Listening to the Welfare State  book cover
1st Edition

Listening to the Welfare State

ISBN 9781138263833
Published September 14, 2017 by Routledge
308 Pages

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Book Description

Listening to the Welfare State presents, for the first time in English, central research findings from recent studies of the welfare systems of Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. The book’s contributors are leading investigators of face-to-face encounters between welfare professionals and clients in these systems. All have collected their data through ethnographic observations as well as taped recordings of these meetings. By subjecting their data to conversation and discourse analyses, these researchers provide a richly detailed empirical picture of the various forms of talk-at-work constituting the core activity of a variety of street-level bureaucracies. Their findings provide a well-rounded body of knowledge about what happens when professionals meet persons seeking financial assistance, child protection, employment, vocational counselling, treatment, rehabilitation and related services. Essential reading for both professional and students, this book will provide a wealth of insights into and understandings of, the micro-level workings of welfare state systems.

Table of Contents

Contents: Authentic Conversation and the Construction of Meaning in the Micro landscapes of Interaction in the Welfare State: Images of encounters in social work - with a focus on social interaction, morality and gender, Christian Kullberg and Elisabet Cedersund; Negotiating meanings in and through interactional positions in professional helping work, Arja Jokinen, Kirsi Juhila and Eero Souninen. Talking With and About Children and Parents at the Workplaces of the Welfare State: Involvement, attendance and participation of children in child protection, Hannele Forsberg; The social organization of legitimate risk assessments in child protection: a study of backstage talk and interaction in a local child protection agency in Norway, Ã…se Vagli. Talking About Unemployment, Activation and Career Training in the Welfare State: Discourses of activation at Danish employment offices, Søren Peter Olesen; Counsellors’ responses to students’ troubles-talk in counselling encounters in Finnish careers guidance training, Sanna Vehviläinen. Clients, Identity and Institutional Talk in the Welfare State: The dilemma of two cultures in 12-step treatment: professionals’ responses to clients who act against their best interests, Ilkka Arminen and Amnna Leppo; Who!? identity in institutional contexts, Lars-Christer Hydén; Social work or bureaucracy?, Ilmari Rostila; Afterword: after listening - another picture of the Nordic welfare state and its operations, Søren Peter Olensen.

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Michael Seltzer, Oslo University College, Norway, Christian Kullberg, University of Örebro, Sweden. Søren Peter Olesen, National School of Social Work, Aarhus, Denmark. Ilmari Rostila, University of Jyväskylä, Finland


’An exceptionally interesting and timely collection of studies about the day-to-day working of welfare systems using ethnographic, conversation and discourse analyses.’ Professor Peter Leonard, McGill University, Canada ’I am very impressed with this manuscript...innovative and informative...will be of great value to both researcher and students alike.’ Dr Tim Stainton, University of Wales, Swansea, UK ’...stands out both in terms of its commitment to methodological unity, and its broad treatment of a range of diverse welfare contexts (e.g., educational counselling, alcohol abuse, child protection, unemployment). The micro-level analyses (based on the listenings done by the researchers) have been complemented with adequate readings of the socio-historical contexts. I see this book as a future point of reference for research into welfare practices in other European regions.’ Srikant Sarangi, University of Cardiff, UK 'This volume is a welcome addition to a landscape increasingly dominated by prescriptive or narrowly focused outcome-oriented studies, which say a great deal about how things should be done, but not very much about how professionals negotiate the contingencies of their day-to-day encounters.' European Journal of Social Work