The Ground Floor of Government in Context
Edited by Peter Hupe
Chapter 13: Street-level bureaucracy research and professionalism
To fully understand the work of street-level bureaucrats we must pay attention not only to the political and bureaucratic context but also the cultural and social context of citizen encounters, as well as the context of professional groups and professionalism. Therefore, the chapter presents and discusses insights from the literature on professionalism that can be helpful for street-level bureaucracy research. Three traditions from the literature on professionalism are highlighted: (a) a tradition focusing on the normative function of professionalism; (b) a tradition focusing on professional knowledge; and (c) a tradition focusing on professionalism as the institutionalization of power. Also, some integrated perspectives on professionalism are presented. Examples from research using the notion of professionalism are discussed to shed light on what goes on at the street level.
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