National Conference On 'Social Work in Rural Societies:Reflections On Method And Practice'


Date: Aug. 26, 2021 - Aug. 27, 2021





Social Work in Rural Societies:

Reflections on Method and Practice

 (26th and 27th August 2021)

In recent times, society has been witnessing different forms of contingencies that affect the life, culture, and livelihoods of its people. As a practice and discipline, ‘Social Work’ has been engaging these dynamics occurring in the social and economic life of the people in various ways. In general as a practice-oriented discipline, (professional) Social Work has been distributed its Operandi in dealing with individuals, groups, and communities irrespective of divisions across geographies. This is the premise in which we imagine and speculate the growth and expansion of Social Work that posit responsible interventions among its target groups and thereby enhancing their lives and livelihoods. In the recent past, the pandemic of COVID-19 that has led to the reverse migration of millions from cities back to their villages was emblematic of the extent of poverty and marginalization in India, and the connection between rural and urban areas. Significantly, this is a crucial juncture we need to look around the contingencies of these patterns and their implications in the contemporary.

The School of Rural Development, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, at Tuljapur has been offering Social Work programmes from the Bachelors to Doctoral levels. Its location around the Marathwada region permits substantive engagement for faculty and students with development questions of the region such as education, health, agriculture, and so on. The initiatives by faculty members in the past few decades through field interventions, research, and close connection with the curriculum, as praxis, have positioned the TISS as a premier educational institute in rural Maharashtra. Towards strengthening its credentials as an academic institution engaged in rural development education, research, as well as practice from micro to advocacy levels, we are currently in the process of renewing the dialogue on social work in contemporary rural India. This is significant in a context marked by increasing polarization between communities, deepening structural inequalities, and segmentation of people across caste, class, gender, ethnicity, and other divides.

It would be interesting and conducive to the growth of the discipline of Social Work if we could deliberate and debate on our concerns in the field, as well as the classroom - to bring to the forefront, Social Work in the ‘Rural’ context. This could be informed by acknowledging at the outset that the nature of urbanization in India is closely connected with that of the rural. Some of the questions we begin with are: What is the current concerns of populations in rural India? To what extent is Social Work practice and education addresses these concerns? With an interdisciplinary approach, how can we strengthen our analysis and practice?  How distinct are rural realities from the urban? Is it possible to cultivate a synergy for specific practices for the rural communities? What are the implications of diversity across the country for contextualizing practice? We must engage with these questions to make the discipline and profession more relevant and to move beyond fixed and totalizing frameworks. In working towards social justice, is there a need to re-examine whether the present models of practice are relevant for the empowerment and emancipation of those we work with? Is the language of indigenization of social work capable of addressing the experiences of oppression and subjugation prevalent in rural societies? Or do we need a focus on populations at the margins; especially the Dalits, Adivasis, other occupational groups?

Positioning ourselves in and around the ambiguities above, we are on the mission of creating a platform for dialogue and deliberation with students, researchers, practitioners, activists, scholars, and educators, to strengthen the theory and practice of social work in rural societies. Hence we announce our national-level conference on the theme Social Work in Rural Societies: Reflections on Method and Practice scheduled on 25th and 26th August 2021.

Call for Papers

We invite papers in the form of academic explorations based on field, theory, or/and literature that promise new thoughts and directions for rural social work.  Papers under the following sub-themes are invited for this event, with abstracts of a maximum of 500 words to be sent to The Abstract must express its central research question and should mention the Title, Sub-Theme, and details about the author. The authors of the selected abstracts must submit the full paper before 10th August 2021.

The Sub-themes are :

●  Definition, Theory, and Practice of Rural Social Work

●  Rural Development and Its Target  Populations

●  Social Work Interventions in Agrarian Societies

●  Political Economy of Rural Society and Social Work Practice

●  Indigenization of Social Work and Rural Concerns

●  Local-Self Governance and Social Work with Rural Communities

●  Health, Education, and Livelihoods in Rural Areas

●  New Education Policy and the Discipline of Social Work.

●  Ideologies for Social Work Praxis: Marx, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Phule, and Others

●  Dalit, Traibal, Anti-Oppressive and Radical Social Work in Rural Societies:lessons for teaching and practice.


Important dates are:

●  Deadline for Abstract Submission           :           June 20th

●  Announcement of selected papers           :           June 30th

●  Deadline for Full paper submission          :           August 10th

●  Dates of Conference                              :           26th and 27th August 2021.



Prof. Ramesh Jare,

Professor and Dean

School of Rural Development

Tuljapur Campus

Tata Institute of Social Sciences


Dr. Manojan K. P.

Assistant Professor

School of Rural Development

Tuljapur Campus

Tata Institute of Social Sciences


Organizing Committee

Dr. Anjali Kulkarni,

Mr. Rohit Jain,

Dr. Sampat Kale

Dr. Manoj Joseph,

Dr. NeelamYadava


Chief Patron

Prof. Shalini Bhara

Director, TISS