Question: Street Level Bureaucratic Research


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When Schwalbe talks about ‘Cultural Capital’ he is referring to the policies, laws, and procedures that have been allowing some people to have control over others and to exploit them in a number of ways. It is within such laws, procedures and policies that Schwalbe calls ‘Rules of the Game’, that allow a number of people to accumulate material gain and wealth at the expense of others. How does ‘Street Level Bureaucratic Research’ help us uncover the structural dilemma that Schwalbe is talking about?

Uncovering Schwalbe’s Structural Dilemma

Order and social action have been subjects of great interest when investigating the society. In ‘Rules of the Game,’ Schwalbe gives the laws, procedures and policies that have given some people control over others so that they can exploit them. Basically, Schwalbe is talking of a structural dilemma which is uncovered in the ‘Street Level Bureaucratic Research.’ This has played an important role in analyzing the nature of human beings and the cultural foundations responsible for poverty and its persistence in the society (Schwalbe, 2008). The research argues that the elite have developed a capitalistic culture with which new production mode is encouraged to initiate an economic and social change which favors them. Some of the policies promoting inequality in the society include bureaucracy, regimented governance, and corporate relations. These have been socially constructed so that they favor some people only.

The research argues that, with capitalism, the so-called ‘Game’ by Schwalbe does take on different forms in encouraging an unfair society. The other important revelation from this research is that people continue to live under the ‘Game’ in an attempt to survive in the unfair society (Schwalbe, 2008). In that case, this research helps us uncover the structural dilemma which has caused inequality in our society. The capitalist production modes have been encouraged by the leaders and business elites. This is part of the procedures that have seen some persons having approximate dominion over others. This remains a structural and social dilemma which encourages poverty and inequality.

As a solution, a new capitalism concept is suggested which will address the above issues. In doing so, new policy changes will be encouraged, have new implementations and address all the negative effects within the society (Schwalbe, 2008). As well, a new tool kit proposed includes development of community business involvement and education which will make it possible for the people living in poverty to find a way out of it.


Schwalbe, M. (2008). Rigging the Game: How Inequality Is Reproduced in Everyday Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



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