Social Education and Social Pedagogy: Reclaiming a Scottish Tradition in Social Work

Mark Smith, Bill Whyte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Social pedagogy is the discipline underpinning work with children and youth across most of Europe. The concept has struggled to find a place within social work in the English-speaking world, partly because of difficulties in translation and partly as a result of different welfare traditions. In particular there is a limited conception of education within the Anglo American Saxon tradition and a consequent bifurcation of education and care. This article argues that ideas enshrined within social pedagogy have a resonance with Scottish approaches to social welfare, which culminate in the Kilbrandon Report of 1964. We argue that there are recurrent themes in the Scottish tradition with roots in the Reformation and the Scottish Enlightenment. Foremost amongst these is the focus on education as a vehicle for both individual improvement and social cohesion. Social pedagogy or social education offers an integrating conceptual base from which to develop models of social work practice which promote social wellbeing through socio-educational strategies. The current review of social work in Scotland offers opportunities to reclaim a socio-educational tradition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-28
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • social pedagogy
  • social education
  • social wellbeing
  • Scotland
  • Europe


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