The history of social pedagogy and social work (for more than 35 years embraced by the common name of “societal work”) is an aspect of the development of the German society. Their existence is determined by the structural durability of social inequality. The submitted text reconstructs the historical and systemic conditions for the development of social pedagogy/societal work across the German lands. The analysis focuses around the thesis that social pedagogy practiced in bourgeois-capitalist social formation, accepting the capitalist model of socialization, has to have a special way of dealing with the evolution of relations between the society/social structures and the individual, and thus the conditions of the constitution of subjectivity, the ability to operate, etc. The historical development shows that social pedagogy/social work has been exposed to political instrumentalization.