Dokumentation och känslor
Socialsekreterares pappers- och känsloarbete
Documentation and emotions. Balancing paper work and emotional work in the social services
This article deals with documentation and documentation requirements in relation to social workers’ prerequisites to perform ”emotional labour”. Inspired by Arlie Hochschild’s sociology of emotions and the selected concepts emotional labour, feeling management and ”the speed-up”, the study aims at illuminating processes unfolding at the intersection of paper work and emotional work. With a focus on social workers with authority-based investigative work tasks, the analysis reveals a somewhat ambiguous picture of how documentation and feelings work together. On the one hand participants describe how documentation practices are used to reflect upon and emotionally ”let go” of cases, and that documentation contributes to feelings of ”being in control”, as well as to the anticipation of what feelings to manage. On the other hand, or at the same time, documentation requirements seem to be a source of anxiety, professional and internal dilemmas and stress, distracting the social worker from emotional management towards the user. These results nuance earlier research that has predominantly pointed out the negative perceptions and consequences of increased documentation requirements within the social services.