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Street level bureaucrats and service provision: the case of Syrian refugees in Altındağ, Ankara

Oba Erdoğan, Cansu
This thesis mainly aims to reveal how the discretionary power of the street level bureaucrats who are working in social assistance sector is affected by the circumstances of the fragmented and decentralized structure of the social assistance provision to Syrians and the ambiguous legal framework and policies about Syrians under temporary protection in Turkey; and how the direction of this discretionary power affects the social assistance provision at the local level in return. For that reason, this study focuses on analyzing the interface between the local service providers and Syrian refugees. Approaching Syrian urban refugees as service recipients in addition to the refugee identity of them, their articulation in the local welfare system is aimed to be analyzed in Altındağ context. Elaborating on the legal framework about Syrian refugees in Turkey, it is argued that the ambiguities in the legal framework might be increasing the importance of the local level as it provides a larger space for decisions of street level bureaucrats. It is attempted to reveal the role of street level bureaucrats in local service provision through concentrating on the intersection point where the service providers and the service recipients meet. The main institution types in social assistance provision in Altındağ are identified as the governmental institutions, local governments, and non-governmental organizations. The field study implemented in the scope of this thesis is based on the interviews and focus group discussions that are conducted with street level bureaucrats of those institutions and organizations.