economies of the West. The UK has been a major receiver of much of this low-waged labour. During 2006 many newspapers were full of stories about the ‘Polish plumber’, skilled tradesmen coming to the UK and filling a gap in the service economy, often at very low rates.

First, one of the more obvious features of the globalisation of knowledge is the speed and ease with which people can get news. The use of mobile phone technology means that almost anyone can take pictures of a ‘news event’. Ordinary people can become eyewitnesses and provide images for others. In this way it could be suggested that such developments have led to a greater degree of participation in newsgathering. Second, not only can we gather and disseminate news quickly, there is also a much greater quantity of information that is available to us.

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