Miroslav Brkić

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Fakultet političkih nauka Univerziteta u Beogradu


Social Problems as Constructs of Social Reality

Social problems are perceived situations incompatible with the values of a significant number of people, which lead to negative social and economic consequences. Their basic characteristics are: that they are predominantly caused by social factors, mass, awareness of their existence and that they can be eliminated by social measures and interventions. The paper analyzes whether social problems are objective social facts that are not questionable or whether social constructs are based on perception, interiorization and cultural diversity. In particular, the influence of social constructivism on the relation of social workers and users, i.e. understanding of the nature of social needs, is pointed out. Social problems, become part of human reality through the processes of externalization, objectification and internalization, which indicates that they can to a significant extent be considered social constructs. This can explain why some of the phenomena, which from the point of view of objective criteria represent social problems in some societies and they are perceived as such, unlike others. In this sense, social problems are not only “objective social facts”, but also social artifacts, products of cultural, value and historical exchanges among people. By rejecting a linear approach in interpreting unsatisfied social needs and introducing the approach of “ignorance” of social workers, i.e. “subjectivity” expressed in the user’s perception of the problem, social constructivism emphasizes the approaches to empowerment, participation and involvement. Language as a social construction in the understanding and explanation of reality and processes in social work introduces terms of strength, resources, assessment and reflection


People with Intellectual and Mental Disabilities in Social Care System in Serbia between Path Dependency and the Pursuit of Deinstitutionalization

Despite reform efforts toward deinstitutionalization of social protection system in Serbia, encouraging the development of alternative community-based services in the community as well as the pressure from the international community in the European Union integration process, the care system for persons with intellectual and mental disabilities is still characterized by high rates of institutionalization and present waiting lists for accommodation in social protection institutions. The article will attempt to answer the question why the existing system of social protection, despite the formal commitment of the government, is not based on the basic principles of deinstitutionalization, which are the foundation for accomplishing the rights of people with intellectual and mental disabilities in accordance with international standards and policies in this area. Bearing in mind the complexity of the social protection system, the subject of this paper will be the analysis of the factors which inhibit or prevent the process of deinstitutionalization. The authors will argue that the reasons are twofold - structural and cultural, while for the identification and explanation of the major obstacles that hinder the deinstitutionalization process will be used institutional arguments. Continued reliance on institutional care of this social group shows "path dependency" in which the responses of the system are rooted in the socialist past. Understanding this historical impact is crucial for the further reform of the social protection system.


Harmonisation of Asylum and Integrations Policy With the European Union Legislation

Serbia’s strategic priority in the EU integration process is harmonisation of legislative and administrative frameworks with European standards. The importance of migration issue arises from its relevance for the social and economic development and the rate of progress in the European Union accession process. Still, Serbia has no unique and explicitly formulated migration policy. Migration management and integration policy are primarily characterised by being focused on problems and needs of refugees and internally displaced persons. Despite the revised legislation within legal and illegal migrations, asylum and visa policies, adoption of many sector strategies, there is no comprehensive migration policy that is completely harmonised with the European Union guidelines, moralities and principles. Even with the significant progress in these areas, first of all in the asylum system which is harmonised to the international standards to a great extent, Serbia is still facing great challenges due to limited resources, lack of capacities and insufficient coordination of responsible authorities.