The Biographical Approach in Case Work with Right Wing Extremist Girls and Young Women

Michaela Köttig


Because of the growing number of right wing extremist youths in Germany, it has become increasingly necessary in social work to develop forms of professional practice, which deal with the orientations of these adolescents in an effective way. Current social work concepts of the work with right wing extremist youth ("accepting" versus "confrontational" approaches) tend to isolate specific aspects of the problem and thus remain inadequate. Notably, there exists a lack of understanding of the complex interrelationships of right wing extremist orientations emerging from biographical processes as well as family history and social conditions, consequently creating an inability to effectively cope with these issues. This article is based on a study of the group dynamics in right wing milieus of adolescents and about the processes. It focuses especially on girls and young women (KÖTTIG, 2004). On the basis of case examples, an attempt will be made to show that the above-mentioned social work concepts are too narrow and that a "holistic," i.e. a biographical, perspective leads to deeper insights into right wing extremist orientations and activities. A biographical understanding of cases can lead to the discovery of starting points for social work interventions and can generate a process of self-understanding among the girls and young women as well. Such types of assistance make it possible for them to reflect on their political orientations in such a way that remaining in the neo-Nazi milieu can lose importance for them. A biographical approach lends itself to a transfer between doing research in the social sciences and casework in social work.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs080124


biographical case reconstruction; social work; case work; right wing extremist girls and young women

Copyright (c) 2008 Michaela Köttig

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