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.
’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