The Relational Nordic Welfare State
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The Relational Nordic Welfare State

Between Utopia and Ideology

Edited by Sakari Hänninen, Kirsi-Marja Lehtelä and Paula Saikkonen

The success of the Nordic welfare state is well known, but the key drivers of its remarkable expansion are not. This book explores the relationships between citizens that constitute the normative groundwork of Nordic societies, arguing that the quality of relations steers welfare development.
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Chapter 9: Social sustainability and the organization of social work from the perspective of Finnish adult social work practitioners

Minna Kivipelto, Merita Jokela, Sanna Blomgren and Marek Perlinski


The chapter by Minna Kivipelto, Merita Jokela, Sanna Blomgren and Marek Perlinski asks how the lives and welfare of the most vulnerable people are managed by the state at different administrative levels and in cooperation with other agencies. The chapter examines professional social work in Finland by means of the domain theory. Although examples are derived from the Finnish social welfare agencies and analysed with a theory originally developed to understand Swedish social welfare services, the analysis is contextualized, and the results are evaluated more generally in the Nordic setting. Despite their shared values and common traits, Sweden and Finland also display significant differences, for instance, regarding the professional status of social work, as well as differences in tasks and governance. The aim of this study is to help understand social sustainability as the security and welfare of all citizens from a relational perspective.

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