I'm gonna ask you about yourself so I can put it on paper: Analysing Street Level Bureaucracy Through Form-Related Talk in Social Work

Maureen Matarese, Dorte Caswell

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Standardised formats in social work have often been seen as neo-liberal and linked to New Public Management. Analysing naturally occurring data from social work interactions (conversations) in a homeless shelter, we argue that examining street-level bureaucracy from a discursive perspective enables us to discover new aspects of form-related interaction. By investigating several approaches to form-talk, we see how standardisation, routinisation, time and documentation function in concert to accomplish social work. We argue that, while some talk strictly adheres to questionnaires, allowing little space for client voice, other types of form-related talk do not adhere directly to form questions, providing more space for client voice. Importantly, the former interactions are discursively narrow spaces for client participation but provide transparency of the accountable event in play, while the latter discussions are more participatory client spaces that reduce transparency of the accountable event. As a result, we are both critical of the use of forms in the casework context and cautiously optimistic in terms of implications for social work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume48
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)714–733
Number of pages20
ISSN0045-3102
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Street-level bureaucracy
  • conversation analysis
  • discourse analysis
  • institutional interaction
  • neo-liberalism
  • social work

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