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Authors

Handelman

Abstract

The disposition of suspected instances of child abuse is accomplished by bureaucratic personnel through their interpretation of the relevancies of their organizational life-world. Three such instances are discussed: these resulted respectively in an unmodified interpretation, in a modified interpretation, and in an ambiguous interpretation. Among the bureaucratic relevancies which are discussed are, the elasticity itself of the rubric of "suspicion", the affluence of the suspected, and the nature of their support network. The reification of instances of suspected abuse is found to be related, in part, to bureaucratic contingencies which themselves are connected only tangentially to the behavioral phenomenon under investigation.

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