Exposed to user involvement: Active citizen or ‘practical pig’? User perspectives on involvement in social work

  • Maja Müller
Keywords: User involvement, co-production, participation, vulnerability, social work, empowerment.

Abstract

Involvement of citizens in the development of welfare services is today a prioritizedapproach in public management. From a citizen perspective, this articleunfolds involvement as a phenome in co-production with vulnerable citizensin social work. With this perspective, the article contributes the existingliterature with a varied understanding of citizen involvement from a bottomupperspective. From a theoretical typology of involvement, this study takesempirically departure in three cases at drop-in centres that represent differentdegrees of user involvement and different user roles. The analysis identifiesinvolvement as three dimensions: Influence, Social participation and Practicalinvolvement. These three dimensions describe and characterize the citizens’experiences and what they gain by participating. The analysis points out, thatit is not the type of involvement that is most important, but the vulnerabilityof the participants that decide whether they experience and prioritize to getinfluence, develop social relations or produce practical assignments and developpractical capabilities. In the concluding discussion, it is discussed howthe understanding of the citizens’ vulnerability and respect of their perspectivesin social work practice can contribute to a differentiated type of involvementthat in a higher degree will ensure inclusion of vulnerable citizens inthe development of social initiatives and coproduction and network society.

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Published
2020-02-11
Section
Artikler