Malmö University Publications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Otydlighetens betydelse: de regionala utvecklingsledarna och evidensbaserad praktik inom den sociala barn- och ungdomsvården
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA). Malmö University, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2296-7672
2019 (Swedish)In: Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, ISSN 1104-1420, E-ISSN 2003-5624, Vol. 26, no 2, p. 153-172Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The significance of ambiguity – Evidence-based practice in social service with children and youth. Evidence-based practice (EBP) has gained a central position as a model of knowledge for social work in the public sector. In the Swedish Government Report about knowledge-based social work from 2008, EBP is described as a useful way of structuring the social services on a scientific basis (SOU 2008:18). Following on this, and in order to establish EBP in social work practice, between 2009 and 2016, there were annual agreements between the government and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR). As defined by the annual agreements, a national network of Regional Development Leaders (regionala utvecklingsledare) was given the task of producing regional plans of action for the establishment of EBP in the municipalities. The article examines how the Regional Development Leaders in the so-called Children and Youth Investment (Barn- och ungasatsningen) interpret and implement EBP as a model in public social work. The study is based on interviews with 22 out of the 37 Regional Development Leaders that were part of the Children and Youth Investment in 2016. Ernesto Laclau’s theory of empty signifier serves as an analytical tool. The analysis shows that the ambiguity surrounding EBP creates discretion for the Regional Development Leaders. This discretion allows them to use EBP as a ”signifier without a signified”; a model that they can fill with different meanings depending on purpose and context. In that perspective, EBP appears as a floating term and can be characterized as an empty signifier. One of the main results stresses the fact that the Regional Development Leaders describe EBP as a model of governance rather than a model of knowledge. Despite its ambiguity, EBP fills a significant function for the development of knowledge-based social work practices in the public sector.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Förbundet för forskning i socialt arbete, FORSA , 2019. Vol. 26, no 2, p. 153-172
Keywords [sv]
evidensbaserad praktik, socialt arbete, empty signifier, socialtjänsten, regionala utvecklingsledare
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-4953DOI: 10.3384/SVT.2019.26.2.3084Local ID: 30365OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-4953DiVA, id: diva2:1401788
Available from: 2020-02-28 Created: 2020-02-28 Last updated: 2023-03-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Statlig kunskapsstyrning: regionala utvecklingsledare i styrning av socialtjänstens barnavård
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Statlig kunskapsstyrning: regionala utvecklingsledare i styrning av socialtjänstens barnavård
2023 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Consisting of four scientific papers and a comprehensive overview, this thesis concerns governance in and of social work. More specifically, it studies governing of knowledge in social service with children and youth. Through the growing focus on evidence-based social work since 2000, state governing of knowledge has become an increasingly established concept. In general terms, it refers to the national level’s efforts to govern based on knowledge in order to solve social services’ ”knowledge problems”. However, there are more aspects to state governing of knowledge. Thus, this thesis focuses on the doing of such governance – a praxis that involves actors at national, regional and municipal levels. Here, regional development leaders in social service with children and youth are one of the central actors; consequently, they constitute the empirical focus of the thesis when analysing the doing of governing of knowledge. 

The aim of this study is to describe and analyse how state governing of knowledge is conducted by examining how development leaders perceive and concretise the task of governing of knowledge in social service’s childcare. The overall questions are as follows: 1. How do regional development leaders in social service with children and youth perceive and interpret the EBP knowledge model in relation to their task? 2. How do regional development leaders act when they govern with knowledge within social service? 3. What characterizes the professional practice of regional development leaders, and how can we understand it in the context of governance?

Data have been collected through individual interviews and focus group interviews with 28 regional development leaders. In addition, the empirical material includes a field study with participant observations during network meetings and a questionnaire survey with 29 development leaders. The data have been analysed from three theoretical perspectives: governance as floating signifier, governance as joint doing, and governance as a relational exercise of power. The first perspective, governance as floating signifier, implies that governance changes over time, both in terms of how it can be understood and how it is applied. The second perspective, governance as joint doing, refers to governance as it takes place in and through interaction between actors involved in governance. Here, we can note a mutual influence between those who govern and those who are being governed. The third perspective focuses on power as a central element of governance and how it is constructed in a relational interaction between actors who are part of a common context of governance.

The analysis shows that the ambiguity that surrounds state governing of knowledge creates a discretion for interpretation and action. This gives development leaders the opportunity to saturate their work with their own content, depending on the purpose and context, which is very much about developing and organising social work in social services. Working with development, change and innovation is thus of importance in the governing of knowledge of social service with children and youth. In carrying out their tasks, development leaders combine hierarchical top-down management with horizontal, relational management. This becomes evident in the development leaders’ choice of governance practices, which involves networking with managers in senior positions who have a mandate to make decisions. The interaction between development leaders and managers is characterised by mutual influence, which results in development leaders sacrificing certain areas of their mission in favour of activities that managers consider important to implement. Such governance praxis is likely to have implications for the outcomes of governing of knowledge. The establishment of the development leader as an actor in the governing of social work can be understood as a reaction to changing institutional conditions for the management and organisation of the public sector. The work of development leaders is characterised by a hybridised professional practice: they integrate seemingly incompatible logics and thus have to manage different tensions in a professional role, which is probably a prerequisite for navigating complex governing tasks. 

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Malmö University Press, 2023. p. 106
Series
Malmö University Health and Society Dissertations, ISSN 1653-5383 ; 2023:1
Keywords
Kunskapsstyrning, socialt arbete, evidensbaserad praktik, regionala utvecklingsledare, socialtjänstens barnavård
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Health and society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-58575 (URN)10.24834/isbn.9789178773428 (DOI)978-91-7877-343-5 (ISBN)978-91-7877-342-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-03-31, NI:C0E11, Niagara, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, Malmö, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Due to copyright reasons, the articles are not included in the fulltext online.

Paper IV in dissertation as manuscript.

Available from: 2023-03-07 Created: 2023-03-07 Last updated: 2024-03-07Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(115 kB)427 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 115 kBChecksum SHA-512
b00a158dea00c53550fac01f1228782ecbbd4f5851d8cffed4c051741f5eda6c26bb9b41c5e0acb2caaf0414639184f063aa628823bb8fb98f4bc47cf6629240
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Authority records

Righard, Erica

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Righard, Erica
By organisation
Department of Social Work (SA)Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM)
In the same journal
Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift
Social Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 430 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

doi
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
urn-nbn
Total: 906 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf