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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.
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