• Rebekka Brinch Kruse
  • Mia Kejlstrup Bak
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
With the introduction of the reform of unemployment benefits (Kontanthjælpsreformen) in 2014, the group of "temporarily passive", hence the most vulnerable recipients of unemployment benefits, was replaced by the "activity ready" category. This included the extension of the target groups covered by the active labour market policies, where vulnerable citizens who were not previously counted as ready for, or able to enter, the labour market, were now subject to employment focus.

From a microsociological point of view, this thesis provides an in-depth insight into the complexity surrounding the employment efforts towards the activity ready group that simultaneously are understood as vulnerable as well as suited for activities leading to employment.

The thesis is based on an interactionist-constructivist perspective, where the understanding of vulnerable unemployed citizens is being constructed through the social workers and citizens' negotiation and definition practices in the individual consultations that address the citizen's opportunities for employment (job consultations).

Based on Erving Goffman's role theory, it is investigated how vulnerable activity ready citizens in job consultations are being constructed as a particular type of client, influenced by the social workers' expectations and demands to the citizens and how the citizens fulfill this role.

A qualitative case study is used as a research design. The case arises from job consultations in a specially organized effort in a larger Danish municipality, where job consultations are carried out at the same location where citizens receive opioid substitution treatment due to an addiction of an opioid such as heroin.
The empirical data used in this thesis is collected through observations of four job consultations between citizens in substitution treatment and the social workers, with the purpose of providing insight into the interaction and the process through which the citizens are being constructed as a particular type of client. To provide an in-depth understanding, seven qualitative, individual interviews have been conducted with the three social workers and the four citizens who participated in the observed job consultations.

Through identifying three characteristics that together cover an institutional idea of ​​what is considered appropriate in the client role, it is concluded that the citizens during the job consultations are being constructed as vulnerable, will-possessing and systematic-adaptive clients; the citizens are expected to be both vulnerable, but also to show willingness to adapt to the system's opportunities for assistance directed at the labour market.
It is concluded that being vulnerable is a characteristic of the client role, which the citizen can both acknowledge and distract from during the job consultation. This is because vulnerability is a characteristic that is accepted, but not normatively pursued during the job consultation.
On the other hand, it is concluded that willingness and system adaptation are characteristics that the social workers seek to convey in the interaction and which the citizens are expected to adopt and adapt.
LanguageDanish
Publication date29 May 2018
Number of pages115
ID: 280052278