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Theses

Le service social en action : assistantes sociales et familles assistées dans le cadre de la protection de la jeunesse à Paris dans l'entre-deux-guerres

Abstract : Professionalized social work appears during the 1920s and 1930s. Social workers present themselves as alternatives to both charity work and public welfare. According to them, the answer to the “social question” relies in helping working-class families improve their autonomy and responsibility. This thesis questions how such an ambition was materialized, by analyzing the relationship set between social workers and their “clients”. It focuses on the monographic study of the Childhood’s Social Service (CSS), a private organization working with the juvenile court of the Seine department, relying on their case files. The professional training of social workers, the framework of Parisian social services, the intervention of the State in the domain of social work complete this study to embrace the larger picture of the emergence of a new field in social action. This thesis thus shows that even with an organism symbolizing coercion at its highest state, social work cannot be presented only as a tool for social control. Although the attempt to moralize the working-class is at the core of its project, social work in practice is mostly characterized by the gap between expectations of social workers and strategies of assisted families. While social workers present themselves as “friends”, their relationship to their clients is inscribed within relations of power which combine caring with surveillance. Negotiations are constantly needed between social workers lacking judiciary and financial means to enforce their decisions and assisted families exercising their agency. Through the analysis of social work in the making, this thesis stresses the ambitions and limits of welfare policies.Professionalized social work appears during the 1920s and 1930s. Social workers present themselves as alternatives to both charity work and public welfare. According to them, the answer to the “social question” relies in helping working-class families improve their autonomy and responsibility. This thesis questions how such an ambition was materialized, by analyzing the relationship set between social workers and their “clients”. It focuses on the monographic study of the Childhood’s Social Service (CSS), a private organization working with the juvenile court of the Seine department, relying on their case files. The professional training of social workers, the framework of Parisian social services, the intervention of the State in the domain of social work complete this study to embrace the larger picture of the emergence of a new field in social action. This thesis thus shows that even with an organism symbolizing coercion at its highest state, social work cannot be presented only as a tool for social control. Although the attempt to moralize the working-class is at the core of its project, social work in practice is mostly characterized by the gap between expectations of social workers and strategies of assisted families. While social workers present themselves as “friends”, their relationship to their clients is inscribed within relations of power which combine caring with surveillance. Negotiations are constantly needed between social workers lacking judiciary and financial means to enforce their decisions and assisted families exercising their agency. Through the analysis of social work in the making, this thesis stresses the ambitions and limits of welfare policies.
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https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-03659213
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 4:42:01 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 3:36:21 AM

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  • HAL Id : tel-03659213, version 1

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Lola Zappi. Le service social en action : assistantes sociales et familles assistées dans le cadre de la protection de la jeunesse à Paris dans l'entre-deux-guerres. Histoire. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019IEPP0024⟩. ⟨tel-03659213⟩

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