This article explores the attitudes of Japanese and Lithuanian social work program teachers towards the challenges posed by modern technologies that may transform social work profession and studies. Study data revealed that scientists from both countries admit that “taming” technologies and optimally “cooperating” with them is the main challenge of social work practice and studies. On the one hand, belief that technological development will provide more opportunities to fulfil the mission of social work was prevalent among the study participants, on the other hand, they had expressed concern that eventually the use of technology will change the essence of social work as a profession of human relations or will create modified forms of social exclusion. Additionally, a niche for the new role of the social worker was identified: to help the world “occupied” by technology remain “social”. Attitudes of research participants from both Lithuania and Japan can be linked to traditional concept of sociality and vision of social work as profession that belongs exclusively to area of human relations. B. Latour’s asocial sociality concept can be applied for broader look into this situation. This concept states that efforts to trace the contribution of actors of an inhuman nature to what belongs in the human world may be more successful when one ceases to view the world exclusively through human eyes and tries to reveal the inner perspectives of phenomena of a mixed nature.
Living together in one household without being married in modern society is one of the defining features characterizing the transformations of the modern family, mentioned alongside late-age marriage, late-age childbearing, or frequent divorces. Marriage is still a major life transformation, but the pressure to marry today is lighter than ever before and many young couples in Europe start family life from living together in one household and not being married. However, cohabitation has not a universal meaning and role in family formation process and couples cohabit for different reasons and motives. Existing research proves, that union formation pattern depends on socioeconomical and sociodemographic characteristics, it varies by country and changes by time.
In the research literature, cohabitation diffusion process is mainly based on the two arguments: cultural value changes which leads to “less marriage” and economic restrains which leads to postponed marriage until economic stability.
The aim of this article is to investigate the intentions of cohabitors to marry and the factors modelling these intentions in Lithuania. The empirical analysis is based on the current Family and Inequality Survey (2019) data set about 1970-1984 birth cohort who lived in an extramarital partnership at the time of the research. The data consists rich information on the partnership and fertility, but also social and economic standing. Analysis of the data shows that, most of the cohabiting individuals in the analyzed cohort in Lithuania still undecided about marriage and could not name their intentions in the future. Descriptive statistics suggests that more man than women plan to marry their partner in the future. In addition, cohabitors with the lowest education level do not intend to marry their partner more than any another education level group.
The multinomial regression results suggest that factors predicting marriage in the future are sex, partnership satisfaction and education. That leads to assume that in Lithuania cohabitation is only a prelude to marriage and individuals satisfied with the quality of their relationship intends to marry rather than continuing cohabitation as an alternative to marriage. Cohabitation can be chosen as a prelude to marriage to check the strength of a relationship and to accumulate economic and social resources. On another hand, having one child has a negative effect on the marriage intentions among cohabitors.
Scientific research has shown that the procreational intentions and the actual number of children born may not coincide (Lutz 2020; Stankūnienė et al 2013; Testa 2013). Although the most common ideal number of children in European Union is two, not a single country has the total fertility rate of two (Beaujoun ir Sobotka 2014). The aim of current research is, first, to ascertain what procreational desires people have and, second, to shed some light on possible factors that influence the realization of those procreational desires. Three focus group discussions were conducted with parents 26 – 44 years of age (ten participants in total).
It was found out that the procreational desires are not static and early determined: they change depending on the circumstances of the family creation, self-realisation in one‘s occupation and the reconciliation of the procreational desires of the partners. In accordance to other studies on the topic of procreational desires and their fulfillment, the results of this study demonstrate that the common obstacles that arise while trying to realize one‘s procreational desires are of social, financial and medical nature. Also, the results show that state support for families may have an impact on the number of children a family has if the family has been enduring some financial difficulties.
In Lithuania the deinstitutionalisation of children left without parental care is being implemented since 2014. The term of transformation is more recognizable in the political context of the country. Various alternative services to institutional care are being developed during the transformation process, but some have become massive and overly institutional in nature (e.g., community children living homes), while the institute of professional caregivers has not gained popular attention when comparing child care rates across different alternatives. This article presents and discusses the activities of care centers that train permanent guardians (caregivers) and professional guardians. The article presents a research during which the staff of the care center evaluated the effectiveness of the activities of the care center and the guardians on duty. The results of the study revealed that care centers face the risk of projectivity at both micro and macro levels. Cooperation and support between the Ministry of Social security and labout and municipalities and other institutions is also very important for the effectiveness of care centers.
Emigration is one of the sorest problems in Lithuania. Emigrants from Lithuania most often fill the sector of unskilled labour in the target countries, one of which is elder care. Financial factors are considered the main motivation for emigration; however, migration is a complex phenomenon and requires a more nuanced investigation. The aim of this article is to analyse subjectively identified reasons of emigration from Lithuania to work in the elder care sector and motivation in choosing a particular country. The thematic data analysis of 13 semi-structured interviews revealed that emigration is motivated by an entirety of reasons: beside financial factors other „push“ (family, health) and „pull“ (knowledge about the country, family formation) factors are important. The move also is facilitated by the chain migration factors. The importance of the economic reasons for migration is revealed in cases of financial insecurity (loss of employment, threat of company bankruptcy, financial difficulties in the parents’ family etc.). Economic considerations become significant again, when comparing the job options and working conditions available to migrants. Work in the care sector for older people is seen as relatively easy, accessible and well paid. Other “push” factors were related to an unsatisfactory life situation, including stressful employment, and unsatisfying family relationships. The desire to get to know a foreign country, the opportunity to start a family or establish oneself there can work as „pull“ factors. The decision to emigrate was supported by the chain migration factors – encouragement, help and support of previously established immigrants. In some cases, it emerged as an independent factor of migration people emigrated, invited by relatives or acquaintances from abroad even though they did not initially plan to migrate.
With the rapidly growing share of older people in Lithuania and the underdeveloped care services, the opportunity to retain potential emigrants by creating attractive working conditions for them in Lithuania, remains untapped. Policies should aim to improve the working conditions and opportunities in the care sector in Lithuania in order to encourage Lithuanians to stay in the country. In addition, regulations to better absorb (returning) migrants should be in place, given the ongoing movement between countries.
The study analyses the unemployment situation of socially vulnerable groups in the Baltic States in the context of the European Union. The analysis of the unemployment rate is based on gender, age and duration of unemployment. Statistical analysis identified the most vulnerable groups in the labour market and those most sensitive to economics fluctuations. The study also evaluated the relationship of economic growth with employment of these groups. The research highlighted that in the Baltic countries, the global financial crisis more significantly affected vulnerable groups, mainly because of the impact of the crisis in 2009–2010. Hence these results differ from the general trend in unemployment rate of the target groups in the countries of the European Union.
Unemployment rate at the EU level did not coincide with similar trends observed in the target groups in the Baltic States. In the Baltic States, the unemployment rate of the target groups started to grow earlier and faster than in the EU countries and it started to decrease much earlier than the EU unemployment rate indicators. In addition, in the Baltic countries, the growth of target group unemployment was significantly higher than the EU average. The fast and volatile growth of unemployment within the mentioned target groups shows that they had difficulties adapting to dramatically worsening conditions in the labour market in the Baltic States. The current pandemic situation in comparison to the global financial crisis of 2009–2010 has a less negative effect. The study revealed that unemployment rates in the Baltic States were close to the EU average. The research results also showed that men and the youth are sensitive to economic fluctuations in the Baltic States. On the one hand, unemployed men and the youth tend to more easily enter the labour market during economic upturns. On the other hand, in an economic downturn, these jobseekers face significant integration difficulties into the labour market and become more socially vulnerable.
It is important to note that long-term unemployed people belong to the most vulnerable groups. People with low skills or qualifications face multiple barriers to labour market integration. Long-term unemployment leads to a loss of income, an erosion of skills, a higher incidence of health problems and increased household poverty.
Although volunteering is not a new topic in social research, many questions about people’s motivation to engage in voluntary activities still remain open. The article analyzes the changing attitudes towards volunteering in contemporary society, the demographic profile of volunteers, their intrinsic motivation and the cultural value orientation that supports it. The main purpose of this article is to identify the impact of main sociodemographic and personal characteristics in people’s decision to volunteer. Data from European Values Surveys (1990, 1999, 2008, 2017) are used for this purpose.
The presented research data provide valuable insights into long-term trends in the development of volunteering in Lithuania, important socio-demographic determinants of volunteering and changing individual motivation to engage in volunteering. As the analysis reveales, although demographic factors – gender, age, education, occupational employment – are important, they only become meaningful when analyzed along with personal characteristics of respondents (such as life satisfaction, trust in people, belief that one is in control of own life) and their value orientations (such as caring, creativity, stimulation, and the pursuit of social justice). In other words, volunteers cannot be treated as a demographically homogeneous group. This means that in order to effectively mobilize people for a specific volunteering activity, it is necessary to take into account not only which socio-demographic groups are generally more likely to be involved, but also the values that are most important to them when planning volunteering strategies and communication. Understanding the determinants of volunteering can serve as a guideline for the development of volunteer-friendly public policies and for properly motivating people to become involved in volunteering, both at the level of the state and specific public organizations.
This article analyzes the relationship between the social and climate policies of the European Union member states and examines the concept of the eco–social state. In the climate crisis era, the need for a close link between social and climate policies is particularly acute. The European Green Deal and other EU strategies reflect a political agenda with a specific interest in social and ecological goals. We aim to answer whether more significant state efforts in the social field are related to a similarly more substantial commitment in climate policy or whether a greater focus on one means less attention on another.
On a theoretical level, we discuss the challenges of climate change for social policy and present the concept of climate justice. The similarities and differences between the ecological and the welfare state are also examined. We argue that the concept of climate justice highlights the phenomenon of a double and even triple injustice on a global level, which requires joint efforts in spheres of social and climate policy. Eco-social state combines social and environmental institutions intending to ensure welfare and sustainability and thus complements the traditional concept of the welfare state. The Koch-Fritz (2014) classification, which distinguishes between the established, deadlocked, emerging, and failing eco-social states, is presented in the paper and used for the empirical analysis.
The empirical part of the paper employs non-parametrical correlation and hierarchical cluster analysis. The former allows for exploring the links between the ecological and social indicators. The latter enables countries to be grouped according to social and climate indicators and compared to the traditional classification of welfare states and Koch-Fritz models of eco-social states. The analysis is based on social and climate indicators of the Europe 2020 strategy. The study found that countries that provide relatively more significant funding for traditional social problems also perform better in climate change adaptation and mitigation policies by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in an effort–sharing sectors and final energy consumption. We show that clusters of the EU member states in terms of social and climate indicators (eco–social state models) are very similar to their membership in the traditional welfare states’ classification.
Moreover, social democratic welfare states are better prepared to address climate change than countries representing other types of welfare states. Thus the analysis confirms the social democratic welfare states as established eco–social states, while the conservative-corporate and liberal welfare states can indeed be called deadlocked eco–social states with average results. We show, however, that Lithuania, together with other Eastern European and Southern European countries, fluctuates on both the best and the worst social and climate change mitigation outcomes. Hence those should be attributed to a group with the mixed results and can be named as failed-emerging eco-social states.
This interdisciplinary article presents a concept of the 21st century and phenomena that are products of the 4th industrial revolution – big data and Artificial Intelligence technologies – as well as the opportunities of their application in public governance and social policy. This paper examines the advantages and disadvantages of big data, problems of data collection, its reliability and use. Big data can be used for the analysis and modeling of phenomena relevant to public governance and social policy. Big data consist of three main types: a) historical data, b) present data with little delay, c) prognostic data for future forecasting. The following categories of big data can be defined as: a) data from social networks, b) traditional data from business systems, c) machine-generated data, such as water extraction, pollution, satellite information. The article analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of big data. There are big data challenges such as data security, lack of cooperation in civil service and social work, in rare situations – data fragmentation, incompleteness and erroneous issues, as well as ethical issues regarding the analysis of data and its use in social policy and social administration.
Big data, covered by Artificial Intelligence, can be used in public governance and social policy by identifying “the hot spots” of various phenomena, by prognosing the meanings of variables in the future on the basis of past time rows, and by calculating the optimal motion of actions in the situations where there are possible various alternatives. The technologies of Artificial Intelligence are used more profoundly in many spheres of public policy, and in the governance of COVID-19 pandemics too.
The substantial advantages of the provided big data and Artificial Intelligence are a holistic improvement of public services, possibilities of personalization, the enhancement of citizen satisfaction, the diminishing of the costs of processing expenditure, the targeting of adopted and implemented decisions, more active involvement of citizens, the feedback of the preferences of policy formation and implementation, the observation of social phenomenas in real time, and possibilities for more detailed prognosing.
Challenges to security of data, necessary resources and competences, the lack of cooperation in public service, especially rare instances of data fragmentation, roughness, falseness, and ethical questions regarding data analysis and application can be evaluated as the most significant problems of using big data and Artificial Intelligence technologies.
Big data and their analytics conducted using Artificial Intelligence technologies can contribute to the adequacy and objectivity of decisions in public governance and social policy, effectively curbing corruption and nepotism by raising the authority and confidence of public sector organizations in governance, which is so lacking in the modern world.
Despite the potential of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology to advance debates of urban studies, this potential is so far used only superficially. In this article I take arguments from the debate on gentrification as an example to show how Bourdieu’s sociology could help us look through the common sense notions of urban studies. But despite the critique for the debate on gentrification, I argue that we should keep on approaching these empiric locations. They enable us to produce sensitive stories on the effects that social forces have on our everyday lives in cities and – in particular – to show the role that housing policy has in the reproduction of power relations.