The Implementation of Work Conditionality : A Swiss Case Study
The standards promulgated by the state are implemented by agents, whose power is far from insignificant. Drawing from researches on street-level bureaucracy (Lipsky, 1980; Tabin & Perriard, 2016), this communication is based on 77 semi-directive interviews conducted with 74 social workers between 2011 and 2014. Our analysis of the social workers’ discourse shows that the institutionalized model (Fraser, 2005) underlying social investment policies clashes with other normative models linked for instance with age, race or sex relations. The implementation of work conditionally is thus not always the case, or can belong to a more or less distant future. And activation takes on different meanings when professionals are dealing with young people or with mothers. In some cases, the implementation of social investment policies challenges even the idea that employment is better than state dependency. Finally, the results of our study demonstrate that sociologists should always reflect on the implementation of social policies for a better understanding of what they are.
This research has been conducted with the National Center of Competence in Research LIVES (www.lives-nccr.ch).