Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg


Prof. Dr. Bettina Hünersdorf (Leitung)

phone: +49-345-55 23800

Franckesche Stiftungen
Haus 6, Raum 31
Franckeplatz 1, Haus 6
06110 Halle (Saale)

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Youth and Community Education/Social Pedagogy/Social Work

The chief interest of our work in this research unit resides in analysing the changing structures and practices of youth and community education work within the field of social services and support for children and young people against the broader backdrop of profound societal transformations. Within this overarching theme, our work pursues three key foci:

  1. The best interests of the child are increasingly at the heart of professional actions in the arena of child protection. The proportion of looked-after children cared for in foster families, as opposed to living in residential care, is growing. Part of our work investigates this phenomenon.
  2. We explore the increasing transformation of schools into a space defined and determined by youth social work practices, driven partly by social and educational reform processes and partly by an intensifying focus on schools as an arena of activity in children’s and youth services.
  3. We trace and interrogate processes of deprofessionalisation and increasing social precarity in youth and community education work which call for new responses from the social work field.

Our research takes the form of empirical projects in which we apply (auto)ethnographic, qualitative/reconstructive and critical theoretical analysis, set within a theoretical and methodological framework and developed on a sound empirical basis, to the study of professional and organisational practices and structures in youth and community education.


Societal analysis of children’s and youth support and services; cooperation between children’s/youth support and services and schools; research into professionalisation and deprofessionalisation in social work; reconstructive social research, specifically ethnographic and autoethnographic research; research on organisational aspects of youth and community education work