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Participation, Responsibility and Choice

Participation, Responsibility and Choice: Summoning the Active Citizen in Western European Welfare States

Janet Newman
Evelien Tonkens
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 244
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  • Book Info
    Participation, Responsibility and Choice
    Book Description:

    Responsibility, participation and choice are key policy framings of active citizenship, summoning the citizen to take on new roles in welfare state reform. This volume traces the emergence of new discourses and the ways in which they take up and rework struggles of social movements for greater independence, power and control. It explores the changing cultural and political inflections of active citizenship in Germany, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the UK, with ethnographic research complementing policy analysis. The editors then look across the volume to assess some of the tensions and contradictions arising in the turn to active citizenship. Two final chapters address the reworking of citizen/professional relationships and the remaking of public, private and personal responsibilities, with a particular focus on the contribution of feminist research and theory.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1343-7
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 7-8)
    Janet Newman and Evelien Tonkens
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 9-28)
    Janet Newman and Evelien Tonkens

    New formations of citizenship occupy a central place in the modernization of welfare states across Europe and beyond. A range of governmental and political projects swirl around the remaking of citizenship: the restoration of national identity, the responses to the challenges of social cohesion in a globalising world and the attempt to reinvent relationships between people and the state. But at the centre of these struggles are notions of the ‘active’ citizen: one who is no longer dependent on the welfare state and who is willing to take a full part in the remaking of modern societies. The active citizen...

  5. 2 Citizenship and healthcare in Germany Patchy activation and constrained choices
    (pp. 29-44)
    Ellen Kuhlmann

    As elsewhere in Europe, the politics of activation are gaining ground in Germany’s public sector. Activation is especially advanced in labour-market policy but relevant in all areas of welfare governance, although in different ways. Citizens are increasingly expected to take on greater responsibility for managing the challenges of welfare transformations, thus playing the role of what might be viewed as ‘government’s little helpers’. As market subjects, they are expected to exercise control of public service and other providers in order to achieve greater cost efficiency and quality of services, and in turn gain greater choice of provision and voice in...

  6. 3 The embrace of responsibility Citizenship and governance of social care in the Netherlands
    (pp. 45-66)
    Evelien Tonkens

    Active citizenship is a highly popular concept among Dutch policymakers. Many ministries – ranging from education, health, justice and integration to the Home office – have policies for promoting active citizenship. Among local governments, civil society and public service organisations, active citizenship is a popular concept as well. It is by all means a buzzword, expected to provide a solution to difficulties that arise out of globalisation, individualisation and democratisation (Duyvendak et al. 2010). In the area of health and social care, a new law was installed in 2007 – the Social Support Act (Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning or WMO) –...

  7. 4 From social citizenship to active citizenship? Tensions between policies and practices in Finnish elderly care
    (pp. 67-86)
    Anneli Anttonen and Liisa Häikiö

    In this chapter, active citizenship is discussed in relation to elderly care policies and informal care practices in Finland. Active citizenship, in the way that Janet Newman and Evelien Tonkens define the notion in the introduction of this book, composes the main conceptual frame for our analysis. We will demonstrate that the ideal of social citizenship is giving way to active citizenship. The ideas of participation, responsibility and choice shape political norms and objectives within the policy discourse on elderly care; but active citizenship is also manifested in the everyday practices of informal care. As we will show, informal carers...

  8. 5 Active citizenship in Norwegian elderly care From activation to consumer activism
    (pp. 87-106)
    Mia Vabø

    The term ‘active citizenship’, as it appears in European welfare policy, embraces a range of activities that people engage in to exercise influence and to act as co-producers alongside governments (see chapter 1). Even though the term has not been coined as a buzzword in Norway as it has in the UK and the Netherlands,¹ the idea that citizens should participate in and assume responsibility for the implementation of welfare programmes has been at the very centre of Norwegian welfare policy. The comprehensive welfare commitment characteristic of Scandinavian countries has not worked on the assumption that people are essentially passive...

  9. 6 Mobilising the active citizen in the UK Tensions, silences and erasures
    (pp. 107-126)
    Janet Newman

    Active citizens are everywhere the focus of government attention but are not the invention of governments. Citizenship has been the focus of many expansive and transformatory struggles (Newman & Clarke 2009): in 20th and 21st century Britain, such struggles have centred on claims for political inclusion and social rights, for access and voice in welfare provision, and for equality and justice in the face of economic retrenchment and securitisation. We are currently witnessing an expansion of popular mobilisations and protest, not only on ‘local’ issues or claims on the part of particular disenfranchised groups but also through participation in global anti-poverty...

  10. 7 Dividing or combining citizens The politics of active citizenship in Italy
    (pp. 127-146)
    Ota de Leonardis

    During the ‘trente glorieux’ years following WWII, the Italian welfare system developed along two different lines. In the first, political cultures and practices imbued with particularist tendencies and even patronage produced a weak adherence to universalistic principles in social benefits and public service provision. As a consequence, families – particularly women – went on bearing the greater burden of caring for their members in need, so conferring on the Italian welfare system a familial nature. A central role was also played by private charities and church bodies, partly because of the cultural and political influence of the Catholic Church. These...

  11. 8 Just being an ‘active citizen’? Categorisation processes and meanings of citizenship in France
    (pp. 147-160)
    Catherine Neveu

    While the reference to ‘active citizenship’ has come to occupy a central place in recent transformations of public policies in many European countries, it has not been a highlight in the French case. A recent internet search for the term ‘citoyenneté active’ showed results that referred either to campaigns for voting (being an active citizen means using one’s right to vote) or to youth training programmes launched by the European Union. Such results tend to confirm that the notion is directly translated from ‘European English’ into French. And although the notion of ‘choice’ is currently high on the government agenda...

  12. 9 Caring responsibilities The making of citizen carers
    (pp. 161-178)
    Marian Barnes

    In many parts of the world, citizenship remains a status and an identity to be claimed and struggled over. Such struggles amongst those excluded from citizenship reveal important understandings of what citizenship consists of: adherence to some notion of justice; recognition; self-determination and solidarity (Kabeer 2005). In the UK the emergence of service user and carer movements during the final decades of the 20th century highlighted tensions between strategies based on claims for citizenship and those based around the emerging identity of the ‘welfare consumer’ (e.g. Barnes 1997a, 1999). The power of the consumerist rhetoric is evident in the centrality...

  13. 10 Active citizenship Responsibility, choice and participation
    (pp. 179-200)
    Janet Newman and Evelien Tonkens

    In order to give this rather free floating concept of active citizenship analytical power, we have in this volume focused on three of its constituent concepts – those of responsibility, participation and choice. These three concepts have been elaborated in the country-based chapters in this volume, both through analyses of policy texts and through studies of citizen perspectives. Our aim here is to draw out common themes and their implications for the remaking of citizenship. In doing so, we note how each concept is already intrinsically gendered, and how the reworking of participation, responsibility and choice might shift their gendering....

  14. 11 Active citizens, activist professionals The citizenship of new professionals
    (pp. 201-216)
    Evelien Tonkens and Janet Newman

    Even though chapter 10 could be read as the concluding chapter, this is not where we want to end this book. We ended chapter 10 by pointing to some agendas emerging out of this book that we thought deserved elaboration. In this and the next chapter we want to elaborate on two of these agendas: the citizenship of professionals and the gender dimension of active citizenship. This chapter is devoted to the changing power-knowledge relations between citizens and professionals (used in the broad sense, including all somewhat skilled ‘public service’ workers), while the next chapter elaborates on a feminist agenda...

  15. 12 Towards a feminist politics of active citizenship
    (pp. 217-234)
    Janet Newman and Evelien Tonkens

    Gender has been a recurrent theme in this volume. But in order to understand the different genderings of active citizenship, we need to look at differences between the political projects involved (see chapter 1). Looking across this volume as a whole, it is evident that such political projects – however diverse – are transforming public and private responsibilities. The recurrence of this classic feminist theme of public/private throughout this volume urges us to examine more closely the gendering and re-gendering of active citizenship as a governmental construct, as well as a recurrent thread in the personal lives and choices of...

  16. About the editors and contributors
    (pp. 235-236)
  17. Index
    (pp. 237-241)