Kvalitetskonstruktioner: Konsekvenser for det socialpædagogiske arbejde

Publikation: Ph.d. afhandling/ kandidat/ diplomMasterForskning


Quality constructions
- Consequences for the social-pedagogy work.

Quality has become an important factor when solving problems in the public sector, and it seems
constructed as an obvious answer to society's challenges (Dahler-Larsen 2008). The Western World
has experienced a managerialism of the public sector and gone from "...trust to accountability"
(Sommerfeld 2005). This is also evident in the media, they often portrays cases of bad treatment
towards institutionalised citizens. It has become a problem to legitimise among other things public
institutions (Sommerfeld 2005).

This project will show through document analysis how accreditation models, quality models and
narratives from front-line social workers are given special meaning. The project will also point to
possible consequences for the social-pedagogy work. Social-pedagogy springs from very different
traditions throughout Europe (Madsen 2005). In this project the social-pedagogy area will be seen
as an area of practice, limited to the places where social-pedagogy has traditionally been practised
in Denmark. Examples of this could be institutions for adult mentally disabled or institutions for
removed children.

The analysis will use a power and discourse theoretical approach that can be seen as belonging to a
constructivist tradition. The idea being that all social circumstances are produced in a discourse way
and that reality is created and understood through language. Physical and social phenomenons must
be understood with the meaning we embed into them and reality is communicated in a discourse
way (Jørgensen & Phillips 2006). Objectivity can therefor be seen as a myth and there are no free
research or research without an agenda as Foucault mentions (Foucault 2006). An examination of
quality i a discourse framework must ask how quality becomes embedded with meaning and how
different patterns of power shows through local confrontations. The way the tactical and productive
part of the discourse manifests, must be the focus of the analysis (Foucault 2006).
The first part of the analysis describes how accreditation and quality models constructs the notion of
quality. This content becomes so saturated that it can virtually mean anything and all things
whereby it looses its meaning again. The purpose of the quality model is for example both
development of social-pedagogy, efficient use of resources and inclusion of user and next of kin.
The analysis shows that aspects of society makes it necessity to construct accreditation and quality
models as tools to further development of quality. The attempt of the models to make the notion of
quality singular is explained with the possibility of quality assurance and the possibility of
comparing quality with other institutions. This will however presuppose a standardisation and a
great use of knowledge produced locally. The consequences of this could be more focus on
documentation rather than the social-pedagogy work, increased monitoring and control plus more
measurement and unification.

The second part of the analysis describes how front-line workers experience the notion of quality
based on narratives from their social-pedagogy work. Quality is for instance described as the
development of good cooperation with parents, changes in the life of a mentally disabled from
misthriving to a greater joy of life and finally the recognition of children with special needs. The
stories all show how the front-line workers sees themselves as contributors to the development of
quality and how their understanding of the challenges and solutions becomes the focus for their
social-pedagogy work. The stories adds roles where the institutionalised citizen can be seen as "the
weak" who must be helped by the "responsible workers". The consequences of this can be a lack of
understanding of other challenges and solutions and the risk of keeping the institutionalised citizen
in a pattern weakness and thus depriving them of influence on their own life. On the other hand the
consequence can also be a much needed help and support to some of society's most exposed citizens.
The notion of quality constructions gets an actual meaning in social-pedagogy work. The display of
social circumstances and consequences is in keeping with purpose of the discourse analysis (Hansen
StatusUdgivet - 2011


  • pædagogisk arbejde