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Provision of social assistance
The case of the two municipalities of Estonia

Dagmar Kutsar and Avo Trumm

Fafo-paper 2003:01

Web edition

The whole world is getting more and more complicated, uncovering new social problems and risks for survival for a mankind. As a response to these changes, the context of social work is also in a rapid change. But one fundamental element remains the same, namely that social work is located within some of the most complicated arenas of human experience, packed with social difficulties and impacting different individuals, households or social groups with different severity.

The current study is a part of the research project „Social policy and social exclusion in the Baltic countries“ which is carried out in co-operation between the University of Tartu and Fafo and evaluates administrative capacity of social assistance provision with special focus on a local municipality and social worker as the main implementation actors of social assistance. Empirical material of the study is collected from qualitative interviews with insiders of the system of social assistance – social workers and decision-markers from the local and central governments.

The authors conclude that decline of collective solidarity, devaluation of altruistic values, hegemony of individualistic pragmatism, weakened informal social control – forces social workers to take on new functions, ensuring social justice and moral order in the community, and being promoters of a new type social capital they contribute to social cohesion.

Utgitt: 2003 Id-nr.: 699