Department of Sociology

Speaking of money: Problem presentation, service and response when families with children call the Social Insurance Agency (2016-2018)

Primary Investigator: Senior professor Elisabet Näsman (Uppsala University)

Collaborator (contact person for project): Dr. Marie Flinkfeldt (Uppsala University)

Grant: Social Insurance Agency

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency’s customer service receives about six million phone calls every year. This study investigates the social organization of such calls, the interplay between caller and call-taker, and how the interactants collaboratively navigate the business at hand, solve problems, straighten out questions and so on. By studying talk on a linguistically detailed level, institutional logics and practices are rendered visible in a tangible way. The study focuses on child allowance, parental benefits, housing allowance, and maintenance support, i.e. benefits aimed at families with children, with varying degrees of means assessment as a foundation for entitlement. Of particular interest in these calls is how families’ financial situations and notions of economic hardship are occasioned and managed, and the study is anticipated to bring new knowledge on social problems as an interactional resource and challenge in encounters between citizens and social authorities. The study also aims to identify communicative problems and how they are solved, and will apply and evaluate the Conversation Analytic Role-play Method (CARM) as a means to communications training for social authorities officials in Sweden. For more information about the study see: http://www.talompengar.se