Capabilities for what? Italian Employment Policies for Disabled People between Obstacles and Opportunity
Department of Social and Political Studies University of Milan Milano, Italy
Department of Sociology and Social Research University of Milan-Bicocca Italy,
In 1999, Law n. 68/99 "Rules on the right to work of disabled people" introduced a new framework of personalization in job insertion for disabled people within the Italian social policies' context and conferred competence for local planning to Italian Provinces. In this paper we present the results of an empirical research that focuses on the Provincial Plan for job insertion of disabled people in Milan (Plan Emergo). The research combines content analysis and semi-structured interviews to project coordinators and social workers, and its aim is to investigate, through the concept of capability, if and how this Plan reaches its purposes: which capabilities are pursued and for which job?
The Emergo Plan, developed in 2004, was the first of a new generation of instruments that aimed at reorganizing fragmented and differentiated measures for job insertion policies for disabled people at the local level. In theory, the Plan promotes personalized projects designed according to persons' characteristics and it pursues real conditions of employment through the promotion of people's capabilities, in particular of their capability for work.
The first part of the paper sets the case in the framework of Italian policies for disabled people. It highlights the connections between social services and job insertion policies.
In the second part we examine the courses of action and the organisational logics of local agencies (both public and private ones) that implemented job insertion projects through the Plan. We considered two levels of analysis of the policy devices: design and implementation.
The research shows that the Plan could not transform the way the agencies work: measures are bended and adapted to agencies? organisational routines or to labour market's logics and they do not guarantee adequate social support in order to promote disabled people's capabilities. This situation has relevant consequences in terms of: a) chance of personalization of the projects; b) participation and activation of disabled people; c) job opportunities.
Starting from this case, we finally present some indications about the organisational dimension of job insertion policies, in particular as regards the relation between capabilities and participation of disabled people in building personalized interventions.