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Welfare to Work in Contemporary European Welfare StatesLegal, Sociological and Philosophical Perspectives on Justice and Domination$
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Anja Eleveld, Thomas Kampen, and Josien Arts

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447340010

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447340010.001.0001

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Pressing, repressing and accommodating: local modes of governing social assistance recipients in welfare to work programmes in the Netherlands

Pressing, repressing and accommodating: local modes of governing social assistance recipients in welfare to work programmes in the Netherlands

Chapter:
(p.211) 10 Pressing, repressing and accommodating: local modes of governing social assistance recipients in welfare to work programmes in the Netherlands
Source:
Welfare to Work in Contemporary European Welfare States
Author(s):

Josien Arts

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447340010.003.0010

This chapter shows the differences between local welfare-to-work programmes in the Netherlands in terms of the ways in which social assistance recipients are directed towards paid labour: through pressing, repressing and accommodating modes of governing. Based on 13-month ethnographic research in three Dutch social assistance offices, this chapter argues, first, that the observed local differences result from decentralisation of policy design and implementation as well as increased discretionary power for case managers. Second, that the different local practices can be understood as varieties of neoliberal paternalism legitimised through various forms of stigmatisation of social assistance recipients that leave little room for them to revolt against disfunctioning policy and wrongful treatment. Third, by means of using the republican theory of non-domination, this chapter argues that the observed local differences (between as well as within municipalities) and limited room for social assistance recipients to voice their concerns indicate that Dutch welfare-to-work policies work partly in arbitrary ways and are insufficiently democratically controlled.

Keywords:   Welfare-to-work, Decentralisation, Discretionary power, Neoliberal paternalism, Stigmatisation, Republican theory of non-domination

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