Civic participation, international comparison, macro social work, policy practice, political participation, political social work


Various international and national social work ethical principles call social workers to participate in politics, yet not much research exists in the field of a political social work. Little is known about the actual voluntary political engagement of social workers as well as factors influencing their political activity. Especially, few studies with an international comparison focus have been conducted. Consequently, this study used cross sectional survey design to better understand the factors influencing the political activity of social workers in Switzerland (n = 1242) and in the United States (n = 3033). The results indicate that the political activity of social workers is strongly associated with the political influence of parents, with membership in a professional social work association, as well as with political efficacy. There are some differences between Swiss and U.S. social workers, mainly concerning the influence of memberships in trade unions. As one of few international practice comparison pieces, this article aims to further stimulate the discourse on social workers’ political activity. For this purpose, implications for social work education, practice, and research are outlined in the final section.

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