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Social workers as street-level-bureaucrats in processes of financial aid and eviction risk among families in Sweden
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the Swedish welfare state, assessment of applications regarding benefits for rent costs varies greatly between municipalities. This could partly be explained by formulations in the legislation but also by the inherent discretion in social work practice.  This study focuses on practices of categorization in processes of eviction risk among families, where there are indications of parental cognitive difficulties. The paper in question aims at exploring social workers’ discretionary approaches in these client interactions, and specifically how indications of cognitive difficulties are handled in relation to financial problems. This paper highlights how they, as street-level-bureaucrats (Lipsky, 1980), define and assess these clients’ needs of support but also how they view their professional role and the scope for interventions regarding parental impairments in relation to need for income support.

This qualitative analysis is based on a small section of the above-mentioned study, consisting of interviews with nine social workers in different units of the social welfare agency, who encounter families in eviction risk and use discretion in their exercise of public authority. The tentative findings show that although the interviewees note that cognitive difficulties may partly explain the need for income support on a general level, the strategies to 1) address indications of impairments, 2) emphasize the possible correlations between impairments and the financial problems and 3) adjust the process and/or offer alternative interventions vary greatly, which among other things suggest that the social workers may not get a full account of their clients’ situation which in turn may affect the access to proper support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-329060OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-329060DiVA: diva2:1139284
Conference
(Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities. 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA), August 28th-Sept.1st, Athens,
Available from: 2017-09-07 Created: 2017-09-07 Last updated: 2017-09-07

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
Language
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Output format
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