Citizen involement in Street-level bureaucracy

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Malang Yaseen
  • Hans Arni Saltá
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis explores how street-level bureaucrats involve unemployed citizens, with complex social problems who receive social welfare, in their case processing in the street-level bureaucracy. In this regard, we will be comparing how street-level bureaucrats involve unemployed citizens with complex social problems on social welfare in Denmark and Faroe Islands by using the methodology of case study. Our overall methodology is qualitative in the form of qualitative interviews, where we have interviewed street level-bureaucrats or social workers from two Danish job centers representing case Denmark, and social workers from three different places from Faroe Islands representing case Faroe Island.

In this thesis, we will be mainly investigating how street-level bureaucrats themselves understand or define citizen involvement in the case process, and how they practice citizen involvement in the case process in the street level bureaucracy. Furthermore, we will be examining how organizational frameworks surrounding this street-level bureaucracy affect or influence citizen involvement.

To understand the phenomenon of citizen involvement or participation, we will be using ladders of participation by Arnstein which sheds light on the degree of citizen participation from nonparticipation and tokenism to citizen power. Additionally, in combination with Monrad and Danneris’ understanding of strong and weak citizen involvement, we will be assessing whether there is a strong or weak degree of citizen involvement in our two cases. We will be further looking into what factors and conditions contribute to weak and strong citizen involvement in the case processes in our two cases.

Likewise, we will be using Monrad & Danneris’ focus on four theoretical perspectives of citizen participation in the street-level bureaucracy in order to understand how street-level bureaucrats or social workers themselves understand and practice citizen participation. These four theoretical perspectives are: democratic, consumerist, co-productive and self-reflective.

In order to understand the organizational aspects of these street-level organizations regarding citizen participation or involvement, we will be using primarily Lipsky’s theoretical framework about street-level bureaucracy. We will be utilizing a broad range of Lipsky theoretical framework and theoretical concepts about street-level bureaucracy and street-level bureaucrats such as routinization, discretion, simplification, work bias, cross pressure etc. Furthermore, coupled with Lipsky’s theories, we will be using Brookins theoretical framework about street-level organizations and their complexities which can affect citizen involvement in street-level organizations.
Publication date31 Jul 2023
Number of pages89
ID: 544408534