University of Twente Student Theses


De verantwoordelijkheid van de participerende burger.

Esch, Maaike Wilhelmina van (2015) De verantwoordelijkheid van de participerende burger.

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Abstract:In 2013 the Dutch government announced (in the speech of throne) that the welfare state should slowly change into a participation society. In this society the citizen is asked to take more responsibility by actively participating in society. The policy of the welfare state of the past 50 years was dominated by a neoliberal rationality; directed to achieve cost-efficiency in all kind of (social) politics’. The relevance of this study is to reopen redefinition and rethinking of power structure which exist in the definitions (language is in itself powerful; is shaped and reshapes the world) This study discusses if in fact the participation society is as fundamentally different form the welfare state as it is claimed to be. This had led to the main question: For what degree is the neoliberal discourse recognizable in the discussions about the participation society? To answer this question, a discourse analysis about the meaning of individual responsibility is performed in this study, by the use of national policy documents from the last past years (from 2007/ 2008 until 2013/2014) To answer the main question the following sub questions are defined: 1.What is the meaning of 'personal responsibility' in the neoliberal discourse of the welfare state? 2. What is the meaning of the concept of 'personal responsibility' provided by the Dutch government, in its social policy in the fields of healthcare, home affairs, social affairs, education and culture, infrastructure and environment and general affairs in the period 2007-2014? 3. To what extend is the neoliberal discourse still recognisable in the concept of 'personal responsibility' in the policies in the context of this participation society? To answer these questions chosen is for the approach of (critical) discourse based on the works of Foucault (1973) and Fairglough ( 2003). The results had shown that in the current policy three types of citizens can be recognized , ideal-typical formulated(based on the theory): the 'transparent risk-avoider’ , the ' measurable contractual citizen' and the '(re)organized citizen'. The neoliberal discourse appears to be dominating the policy papers in the fields of health, welfare and sports, infrastructure and environment and general affairs. It turned out that active and preventive completion of the responsibility of the citizen was defined as necessary; referring to the consequences of the economic crisis or pointing to the context, which is defined as one of increased risk, complexity and insecurity. The active citizen is supposed is considered to take his responsibility preventively but also transparent. Due to his dependency on the digital channel the citizen is only partly stimulated to be self-reliant. This dependency induces the necessarily of sharing personal data for the neoliberal control, which is both preventive and repressive. It turned out that decentralization does not automatically lead to local customization or local inspired definitions of 'personal responsibility', this is caused by central and regional cooperation. Further research is required to see how digital developments and local and regional collaboration effect the free and equal ‘power’ of citizens. This research had made clear citizens are asked to participate with the already ‘organized’ decentralized society. Citizen are asked to participate by taking more active responsibility , but they are less incorporated in the decision-making-process.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:71 sociology, 88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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