• Bianca Lucia Daugaard
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis is about street-level bureaucrats and their legal consciousness regarding legal certainty in
co-creation with citizens in socially vulnerable positions. The thesis examines how the legal
consciousness of the street-level bureaucrats affects citizens legal certainty in co-creation.
The overall purpose of the study is to delve into the role of law in social work in relation to, how the
law is understood, experiences and accessed by the street-level bureaucrats in their everyday practice.
The motivation for the study is research, that shows, that co-creation tends to have an exclusionary
side for the most vulnerable citizens. Research supported by studies, where citizens describe, how
they do not feel sufficiently heard or involved in the municipals management of their social case.
Results that stand in contrast to both the professional ethics of social work, where the dignity of the
individual is established, and the rules and principles of current legal certainty.
The thesis contributes to the research field with analyses of the social construction of the legal
consciousness, when the street-level bureaucrats interact with their social environment, limited to the
street-level bureaucrats’ workplace and the citizens in socially vulnerable positions. And the streetlevel bureaucrats practice as a result of their legal consciousness. The thesis contributes with an
understanding of the relationship between street-level bureaucrats and law, and how the
understanding affects the street-level bureaucrats’ practice.
The thesis finds that street-level bureaucrats legal consciousness consists of many elements, that
together forms the consciousness. Elements in the form af the street-level bureaucrats professional
foundation and contextual conditions and discourses, hereby the law, that the street-level bureaucrats
use to construct, justify, and explain their legal consciousness.
The street-level bureaucrats finds that their professionalism contributes to greater legal certainty. The
professionalism contributes with perspectives on social problems and social work as a solution to
these. In this way, street-level bureaucrats supplement the law and compensate the law for the
shortcomings, they perceive it to have.
In co-creation the street-level bureaucrats approach the citizens legal certainty as an arena, where the
law is and non-is natural, inevitable, and determinant. It creates a special context for co-creation,
where legal certainty both is constant and present, while at the same time being constructed in the
situation. What is the citizen´s legal certainty in actual form is constructed in the current meeting
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between the street-level bureaucrat and the citizen. What is legal certainty for the citizen cannot be
determined in advance but must depend on the special circumstances of the individual case.
The thesis concludes that street-level bureaucrats legal consciousness contributes to the fact, that they
meet citizens with a predetermined division of roles between them and the citizens. The citizens are
seen as dependent on the street-level bureaucrats and their legal and professional actions to secure
their legal certainty. A distribution of roles in which a hidden unequal distribution of power is
embedded. The division of roles means that the street-level bureaucrats have the power to define what
can be the content of the meetings and thereby what is co-created about and how it is co-created.
The thesis also concludes that in the study care the street-level bureaucrats reduce themselves and the
citizens to informants instead of partners/co-producers. There is a risk that the course that is agreed
is more of an activity for the citizens than with the citizens. A result that does not align with either
the legal certainty rules of law on involvement and influence or the intention of co-creation. The
outcome may be that citizen feel that they are being acted on.
The study is conducted as a qualitative case study in a national political project regarding co-creation
in a danish municipal, where participant observation and semi-structured interviews have been used
to collect empirical data. For the interpretation of the empirical data the thesis uses, three perspectives
on legal consciousness from theory on legal consciousness, and considerations on public welfare
administration and practice and the modern law with its parallel programs of law creating a complex
legal framework from the practitioners of the law with a range of considerations expected to be met.
Keywords: legal consciousness, street-level bureaucrats, legal certainty, citizens in socially
vulnerable positions, co-creation, public welfare administration and practice.
Publication date30 Nov 2022
Number of pages77
ID: 503288217