Monday, 12th May 2014
Tuesday, 13th May 2014
Major changes have occurred in Europe within the past decade in the field of employment and social cohesion policies. Indeed, the high unemployment rates that currently characterize most European countries have shifted the focus on labour market integration policies. Activation policies have been promoted and implemented to different extents in various countries. One of the key features of this trend is a call for increasing linkages between formerly separated policy sectors such as health, social assistance, immigration, vocational training, and childcare (Barbier, 2000). Leading in some cases, to a reshuffling of the dedicated public policies (Barbier, 2006; Eichhorst & Konle-Seidl, 2008).
New forms of governance and new policies are challenging former delivery systems. This promotion of cross-sectoriality not only affects the development of the policies, but it also impacts in service delivery systems, and hence, on street level bureaucrats’ work. Indeed, street level bureaucrats have to deal with new governance schemes, new instruments and new paradigms. Hence, their practises are confronted with new models that challenge their former ways of working. Thus, we argue that in a context where cross-sectoriality is acknowledged by national actors and presented as a solution to complex societal issues, street level bureaucrats represents a level where we can clearly grasp the challenges raised by this promoted trend. The analysis of the delivery of services can shed light on the different obstacles to and limits of integrated activation policies, as it shows how such policies are implemented on the field (Lipsky, 1980; Wildavsky & Pressman, 1984). Hence, studying public policy ‘in practice’ should enable us to get a comprehensive understanding of this integrated approach of welfare policies.
Addressing service delivery systems also questions street level bureaucrats’ discretion with regards to nationally (and/or regionally and locally) developed policies. Are integrating policies taking place in practice? What challenges do actors (e.g. street level bureaucrats, organisations/agencies, and/or governmental levels) encounter in the implementation of such integrated policies? What are the organisational methods developed to implement cross-sectorial policies? How are the new cooperation schemes and types of regulations interpreted by street level bureaucrats? Do they facilitate or hinder their daily work with the unemployed? What room for manoeuvre do they have? And to what extent can they play a policymaking role with regards to integrated labour market policies? We argue that ‘passing through’ territorial levels (multi-level governance) in charge of the implementation represents a first step of adaptation, and a second step of adaptation consists on the process of delivery, which street level bureaucrats are in charge of. Indeed, as service providers, they are the last stage of the actors’ involved in the making of the public policy. Yet, where a strict executive function could be expected, the literature on street level bureaucracy has put the emphasis on the policy-making role.
This early-stage researchers conference has the objective to shed the light on the challenges of implementing integrated activation policies in Europe.
We are interested in: papers that address the discretion that street level bureaucrats have (to what extent can street level bureaucrats adapt / interpret policies? how do they use their discretion?); methodological papers (how to analyse cross-sectorial policies and their implementation?); and papers that investigate the implementation, and/or challenges of implementing, such integrated services. We invite contributions of early-stage researchers (e.g. doctoral students) from political science, sociology, anthropology and related fields.
Early-Stage Researchers will have the opportunity to present their paper and have it commented by Senior Researchers in the field of employment and social policies.
Key Speakers and commentators:
· Christina Garsten, professor of Social Anthropology at SCORE (Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research).
· Vincent Dubois, sociologist and political scientist. Professor at the University of Strasbourg (Institute for Political Studies).
· Thierry Berthet, CNRS Research Director, Emile Durkheim Center, Science Po Bordeaux.
· Deborah Rice, senior researcher at Oldenburg University, Germany.
· Colin Lindsay, senior lecture at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK.
The deadline for applications is February 15, 2014. Applications need to be sent via email to all conference organisers (contact details see below). Applications should entail a short abstract of the proposed paper (max. 400 words), as well as authors’ name, profession/career stage and affiliation.
A limited number of travel grants are available for participants whose institution does not provide such support. Please indicate in your application whether you want to apply for a grant (giving an approximate figure of the expected costs of your trip).
Applicants will be informed about acceptance or rejection by the end of February. In the case of acceptance, papers need to be submitted by May 1, 2014.
- Clara Bourgeois, The Emile Durkheim Centre for Comparative Political Sciences and Sociology, Sciences Po Bordeaux, France. Email: bourgeoisclar[at]hotmail.com,
- Katharina Zimmermann, University of Oldenburg, Germany. Email: k.zimmermann[at]uni-oldenburg.de.
- Margherita Bussi, European Trade Union Institute – ETUI, Brussels and University of Geneva, Switzerland. Email: mbuss[at]etui.org
- Vanesa Fuertes, Employment Research Institute, Business School, Edinburgh Napier University. Email:v.fuerte[at]napier.ac.uk
Conference sponsored by:
Edinburgh Napier University, Business School; Centre Emile Durkheim- Bordeaux France