Department of Sociology
New article

The welfare front line in the twenty-first century

Kjetil G. Lundberg (UniReseach Rokkan Centre) og Liv Johanne Syltevik (Department of sociology) have published an article on everyday interaction in the front line of the Norwegian welfare state in Journal of Organizational Ethnography.

Emil Weatherhead Breistein

Main content

The study contributes an ethnographic approach to a seldom studied part of welfare administration. The waiting rooms in the Norwegian welfare organization are actualized as a social arena influenced by new trends in public administration: one-stop shops, a new heterogeneity, activation policies and digitalization processes.

The analysis shows how people fill these spaces with different activities, and how they are characterized by a particular type of welfare “officialdom”, boundary work and the handling of welfare stigma. Everyday interaction on the front line gives insights into the tensions in an all-in-one welfare bureaucracy and into the implementation of digitalization. The paper concludes that “old” and “new” tensions are expressed and managed at the front line, and suggests that more attention be paid to the new barriers that are developing.

Read the full article in Journal of Organizational Ethnography volume 5, issue 2