Anregungen / Fragen

German social workers as professional politicians: career paths and social advocacy

Sigrid Leitner & Klaus Stolz

Social workers try to influence the political process in favour of their clients in various ways. The most direct way of doing so, entry into electoral and professional politics, is surprisingly underresearched. In this article, we take a first look at the political careers of (former) social workers on the federal, state and local government level in Germany. Starting from theories of political professionalisation, we illustrate the extent to which they remain in contact with their original occupational field and discuss their capacity for and interest in advocatory interest representation of marginalised and deprived social groups. We conclude that the institutions of professional politics in Germany establish both opportunities and restraints for a meaningful substantive representation of clients’ interests. A more detailed analysis of its effectiveness is still lacking.