Новая идеология и практика социальных услуг: оценка эффективности в контексте либерализации социальной политики
The paper focuses on the processes of social policy reforms, which are determined by the intentions of neoliberal ideologists to rationalize the relationships between the citizens and state. A trend towards rationalization was partially expressed by the new legislationon reorganization of responsibilities between the levels of authorities and monetization of privileges. Another aspect of these quite contradictory challenges is modernization of social services system. During the last few years some experiments took place in this area, in that number those supported by the international foundations and expert groups. Such innovations are directed towards the increase of effectiveness of social services as well as their managerialization. New rationalized standards often encounter the existing practices of performance and evaluation of quality and effectiveness of social services, as well as motivation of staff and methods of management, including managing quality of social services.
In this chapter we aim to examine the discourses created and reproduced through the interaction between single mothers and representatives of social services. The analysis is based on twenty-six interviews with single mothers and six interviews with social workers conducted in 2001–2003, and six interviews with single mothers and three with social workers conducted in 2006 in the Saratov region in Russia, as well as official documents and the publications of other researchers. In our interviews with mothers, we focused on the issues of familial well-being and interactions with social services, while social workers were asked to discuss their experiences with clients. A short overview of statistics and social policy terminology prefaces a discussion of how mother-headed families and state social policy interrelate and affect each other. The subsequent sections contain analysis of the interviews with single mothers who, as the heads of low-income households, interact with the social service system. The analysis demonstrates that single mothers are frustrated by inadequate assistance and the impossibility of improving their life situations. The discussion goes on to show that social workers, who are used to interpreting complex issues in the life situations of single mothers as individual psychological peculiarities, tend to blame the victim, thus ignoring important social conditions and imposing on women a responsibility for problems that are societal in origin.