Human service professionals deal with a wide range of problems, from child abuse, parenting issues, and elderly care, to addictions, mental illness, sexual assault, unemployment, and criminality. These must be constructed as problems for professionals to appropriately respond to them. Human service provision starts from there. But in the everyday experience of service providers and users alike, there is a parallel world of ordinary troubles that remains professionally undefined but real, even when troubles are turned into problems.
This book brings into view the relationship between these worlds as it bears on the process of clientization—the transformation of people and troubles into clients and problems. Rather than taking the process for granted as many critics do, the book examines the instability of the process on several fronts and highlights its surprising local complexity. Foregrounding everyday life, the leading idea is that the transformation of troubles into problems is not straightforward and that problems are continually subject to alternative understandings. This poses new what, how, and where questions. What are ordinary troubles and how do they relate to the construction, maintenance, or undoing of serviceable problems? Where is social policy and how does that figure in the front-line work of service provision? The questions point to the challenges of clientization at the discretionary border of troubles and problems in everyday service relationships.
With chapters written by an international group of human service researchers, this book is an important contribution to the literature dealing with the construction of personal problems and will be useful to students and academics in sociology, human services, social work and policy, criminal justice, and health care.
Table of Contents
1. Troubles, Problems, and Clientization Jaber F. Gubrium and Margaretha Järvinen Part 1: Individual Challenges 2. Listening and the Paradox of Autonomy in Elderly Care Homes Jens Kofod 3. Parent Constructions of Problem Location and Clienthood in Child Welfare Services Maarit Alasuutari 4. Untidy Clientization: Drug Users Resisting Institutional Identities Margaretha Järvinen Part 2: Collective Challenges 5. Psychiatric Diagnosis as Collective Action in a Residential Therapeutic Community Darin Weinberg 6. Wild Girls and the Deproblematization of Troubled Lives Kathrine Vitus 7. The Imagined Psychology of Being Overweight in a Weight Loss Program Nanna Mik-Meyer Part 3: Competing Perspectives 8. Troubles? Problems? Comparing Social Workers’ and Older Persons’ Perspectives on Elder Self-Neglect Tova Band-Winterstein, Israel Doron, and Sigal Naim 9. Participant Meaning-Making Along the Work Trajectory of a Labor Activation Program Erika Gubrium 10. Constructing the System in a Remand Prison Thomas Ugelvik Part 4: Contending Clienthoods 11. How Occupational Identity Constructs Clienthood in Sexual Assault Exams Lara Foley 12. Tenability, Troubles, and Psychiatric Problems in Practice James A. Holstein 13. From Troubling Actions to Troubled Lives: Sex Offender Registration and Notification Richard Tewksbury and David Patrick Connor
Jaber F. Gubrium is Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Missouri, USA, and is the founding and current editor of the Journal of Aging Studies.
Margaretha Järvinen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen and is affiliated with the Danish National Centre for Social Research (SFI) in Copenhagen, Denmark.