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Four features of cooptation: User involvement as sanctioned resistance
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Centre for Municipality Studies – CKS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0340-1358
2018 (English)In: Nordisk välfärdsforskning | Nordic Welfare Research, ISSN 1799-4691, E-ISSN 2464-4161, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 7-17Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article draws on a three-year ethnographical study investigating how “service user involvement” was constructed (i.e. understood, implemented, and performed) within two large Swedish welfare organizations – a county-based psychiatric organization and a municipal social service administration (see Eriksson 2015). When analyzing the interactions between the user movement and the welfare organizations, a relationship much like cooptation (Selznick, 1949) was revealed. The article outlines four characteristic features of this coopting relationship: (1) The bonding between the parties, incorporating the user representatives in the organizations and their institutional logic; (2) The organizational framing of the user involvement activities; setting the initial rule for how to act/speak, where to act/speak, when to act/speak as well as what to speak about; (3) The organizational control exercised as the activities took place, directing the discussions and interaction to align with the interests of the welfare organizations; and (4) The resistance exercised by user representatives, enabling them to influence the organizations and contribute to change. Together, these four features disclose service user involvement as a “sanctioned resistance”: At the same time as the institutionalized service user involvement controls and constrains the way service user representatives act and pursue their goals, it gives them a possibility to challenge the welfare organizations from within. However, the influence that is permitted can be understood as adjustments within the prevailing institutional logic, rather than changes that transformed the organizations in more profound ways.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Universitetsforlaget, 2018. Vol. 3, no 1, p. 7-17
Keywords [en]
user involvement, cooptation, resistance, welfare, social work
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-152020DOI: 10.18261/issn.2464-4161-2018-01-02OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-152020DiVA, id: diva2:1256249
Available from: 2018-10-16 Created: 2018-10-16 Last updated: 2018-11-20Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, Erik

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Centre for Municipality Studies – CKSFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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