With a little help from — whom?
The situated and organisational practices of 'helping'
Date: 7 – 8 November 2019
Convenors: Daniela Böhringer (Osnabrück, GER), Sarah Hitzler (Bielefeld, GER), Martina Richter (Essen, GER)
In modern welfare states, there are entire professions devoted to helping. However, once one transcends intuitive understandings of what help is, it quickly becomes unclear how helping is structured as an institutionalised practice. Hitherto, there is no systematic understanding of helping as an organisational and local practice which, following similar rationalities across fields, will pose similar recurring demands on its actors. In this workshop, we aim to unfold the manifold practices of helping and thereby to reach an empirically grounded understanding of what constitutes helping. Drawing on different qualitative empirical studies by researchers from different disciplines, we want to spark a discussion of the different forms of professional and self-organised forms of institutionalised help. The accomplishment of help is specified as an organisational and local problem of action, which transcends the particularities of distinct fields. The workshop thus aims to contribute to an empirically based theory of helping.