Welfare State Regimes and Caseworkers’ Problem Explanation

Marie Østergaard Møller, Helena Helena Olofsdotter Stensöta

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9 Citations (Scopus)


In frontline bureaucracy research, the dominant view holds that frontline workers resist managerial pressure to “blame the poor” by bending the rules based on moral considerations, a practice labeled “citizen agency.” We suggest that frontline responses to managerial pressure are filtered through welfare state regime type. Based on in-depth study of caseworker reasoning in Sweden and Denmark, we find a “structural problem explanation” that sees reasons for clients seeking support as rooted in the structures of society— not in the individual client. We find and present two narratives hitherto not problematized in frontline bureaucracy research: the “statesperson” and the “professional.”
Translated title of the contributionVelfærdsstatsregimer og sagsbehandleres problemforklaring
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdministration & Society
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1425–1454
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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