Nanna Mik-Meyer
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Powerful encounters as seen from an interactionist perspective
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This chapter introduces symbolic interactionism, that is, the interactionist approach to studying the in-between as suggested by Bartels. At the heart of symbolic interactionism lie the practices and actions between people and how these can be regarded as the effects of different ideas and theories within societies and organisations. The chapter discusses empirical studies of the encounter between welfare workers and citizens, with particular attention to their respective roles, their relationship with one another and the findings of the selected studies. The concept of institutional selves reflects ideas integrated in (physical) organisations where the encounter takes place and more general ideas in society about the troubles at hand. The chapter emphasises the soft power at play between citizens and welfare workers and exemplifies how the structural elements and agency of the two parties frame the encounter.

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The power of citizens and professionals in welfare encounters

The influence of bureaucracy, market and psychology


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