Digitalizing Welfare: The role of encounters in supporting marginalised citizens’ access to rights in the Danish welfare state

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Digitalisation of the public sector is advocated for as an efficient and responsive approach to the delivery of public services. In this article, we analyse the role of digitalisation from a bottom-up perspective as we zoom in on socially marginalised citizens’ access to welfare rights in the context of the digitalised Danish welfare state. In the Danish welfare state, the authority and responsibility to distribute welfare support rest mainly with the municipalities which thus play a significant role in the public sector infrastructure when it comes to ensuring efficient responses to citizens’ social problems. Yet, research suggests that citizens who lack legal and digital capabilities related to accessing welfare support in a digitalised welfare state may face challenges in this process. Drawing on observations of encounters between socially marginalised citizens and social workers who as intermediaries assist the citizens in the process of gaining access to welfare rights, and on semi-structured interviews with both parties, the article suggests that encounters between socially marginalised citizens and intermediaries can be decisive for citizens’ ability to access rights in the digitalised space of the welfare state.
TidsskriftRecht der Werkelijkheid
Udgave nummer2
StatusUdgivet - 2022