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Investigating Welfare Regime Typologies: Paradoxes, Pitfalls and Potentialities in Comparative Social Work Research

  • Lennart Nygren (a1), Sue White (a2) and Ingunn T. Ellingsen (a3)
Abstract

The article reviews the relevance and methodological utility of welfare regime typologies for the study of professional sense-making in social work with families. Focus groups were carried out with social workers in European and Latin American countries representing four different policy regimes. A case vignette was used to elicit social workers’ descriptions of how welfare policy may influence how they understand their work task and the notion of family. The research team identified methodological challenges of general relevance in similar policy-practice studies. There were paradoxes in terms of homogeneity on the regime level vs. heterogeneity within and between national services. Pitfalls appeared in the selection of regime-typical cases, language/cultural barriers, and in deciding organisational level. The article shows that welfare typologies have potentialities in that they may provide a helpful analytical basis for theoretical and practical reasoning in which syntheses between policy and practice can be explored, discussed and challenged.

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References
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Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
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