We operationalize the concepts of rights, discretion, and negotiation in service provision at two public housing sites, exploring their connections to the generation of shame or dignity building for residents. Using data from in-depth interviews with housing residents and caseworkers, we found that resident rights were limited by a decentralized system that actively prevented them from taking control of their lives. Residents frequently experienced caseworker discretion as personally intrusive, yet there was some, if limited, space for negotiation between caseworkers offering personalized care and residents evaluated as worthy of such focus. These interactions offered the potential for enhanced recognition and dignity.
Encounters and Interactions within Two US Public Housing Programs
Erika Gubrium, Sabina Dhakal, Laura Sylvester and Aline Gubrium
Why Californians Shifted from Trains to Autos (and Not Buses), 1910-1941
This essay examines the transition from a rail-based intercity transportation system in California in 1910 to a road/private auto-based system thirty years later, with hypotheses that the transition could be explained by either corporate and state decisions for supplying infrastructure or by public demand. The essay examines trends of automobile ownership, road investment, bus organization and service provision, intercity passenger rail service provision, and intercity rail revenues, both within California and to and from California in each of the three decades. It concludes that public preference for private automobility explains most of the transition but that unserved demand remained for fast passenger train service between the state's large metropolitan areas. Failure to serve that demand derived from California's legacy of popular disdain for the private railroad industry.
In its electoral programme, the new centre right government that
took office after the victory of 13 May 2001 had announced its
intention to stress the digitalisation of public administration, which
it considered to be a necessary requirement for ‘redesigning public
administration from the foundations and reinventing the state in
organisational and functional terms so as to seize the potential
offered by new technologies’. The programme identified a break
with the approach taken by centre left governments in the need to
place ‘the idea of service provision as well as the organisation itself’
at the heart of ‘e-government’ policy, as opposed to setting up a network
infrastructure such as RUPA (Rete unitaria della pubblica
amministrazione – Public Administration Unitary Network), which
had been acted on by the previous government and judged ineffective
‘due to the lack of an adequate plan of organisational reform’.
This issue is dedicated to the outcomes of the research project “Poverty and Shame: Perspectives and Practices Concerning Anti-poverty Measures in a Global Context” and funded by the Research Council of Norway. Erika Gubrium and Sony Pellissery, partners on the project, present a series of articles with emergent findings from five cases of service provision interactions between antipoverty measure providers and recipients, namely in China, India, Norway, Uganda, and the United States. The project focused on professional practices at the level of everyday interaction and the impact of service delivery on those receiving antipoverty measures. The article authors are especially focused on two issues: first, if antipoverty measures cause deep feelings of shame or may be “shame proofed,” and second, if they mitigate or stimulate feelings of dignity.