Doing Ambivalence: Embracing Innovation – at Arm’s Length

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This article considers the social organization of responses among human service staff to changes in public policy, using a study of a Swedish treatment center for juveniles as an illustration. The stance towards a new treatment ideology, “family-work,” was not one of either accepting or rejecting the new policy; the staff conveyed both embracing and distancing. Policy innovations, it is argued, create conditions that work as a catalyst for “doing ambivalence,” an accommodative rhetoric that integrates the new and delicately express reservations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-74
JournalSocial Problems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • rhetoric
  • rehabilitation
  • youth center
  • sociologi
  • juvenile delinquents
  • care
  • organizational changes
  • family care
  • sociology


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