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Abstract

The implementation of public assistance and related forms of social insurance, based on existing social welfare legislation, often discriminates against new and emerging social institutions such as collective families residing in a communal situation. A recent case study of the Danish experience has shown that, while members of such communes are in fact discriminated against by the authorities (as a communal entity), the system has simultaneously proven flexible enough to accomodate the majority of "problem cases" on an individual basis and in the process served to minimize potential social unrest and dislocation. Unlike their American counterpart, research has verified that the Danes have generally been much more successful in resolving conflict situations, inter alia among their growing communal constituents, through an effective combination of the following factors: (a) the overwhelming majority of Danish communalists tend to work with and through the system (rather than against it, as is more often the case in the United States) and are generally not isolated from their respective communities; (b) they do not have large families with attendant social-medical problems necessitating major social intervention, but are likewise well educated and articulate enough to press for their own demands from their respective local authorities if and when necessary; (c) Danish authorities and institutions of social control simultaneously tolerate, partially subsidize, and in many other ways effectively co-opt the commune movement; and, (d) in practice social workers have proven innovative enough to apply existing social welfare laws and regulations on an individual basis when proven cases of need are brought to their attention. *The data on which this article is based w

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