Getting the job done…!? (Professional) challenges on the frontline of Public Employment Services in Vienna and Milan

Nothdurfter, Urban (2014) Getting the job done…!? (Professional) challenges on the frontline of Public Employment Services in Vienna and Milan. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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Individualised activation services have gained in importance in all European welfare states making lower level discretion an intrinsic feature of activation policies. Thus, the debate on activation policies and challenges to social citizenship has to go beyond formal policy and to take into account also its operational and street-level dimension which shapes what is eventually produced as policy on the ground. In this context, frontline practice plays a crucial role since it constitutes the very moment where activation policies encounter their target groups and real world solutions have to be found. This PhD project is aimed at exploring the challenges, interpretations and reactions of frontline workers in activation services and at analysing them in the light of a combined theoretical framework which understands frontline practice as part of the policy making chain and addresses issues such as the use of discretion, power and situated agency. The research project consists of an explorative qualitative study undertaken at the frontline of Public Employment Services in the cities of Vienna (Austria) and Milan (Italy). The findings contribute to the debate on constraints and possibilities for “activation work” as a practice of citizenship in a field whose challenges are often neglected both by social policy and social work research, although it has become a central arena for welfare state intervention and, eventually, for the realisation of social citizenship. Particular attention is given to the questions whether and to what extent professionalising “activation work” could counteract the precarious and highly individualised role of frontline workers in this ambiguous public domain.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Sociology and Social Research (within the School in Social Sciences, till the a.y. 2010-11)
PhD Cycle:XXIV
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali
Repository Staff approval on:30 Apr 2014 14:58

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