1 Department of Political Science, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Göteborgs Universitet3 Department of Political Science, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
It has been argued that the Scandinavian welfare states have been resilient to trends of globalization and fiscal crises, and that the global pressure of neoliberalism has led to a partial retrenchment rather than a restructuring during last decades. This conclusion is, however, drawn without closer attention to the problem of implementation and the fact that many welfare state programs receive their ultimate content through street level contact between citizens and street-level bureaucrats. In this article, we address the question of whether there is an impact of neoliberal trends in Scandinavian social policies when paying attention to the everyday work of street level bureaucrats or whether the universal welfare regime ’protects’ against a neoliberal impact. Comparing conclusions on SLBs’ discretionary styles in sickness-benefits casework from two separate studies situated in the Scandinavian countries, we find similar styles and ways of reasoning, which can partly be ascribed to neo-liberal ways of reasoning, partly to neo-weberianism. In the planned re-analysis of our data through a systematic qualitative coding strategy, we will shed more light on how they use strategies to adapt, oppose, or cope with conflicting policy goals and citizen preferences.