Client participation and conditionality: Navigating conflicting normative demands in employment services

Bidragets oversatte titel: Borgerinddragelse og betingelser: At navigere imellem modsatrettede normative krav i beskæftigelsesindsatsen

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Abstract

The further involvement of citizens in the processing of their own cases is attracting attention as a possible strategy for improving the quality of employment services across national borders. However, employment services are characterized by detailed regulation and strong elements of conditionality. This article utilizes Bernardo Zacka’s framework on morality at the street level, drawing on focus group interviews to analyze how caseworkers in Denmark experience and deal with such demands for increased client participation. (1) We map four normative considerations that are emphasized by our informants: legality, authenticity, realism, and resonance. (2) In doing so, we outline two central cross-pressures that arise as they strive to balance client participation with conditionality in practice, namely between legality and authenticity, on the one hand, and between realism and resonance, on the other hand. (3) Finally, we unfold three coping strategies pursued by caseworkers to dampen such tensions: dividing the self, dissolving contradictions, and disassembling clients’ wishes. We add to the literature by studying coping strategies from a perspective that carefully highlights the normative elements of employment service work—the values frontline workers attribute particular importance to and strive to actualize in their work.

Bidragets oversatte titelBorgerinddragelse og betingelser: At navigere imellem modsatrettede normative krav i beskæftigelsesindsatsen
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftAdministration & Society
Vol/bind55
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)802-823
Antal sider22
ISSN0095-3997
DOI
StatusUdgivet - maj 2023

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