‘Social work of boundaries’: emerging multiple social work fields in post-Soviet Eurasia

Sofiya An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The restructuring of welfare provisions in post-Soviet Kazakhstan, a newly
independent state in Central Asia, has been characterized by the shift from
the Soviet welfare system dominated by the state to the welfare mix
consisting of the state, the market, and the nonprofit, nongovernmental
sector. One of the features of the post-Soviet welfare reconfiguration
has been the development of social work as a new approach to welfare
provision and an emerging professional field. This analysis draws upon
key informant interviews conducted in Kazakhstan over the summer of
2012 and multiple relevant policy texts. This paper examines how the
emerging fields of social work in post-Soviet Kazakhstan have been
shaped by the shifting national and global policy contexts. More
specifically, I identify two major fields of social work within the
nongovernmental and the governmental sectors that are influenced by
different institutional environments. First, domestic nongovernmental
organizations have been increasingly involved in the provision of social
services; and second, new or reformed governmental organizations have
begun to introduce social services and social work. As a result, social
work has emerged not as a coherent, homogenous field but as distinct,
fragmentary fields.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • social work
  • social policy
  • post-Soviet social policy
  • nongovernmental organizations
  • transnationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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