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Vad är ekonomiskt bistånd? – En teoretisk ingång till praktiken

Sevemark, Peter LU (2011) SOAM11 20101
School of Social Work
Abstract
What is Financial Assistance?

Quantitative studies made on Swedish social workers (Stranz 2007 et al) handling means-tested benefits have shown that decisions taken by social workers are often hard to predict. Hence, means-tested benefits seem to be characterised by a lack of consistent application of rules. Contextual factors for the social worker administering the benefits (such as gender, age or ethnic background) show little correlation to the outcome of a client's application. This opens up for the idea that personal motives might play a greater role in the decision. This thesis investigates the way social workers think and act as they are taking decisions on benefits. Two fragmentary applications ('vignettes') were presented... (More)
What is Financial Assistance?

Quantitative studies made on Swedish social workers (Stranz 2007 et al) handling means-tested benefits have shown that decisions taken by social workers are often hard to predict. Hence, means-tested benefits seem to be characterised by a lack of consistent application of rules. Contextual factors for the social worker administering the benefits (such as gender, age or ethnic background) show little correlation to the outcome of a client's application. This opens up for the idea that personal motives might play a greater role in the decision. This thesis investigates the way social workers think and act as they are taking decisions on benefits. Two fragmentary applications ('vignettes') were presented individually during interviews with ten different social workers ‒ all university graduates in social work. The employees were asked to describe their modus operandi in each application. Afterwards an analysis was carried out by carefully deconstructing the text from every interview, looking for iteration, recognition patterns, the use of words such as 'we' and 'problem'. Three main patterns of interpretation were found. Using the Althusserian theory of interpellation, these patterns were found to form ideologies that exist within the means-tested benefit practice. The ideologies 'interpellate' to the social workers and make them act according to a certain ideological practice when they are handling demands from clients, rules from 'above' and facing ethical dilemmas. But the ideology is also acting on a more profound level where it defines the interviewees' definition of what is problematic and what is not. The results show that amongst the ten social workers, traces of three different ideologies could be found. They are referred to here as 'the public servant ideology', 'the relation ideology' and 'the paternalist ideology'; all with different interpretations of what is right, just, reasonable, normal etc. Even though all three ideologies seemed to occupy the minds of the social workers to some extent, the interviewees in the main tended to be more influenced by one of them in particular. (Less)
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author
Sevemark, Peter LU
supervisor
organization
course
SOAM11 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
social assistance, financial assistance, decision making, ideology, deconstruction, practice, law, paternalism, clients, vignette studies, public servants
language
Swedish
id
1980455
date added to LUP
2011-06-20 15:34:33
date last changed
2011-08-08 11:25:35
@misc{1980455,
  abstract     = {What is Financial Assistance?

Quantitative studies made on Swedish social workers (Stranz 2007 et al) handling means-tested benefits have shown that decisions taken by social workers are often hard to predict. Hence, means-tested benefits seem to be characterised by a lack of consistent application of rules. Contextual factors for the social worker administering the benefits (such as gender, age or ethnic background) show little correlation to the outcome of a client's application. This opens up for the idea that personal motives might play a greater role in the decision. This thesis investigates the way social workers think and act as they are taking decisions on benefits. Two fragmentary applications ('vignettes') were presented individually during interviews with ten different social workers ‒ all university graduates in social work. The employees were asked to describe their modus operandi in each application. Afterwards an analysis was carried out by carefully deconstructing the text from every interview, looking for iteration, recognition patterns, the use of words such as 'we' and 'problem'. Three main patterns of interpretation were found. Using the Althusserian theory of interpellation, these patterns were found to form ideologies that exist within the means-tested benefit practice. The ideologies 'interpellate' to the social workers and make them act according to a certain ideological practice when they are handling demands from clients, rules from 'above' and facing ethical dilemmas. But the ideology is also acting on a more profound level where it defines the interviewees' definition of what is problematic and what is not. The results show that amongst the ten social workers, traces of three different ideologies could be found. They are referred to here as 'the public servant ideology', 'the relation ideology' and 'the paternalist ideology'; all with different interpretations of what is right, just, reasonable, normal etc. Even though all three ideologies seemed to occupy the minds of the social workers to some extent, the interviewees in the main tended to be more influenced by one of them in particular.},
  author       = {Sevemark, Peter},
  keyword      = {social assistance,financial assistance,decision making,ideology,deconstruction,practice,law,paternalism,clients,vignette studies,public servants},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Vad är ekonomiskt bistånd? – En teoretisk ingång till praktiken},
  year         = {2011},
}