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The potential of meta-ethnography in the study of public administration: a worked example on social security encounters in advanced liberal democracies

The potential of meta-ethnography in the study of public administration: a worked example on social security encounters in advanced liberal democracies
The potential of meta-ethnography in the study of public administration: a worked example on social security encounters in advanced liberal democracies
The purpose of this article is to highlight meta-ethnography – the interpretive synthesis of ethnographic studies on a given theme – as a useful tool in the study of social policy and public administration. We claim this approach can maximise the impact of rich idiographic research to enable theory-refining and evidence-building efforts in the field. We illustrate these benefits through reference to a worked example focused on public encounters with social security in advanced liberal democracies. We show how we drew together 49 ethnographic studies from a variety of disciplines to identify repertoires of response that citizens exercise in their encounters with the contemporary welfare state. Through this analysis, we demonstrate how meta-ethnography can shed new light on topical contemporary debates about administrative burden. We conclude by reflecting on the prospects and limits of this technique for broader use in the field.
Meta-ethnography, social security, administrative burden, welfare conditionality
1053-1858
Boswell, John
34bad0df-3d4d-40ce-948f-65871e3d783c
Smedley, Stuart
1a4edce2-3e8c-40b1-93e3-c5fce4aa27ff
Boswell, John
34bad0df-3d4d-40ce-948f-65871e3d783c
Smedley, Stuart
1a4edce2-3e8c-40b1-93e3-c5fce4aa27ff

Boswell, John and Smedley, Stuart (2022) The potential of meta-ethnography in the study of public administration: a worked example on social security encounters in advanced liberal democracies. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. (doi:10.1093/jopart/muac046).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to highlight meta-ethnography – the interpretive synthesis of ethnographic studies on a given theme – as a useful tool in the study of social policy and public administration. We claim this approach can maximise the impact of rich idiographic research to enable theory-refining and evidence-building efforts in the field. We illustrate these benefits through reference to a worked example focused on public encounters with social security in advanced liberal democracies. We show how we drew together 49 ethnographic studies from a variety of disciplines to identify repertoires of response that citizens exercise in their encounters with the contemporary welfare state. Through this analysis, we demonstrate how meta-ethnography can shed new light on topical contemporary debates about administrative burden. We conclude by reflecting on the prospects and limits of this technique for broader use in the field.

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Accepted/In Press date: 17 October 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 October 2022
Keywords: Meta-ethnography, social security, administrative burden, welfare conditionality

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 471591
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/471591
ISSN: 1053-1858
PURE UUID: 81bb9c90-8053-4fac-93ab-3b3c0e31c35a
ORCID for John Boswell: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3018-8791

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Date deposited: 14 Nov 2022 17:47
Last modified: 15 Nov 2022 02:43

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