Coping Strategies and Rationing. The Discretion of Social Workers as Street-Level Bureaucrats and Situated Agents

Author/s Valeria Cappellato, Laura Cataldi
Publishing Year 2019 Issue 2019/155
Language Italian Pages 24 P. 96-119 File size 283 KB
DOI 10.3280/SL2019-155005
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This paper explores the discretion issue of social workers (educators, social-health operators, and administrative employees included) in light of the street-level theory and the concept of "situated agency". From the analysis of the interviews administered in two public services in Northern Italy, the lack of resources has emerged as the most important dilemma for social workers, as well as the prime mover of their coping strategies: it requires the selection of users and the service rationing; it affects discretion, since it reduces the options for deliverable interventions and the relationship space for users; and, finally, it risks transforming social work into relational support. Even in this situation, social workers seem to be policy makers only in a narrower sense than the one assumed in literature, since they do not participate in social planning and in that one of their organization, and they actually renounce to voice and policy advocacy.

Keywords: Social work, street-level theory, rationing

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  • Rappresentazioni e identità degli operatori sociali come street-level bureaucrats e situated agents Laura Cataldi, Valeria Cappellato, in SOCIOLOGIA E RICERCA SOCIALE 121/2020 pp.90
    DOI: 10.3280/SR2020-121005

Valeria Cappellato, Laura Cataldi, Coping Strategies e razionamento. La discrezionalità degli operatori sociali come street-level bureaucrats e situated agents in "SOCIOLOGIA DEL LAVORO " 155/2019, pp 96-119, DOI: 10.3280/SL2019-155005