How does the Italian system for asylum seekers and refugees work? How do the intrinsic characteristics of the system affect the (new) professional figures involved? Are there any hidden grammars of action arising from their everyday practices? This research subsumes and tries to move beyond the questions raised above. The purpose of the research is to reflect on the role social workers have as street-level bureaucrats, considering their discretional margin of actions and their consequences. Before proceeding to a more detailed analysis of the role of social workers as street-level bureaucrats, the article highlights the historical and political turning points of the Italian reception systems and clarifies in what sense the immigration issue has become a local matter. This study adopts a qualitative research design, comprising an ethnographic field study, 55 interviews with social workers, and two focus-groups with holders of international protection status. While working in a Temporary Reception Center, the researcher has observed how the different actions, ideals, and roles of social workers significantly influence and shape the experiences of asylum seekers. The hypothesis is that while local authorities have the greater discretion in reception system choices, a new form of street-level bureaucracy is developing through everyday practices of social workers.

The Emergence of New Street-Level Bureaucracies in Italy’s Asylum Reception System

Giacomelli, Elena
2021

Abstract

How does the Italian system for asylum seekers and refugees work? How do the intrinsic characteristics of the system affect the (new) professional figures involved? Are there any hidden grammars of action arising from their everyday practices? This research subsumes and tries to move beyond the questions raised above. The purpose of the research is to reflect on the role social workers have as street-level bureaucrats, considering their discretional margin of actions and their consequences. Before proceeding to a more detailed analysis of the role of social workers as street-level bureaucrats, the article highlights the historical and political turning points of the Italian reception systems and clarifies in what sense the immigration issue has become a local matter. This study adopts a qualitative research design, comprising an ethnographic field study, 55 interviews with social workers, and two focus-groups with holders of international protection status. While working in a Temporary Reception Center, the researcher has observed how the different actions, ideals, and roles of social workers significantly influence and shape the experiences of asylum seekers. The hypothesis is that while local authorities have the greater discretion in reception system choices, a new form of street-level bureaucracy is developing through everyday practices of social workers.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/828200
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