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Journal Article

Rescaling Social Care Services: The Case of District Municipalities in Istanbul


Çelebi,  Elifcan
International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Çelebi, E. (2022). Rescaling Social Care Services: The Case of District Municipalities in Istanbul. International Social Work, 65(1), 157-171. doi:10.1177/0020872819901156.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-DAB1-D
Social care is an immature welfare policy domain in Turkey, with three distinctive characteristics: the central role of the family, limited public expenditure, and low levels of institutionalization and professionalization. However, following local legislative reform in 2004, municipalities have become important actors in social care provision, initiating social care programs for local citizens. This article fills a gap in the existing literature by focusing on the smallest administrative units of the local welfare system: the district municipalities. The article explores and compares the emerging role of district municipalities in social care provision in selected districts of Istanbul to assess, in the context of an immature welfare system, how far they fulfill the principle of universal provision. It finds that while service provision capacity was increased by localization to an extent, the social care provision capacity that district municipalities developed is not sufficient to transform social care policies into one that conforms to the principle of universalism. Due to coordination problems and the wide service area defined by the law, district municipalities ‘pick and choose’ service beneficiaries, instead of ensuring equal access for all local citizens.