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Personal stories of public relations: A case study of how marginalized citizens experience their moral-economic relationship to a Scandinavian welfare state

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This paper investigates how the socially marginalized population of substance abusing citizens experience rights and obligations in relation to the welfare state of Denmark. Approaching welfare state encounters as manifestations of unfolding citizen-state relationships the paper makes a contribution to the research on reciprocity in welfare states by proposing a novel typology that distinguish between three contrasting subjective experiences of citizen-state relationships among marginalized individuals. Empirically, the paper utilizes qualitative interviews conducted in 2016 with 106 substance-abusing Danish citizens and through their narratives of welfare state encounters the paper analyzes experiences of citizen-state relationships with an emphasis on moral-economic aspects. Preliminary results indicate that some substance-abusing citizens describe experiencing themselves as ‘a liability’ to society (they tell self-blaming stories of being someone who doesn’t contribute and remain hopelessly indebted to society), while other substance-abusing citizens tell stories emphasizing how they have been ‘let down’ by society (stories of being someone who needs help and suffers because society fails to respond appropriately). Still other substance-abusing citizens tell stories of themselves as ‘worthy recipients’ of help from society (stories of having legitimate needs and getting appropriate resources in response). This paper will demonstrate how these different types of personal stories outlining moral-economic aspects of substance-abusing citizens’ relations to the welfare state reflect in different normative horizons for the everyday enactment of citizenship which in turn manifest in different templates for what individuals expect in the future and what they plan to do prospectively.
Project manager Ditte Andersen, SFI
Project period 03.01.2017 - 01.12.2019
Status In progress
keywords Addicts, Homelessness, Civic participation, Inequality
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Ditte Andersen

Contact person
DIRECT +45 33 48 09 13 EMAIL den@vive.dk

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