Moralizations as Modes of Sense Making: A Discussion Concerning the Quality of Professional Knowledge Based on Stories About Residency Decisions and Counseling

  • Lisa Janotta TU Dresden
Keywords: moral, professional knowledge, organization, narrative interview, narration analysis, documentary method, social work, counselling, residency, immigration office, police, case, case work


In this article, I discuss moralizations as attitudes and habits of valuation. As I reconstructed the implicit knowledge in narratives about professional case work, these kind of moralizations became apparent. My data include interviews with federal police officers, administrators in immigration offices, and counselors, who give advice on residency issues. From my analysis, I identified three typical modes of narration, each in every professional group. Those modes of narration refer to the professional’s experiences and actions in situations in which clients acted differently from the way they were expected to. Based on the praxeological theory of knowledge, I discuss those modes of narrations as situated and sense making implicit knowledge and I emphasize the moralizing character of this knowledge. As such, the moralizations I found can be discussed as habits of valuations—a concept known from praxeological theory. Subsequent to the methodological discussion, I reflect on my findings in the light of organizational theory, theory of professional knowledge, and concepts of the moral.


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Author Biography

Lisa Janotta, TU Dresden

Dr. phil. Lisa JANOTTA ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der TU Dresden, Fakultät Erziehungswissenschaften. Ihre Arbeitsschwerpunkte sind Forschungsmethoden und -methodologien, Migrationsforschung und Professionsforschung mit besonderem Fokus auf soziale Arbeit.

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