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Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij x Jaar 2011 x
Artikel

Verantwoordelijke vrijheid: responsabilisering van burgers op voorwaarden van de staat

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 2 2011
Trefwoorden governance, responsibilisation, political discourse, politics, public administration
Auteurs Rik Peeters en Gerard Drosterij
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Behind many notions of ‘governance’, there lies the image of a ‘modest’ or ‘retreating’ state. The assumption is that local and national authorities can only perform effectively if in cooperation with other public and private actors. Generally, it is said, governments increasingly lack the legitimacy for top-down interventions and hence the need of including participative citizen involvement in policy making and implementation. In recent years this democratic image has been disputed in scientific debates because of its lack of attention for new forms of interventionism by the state in societal processes, e.g. crime, youth care, immigration and integration. In this article, we aim to contribute to this other understanding of modern governance by analysing Dutch political discourse between 2001 and 2010 on (implicit) notions of the role and responsibility of the state. We show how the idea of ‘responsibilisation’ of citizens is turned into an argument for more instead of less state involvement in societal processes and citizens’ lives. By emphasizing ‘shared responsibilities’ between government and society, a tricky picture of parity is sketched of this relation. Dutch government presents itself as ‘an ally’ of citizens in fighting pressing social problems, but in the meantime an ideal of ‘responsible behaviour’ is constructed, namely, citizen behaviour in concordance with government’s policy ambitions. Within this political discourse, the socio-liberal idea of ‘responsibility’ turns into ‘responsibilisation on government’s terms’ and ‘irresponsible’ behaviour becomes a legitimate focal point for deep state interventions through techniques of governance.


Rik Peeters
Rik Peeters is onderzoeker en promovendus bij de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur. Correspondentiegegevens: drs. R. Peeters, Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur, Lange Voorhout 17, 2514 EB Den Haag, peeters@nsob.nl.

Gerard Drosterij
Gerard Drosterij is onderzoeker bij de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur.
Artikel

De nieuwe burgerlijkheid: participatie als conformerende zelfredzaamheid

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2011
Trefwoorden Participatie, Zelfredzaamheid, legitimatie, Burgerschap, Responsabilisering
Auteurs Dr. Gerard Drosterij en Rik Peeters
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    For many years now, citizenship has been a hot topic in Dutch politics. The activation and participation of citizens has been part and parcel of many policy initiatives. In this fashion, the current cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte has stressed the virtues of a ‘big society’ and a ‘small government’. We call this the new civility: a citizenship philosophy in which an ethico-economic claim of self-sufficiency is accompanied by a strong anticipation of policy conformity. Notably, the democratic legitimation of the new civility has been reversed. Now it is government which demands civic accountability, not the other way around. Responsible citizenship, not responsible government is at its heart. Furthermore, the new civility is based on a reversal of the Mandevillean idea of private vices and public benefits. We illustrate its ambiguous strands by a case study of a citizen’s initiative project in the city of Dordrecht. We conclude by showing how the tension between the values of civil self-sufficiency and policy conformity ironically can turn out in a-political conception of citizenship.


Dr. Gerard Drosterij
dr. Gerard Drosterij is publicist en zelfstandig adviseur. Correspondentie gegevens: Dr. G. Drosterij, Graaf Florisstraat 63b, 3021 CC, Rotterdam, g.drosterij@uvt.nl.

Rik Peeters
drs. Rik Peeters is onderzoeker en promovendus bij de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur.
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