Upcoming event

Wednesday, 22 January 2020


Maternalism and the morality of exchange in implementation of mandatory activation: A case from Norway

Room 1.23, Business School

Speaker: Anne Leseth – Associate Professor. Centre for the Study of Professions. Oslo Metropolitan University

Overview: Since January 2017, all Norwegian social assistance benefit recipients under the age of 30 have been required to participate in some sort of work-related activation, so-called mandatory activation. Mandatory activation is arguably a paternalistic measure based on a principle of reciprocity. Drawing on qualitative interviews with frontline workers as well as young benefit recipients at local offices in the Norwegian Public Welfare Service (NAV), this lecture presents some findings on how mandatory activation is implemented in a context of a professionalized social welfare service, and how it is experiences by the target group. Drawing on anthropological and philosophical perspectives, such as Laura Specker Sullivan’s concepts of maternalism as well as Jonatan Parry and Maurice Blochs’ concept of morality of exchange, I would like to explore mandatory activation as a complex, interpersonal and moral practice that takes place in the encounter between frontline workers’ and benefit recipients.

Anne researches and teaches PhD students at the Center for the Study of Professions, at Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway. Anne has a research interest in frontline workers as performers of politics and as normalizing agents in the welfare state. She has carried out research on professional practice in multicultural contexts, as for example in the field of transcultural psychiatry, nursing and physical education teacher education. With a background in social anthropology and fieldwork in non-western contexts, Anne aims at contributing with anthropological theoretical perspective within studies of professions. She is currently engaged with working on results from the research project on New Challenges for Social Security. What Direction for the Nordic Model? Social Security in Context. In this project she has carried out qualitative research on frontline workers as well as social benefit recipients and their experiences with mandatory activation. In 2020 she will participate in a research project on ‘Mobility through education for adolescents from low-income families’ as well as on a research review on young adults not in education, work or training. Before joining the Center for the Study of Profession, Anne was an associate professor at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo.

Event contact Katy Jones · katy.jones@mmu.ac.uk

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