Enhancing Community-Based Learning in Social Work Education Through a Social Marketing Approach

Enhancing Community-Based Learning in Social Work Education Through a Social Marketing Approach

Carlo Mari (University of Molise, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2208-0.ch015
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How do universities engage with local communities? How is a pedagogy of engagement introduced into a graduate professional degree? Are there any new approaches for linking campuses with communities? Is social marketing a useful approach when considering community engagement? The chapter aims to answer these questions by proposing a novel approach based on applying social marketing to the scholarship of teaching. Specifically, it draws on an example of a university graduate course in social marketing within a master's program in social work at an Italian university. The experience shows how a social marketing perspective helps social work students address social issues that face local communities through service-learning.
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Connecting Social Marketing, Social Work Education, And Community-Engaged Scholarship

There are two principal reasons that explain why social marketing is relevant for community-engaged scholarship, and is captured by the following definition: “Social marketing is the adaptation of commercial marketing technologies to programs designed to influence the voluntary behavior of target audiences to improve their personal welfare and that of the society of which they are a part” (Andreasen, 1994, p. 110; Kotler & Lee, 2019, p. 8). This definition highlights that social marketing is focused on activities that seek to change society in order to improve the welfare or well-being of the people. This broad scope evokes the public issues addressed by community-engaged scholarship, whose idea is to generate knowledge and practices to alleviate social issues that affect communities (Sandmann, 2008), which is in the same domain as social marketing. Moreover, the conceptual underpinnings of social marketing are drawn from commercial marketing, which is one of the most impactful ways of bringing about social change. Commercial marketing has already proved successful in changing people’s lives, and its huge potential could be used to improve individual and social well-being. Community-engaged scholarship could benefit from a vast array of well-established marketing concepts and tools that could help to pursue social good.

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