• Sofie Rask Eriksen
4. semester, Socialt Arbejde, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)

The intention with this thesis is to explore how the state-controlled childhood and adulthood influence young people’s experience of the transition from family services to the adult system in social work. The thesis is based on theories about cultural norms and demands in late modernity and on theories about the State, the Competition State, governmentality, power and steering. A genealogical analysis has been used to analyze five breaches of the Danish welfare policy and demonstrate how rationales in the Competition State have prevailed as institutionalized norms and demands in relation to the transition from child to adult in social legislation from the mid-90s up until now. These breaches of welfare policy include:

1st breach, 1998: Consolidation of “Aktivlinjen” (workfare)/active citizenship
2nd breach, 2007: Changes in municipality structures and creation of job centres
3rd breach, 2010: Duty of education and occupation of 15-17 year olds
4th breach, 2011: Municipal duty to prepare for an independent adulthood
5th breach, 2014: Consolidation of an educational profile

Qualitative interviews have been used to analyze young people’s experience of transition in the cross field between special support and cultural demands (in social work) as well as demands in the Competition State. The interviewees include five disadvantaged young people between 19 and 25, who have been previously placed in care and who have been passed on to the job centre in their adult life. This provides a qualitative knowledge production about socialization in the transition from child to adult in a “before, during and after” perspective:

Knowledge production in relation to childhood and support shows that the state-controlled childhood asserts itself as a support stemming from a ‘liquid’ and accelerated family system. A systemic structure that steers young people through an impersonal, liquid and distanced power in social work affecting interaction between social work professionals and disadvantaged young people and making it difficult for young people to find a fixed point in the support. Furthermore, young people experience a hyper-accelerated-institutional-life and hyper-accelerated-school-life transforming their social practices and identities because of a high pace of change. The young people experience educational and occupational demands and expectations that are difficult for them to live up to due to a parallel and disadvantaged youth. Several of these disadvantaged young people experience the power of family services as an intervening repressive power. Power can also be understood in a productive perspective, in which the system, through steering-practices, attempt to steer and shape the self-steering practice of the disadvantaged young people towards an independent adulthood. Several of the young people demonstrate counter-power as self-steering practice, thereby showing their will. They experience transition as a sudden change from a support-paradigm to a demand-paradigm. In transition, the deceleration is a possible protective structure against demands and expectations of acceleration and a way to stay in touch with a safe and familiar system.

Knowledge production in relation to the transition and demands of the Competitive State shows that young people, when introduced to the ‘liquid’ occupational regime and the demands of the Competitive State, experience the job centres’ exercise of power as either repressive or productive. In terms of repression, the power has a disciplining effect. When exercising power in a productive manner, the profiling of the Competitive State underpins a socialization practice, which is a looser, customized steering-practice operating through the interests and beliefs of young people. In this regard the pastoral power is essential. The experiences of the intensified educational profile from the job centre varies depending on the young people’s position in the administrative social structure through their “right and duty” profile. Through profiling, the job centres’ different steering-practices become a political instrument used to seek out the productive resources. The transition between the state-controlled childhood and adulthood furthermore asserts itself via young people’s experience of two different regimes of practices' steering rationales, grounded in the same principles of thinking.

Knowledge production in relation to adulthood and the cultural demands shows that young people need support in the process of becoming adult. In this process, young people draw on their experience with support mechanisms from the family services support paradigm and the need for stable orientation points in the liquid modernity. Young people wish to live up to the cultural demands for acceleration, but most of them experience an adult life characterized by deceleration in terms of diagnoses and periods of abuse and crime. In adulthood, the diagnostic logic operates as a key steering tool in the neo-liberal regime of practices. To witness the accelerated modern world from a state of deceleration can result in alienation, as young people, on the one hand are committed to the idea of active citizenship and, on the other hand, cannot live up the demands of acceleration in the transition. In conclusion, the Competitive State’s rationales of steering acts as socializing systems of norms via customized steering practices before, during and after transition. Steering practices that seek to steer disadvantaged young people through institutionalized norms and demands of education and occupation towards active citizenship in adulthood. Steering practices rooted in the rationales of the Competitive State, which in adulthood place the disadvantaged young people in the administrative social structure, dividing and illustrating the social differences to exploit the productive resources instead of the unproductive.
Udgivelsesdato1 mar. 2017
Antal sider99
ID: 274598738