Doctoral dissertations

Hieronder staat het lopend doctoraatsonderzoek aan de vakgroep Sociale Agogiek, alfabetisch op naam van de doctorandi.

The (ab)sense of shared parenthood in foster care

PhD student: Céline Cannaert
Summary: Today, definitions of parenthood are mainly limited to the classical image of the Western middle-class family where biological, social and legal parenthood coincide. Foster care is a challenging case to question that dominant idea given its complicated nature and the ambition to realise ‘shared parenthood’ in order to meet the child's right to parents and family. However, within the existing body of (inter)national foster care research, shared parenthood is mainly defined as a procedural and divided concept and each perspective of the various actors in foster care involved is always studied separately. This project aims to contribute to the international framework of shared parenthood knowledge by 1) theorizing the concept of shared parenthood from a holistic family resemblance approach and 2) empirically examining the different ways in which all various actors in voluntary foster care trajectories involved actually negotiate, perceive and fulfil their (parenting)role in the long run.
PhD in Educational Sciences
Promoter(s): Lieselot De Wilde
Periode of time: October 2021 - October 2025

Upbringing in a context of prolonged collective violence

PhD student: Leen De Nutte
Summary: Collective violence can have multiple effects on people’s lives. Even when the overt violence has ceased, its impact persists into the post-conflict era. The upbringing of children is believed to be embedded within context and culture. Consequently, divergent ideas, experiences and meanings exist regarding upbringing, which can be altered by gradual or sudden changes. The impact of collective violence on upbringing has mainly been studied amongst war veterans or ex-combatants. However, little knowledge exists about the impact of collective violence onto upbringing when entire families, over different generations, are living in this context. Furthermore, most studies of parent-child relationships are framed within a Western context. This study therefore wants to explore how caregivers experience, give meaning to, and receive support in the upbringing of children in a context of (past) collective violence, specifically, in Northern Uganda.
PhD in Educational Sciences
Promoter(s): Ilse Derluyn, Lucia De Haene (Parenting and Special Education Research Unit, Ku Leuven)
Periode of time: 2014 - 2022

Transparency in Child and Family Social Work

PhD student: Gretl Dons
Summary: The last decades, transparency in social work became a guiding framework. Both in social policy and social work practices. Transparency is a complex and multidimensional concept that takes on different meanings depending on who it is about, who is using it, or the context in which it is used. In this action research, together with practitioners in the various sectors of youth care, the focus is on what pedagogy is being developed in social work practices when it comes to transparency as in the interactions between professionals and service users. We want to explore how child and family social workers make transparency as a basic attitude explicit in their daily practice and what dilemmas they face in this context. The aim is to change practice itself. The setup is a change process in collaboration with those involved with the purpose of theory building.
PhD in Social Work
Promoter(s): Rudi Roose, Jan Naert (Social Work, Ghent University)
Periode of time: October 2020 - January 2025

Reclaiming the future? Critical perspectives on social work and policies on undocumented migrants

PhD student: Soline Balet
Summary: The structural exclusion of illegalised migrants from Belgian society, their limited rights and restricted access to social services render it difficult for social workers and volunteers to provide more than just material support, situated in the present. This research project aims to gain a deeper understanding of structural social support practices and specific approaches to socio-legal and psycho-social support through ethnographic research methods. Therefore, the project focuses on local and municipal initiatives that link conditional welfare services, namely shelter, to intensive social counselling towards certain future perspectives for illegalised migrants. At the same time, the research endeavours to encompass how social workers, volunteers and illegalised migrants themselves construct informal forms of social support.
PhD in Social Work
Promoter(s): Robin Vandevoordt, Ine Lietaert (Social Work, Ghent University)
Periode of time: October 2021 - October 2025

Revealing the freedom of movement and capacity to aspire of vulnerable youngsters in residential youth care: Towards a socio-spatial citizenship climate

PhD student: Matthias Remmery
Summary: To improve the inclusion and citizenship of youngsters in residential youth care in society, recent research focuses on the development of a positive living group climate. However, this concept limits itself to interpersonal rather than socio-spatial relations and socio-spatial relations and treatment motivation rather than capacity to aspire of youngsters. Therefore, the of the research project is to acquire theoretical and empirical knowledge on the development of a socio-spatial citizenship climate. A socio-spatial lifeworld orientation theory is used to examine how youngsters experience and shape their freedom of movement and their capacity to aspire, related to the question how residential youth care can hinder or enable them to reveal this. A qualitative research approach is used, combining ethnography, mental mapping, biographical interviews and focus groups.
PhD in Social Work
Promoter(s): Griet Roets, Rudi Roose (Department Of Social Work And Social Pedagogy, Ghent University)
Periode of time: November 2021 - October 2025

Towards a child-driven understanding of citizenship: children as co-researchers in search of their place in society.

PhD student: Eveline Meylemans
Summary: This research focusses on the place of children in society and in research. The study suggests a social-pedagogical approach to scrutinize young children’s (9-12 years) actual (lived) citizenship experiences in relation to their social, cultural, economic and spatial environments through a qualitative child-driven approach, in which children are enabled as co-researchers throughout the whole research design. In doing so, this study will contribute to (1) the international body of empirical and theoretical knowledge on young children’s actual citizenship; and to (2) the emerging academic field of participatory research with children as co-researchers, aiming to deepen the methodological and ethical dimensions of this approach.
PhD in Social Work
Promoter(s): Lieve Bradt, Lieselot De Wilde
Periode of time: November 2021 - November 2025