The Paradoxical Reality of Welfare Professionals

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Welfare professionals work with a paradoxical reality. They should treat all citizens the same, and at the same time they must act responsively in individual cases when appropriate. Based on in-depth interviews with welfare professionals, this chapter provides a picture of the daily activities of welfare professionals and their interactions with citizens in the Dutch social security context. Based on a typology of enforcement styles, the chapter shows variation between and within agencies in how welfare professionals interpret the rules and how they respond to rule violations. It shows that, despite stricter legislation, welfare professionals are still able to leave their mark on enforcement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Socio-Legal Studies
EditorsStine Piilgaard Porner Nielsen, Ole Hammerslev
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-46636-6
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePalgrave Socio-Legal Studies
VolumePart F2018
ISSN (Print)2947-9274
ISSN (Electronic)2947-9282


  • Employee insurance agencies
  • Enforcement style
  • Municipalities
  • Response to rule violation
  • Rule interpretation
  • Social security legislation
  • Street-level bureaucrats
  • Welfare professionals


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