Edition 2011


The Summer University in social work provides a unique opportunity to address social problems and professional challenges in a new way. In 2011, it will focus on intergenerational relationships, with special attention given to gender issues. 

Gender, intergenerational relationships and social work

The term "gender" refers to the social and cultural construction of the masculine and the feminine in society. These social constructions, which are founded on hierarchically organized modes of differentiation, have an impact on social problems, on social work clients and of course on social work professionals :

  • Are social problems articulated with gender issues ?
  • Should gender-specific approaches be promoted ?
  • Are social problems confronting women different from those experienced by men ?

The notion of "intergenerational relationships" evokes the establishment and implementation of specific policies and actions in the political, institutional or community realms. These policies or actions do not merely serve to identify, manage, assist or address categories of persons defined by age criteria, kinship position and being alive during a given historical period, but also focus on stimulating or organizing relations between generational groups.

  • What impact do these systems have on the concrete relationships between social work clients, families and State ?
  • Do these systems limit the scope of intervention of social work professionals ?
  • Do we need to re-conceptualize and re-invent relations between generations ?

The Summer University 2011 will deal with current issues in social work according to this twofold theme. It will focus on the intersection of questions on gender and intergenerational relationships from a comparative and international perspective :

  • Which kind of inequalities between women and men may result from demographic changes and the increase of life expectancy ?
  • How do these inequalities vary from one country to another ?
  • How is the care provided to the elderly or to young children influenced by the social construction of the feminine and the masculine ?
  • Does solidarity between generations exist ?
  • Is it the prerogative of women or men, the families or the State to foster it ?

During two weeks, the participants to the Summer University will be invited to discuss these various issues with many international specialists and to develop their more specific interests in small groups during the workshops.


From June 20th to July 1st

The Summer University 2011 will take place in Lausanne at the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland · EESP · Lausanne (www.eesp.ch).

Field visits and social events will be organized in Lausanne, Geneva, Fribourg and Valais.

Assessment and credits

6 ECTS credits will be awarded to students meeting the following requirements :

  1. Prep on selected literature and draft of a project ;
  2. Participation to the entire Summer University program
  3. Finalization of an original social work project in a small group ;
  4. Short personal essay on participation in the Summer University.


Swiss universities do not usually have on-campus housing. Solutions of housing for the duration of the Summer school will be proposed to the foreign students if needed.

If you need accomodation, send an email to : info@susw.ch


Lectures will be given in English OR French.

Translation will be provided, but some level of proficiency in both languages is useful.