The social issue, the State and the redeeming myth of local action: reasonings and tensions between policies and social work

This article analyzes and confronts different reasonings and tensions which characterize the social issue in contemporary societies. In theoretical terms, it discusses the transformations of the State, the decentralization and contractual policies, and the emergence of a reticular ideology (the network and partnership organisation), taking into account their influence on the creation of a type of redeeming myth of local action. It also presents the results of an ethnographic investigation carried out in a rural municipality in the North of Portugal, which reveals some current tensions facing policies and social work, namely between the societal and structural nature of problems and the punctual and individualised professional interventions that frequently show dilemmas between care reasonings and social control.

social issue; State; local action; network; social work and policies

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