By S. Betzelt, S. Bothfeld

This booklet analyzes in what manner activation rules influence on given styles of social citizenship that predominate in nationwide contexts. It argues that the liberal paradigm of activation brought into labour industry rules in all Western ecu states demanding situations the explicit styles of social citizenship in every one nation.

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Additional info for Activation and Labour Market Reforms in Europe: Challenges to Social Citizenship

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In this respect the instrument of contract is an interesting example, with its more or less asymmetric character being most crucial, however, considering the power imbalance between the state and benefit-receiving citizens (see Kildal and Nilssen in this volume). A high degree of the citizen’s autonomy in this dimension would be reflected in spontaneous or deliberate, active or passive commitment to collective values and goods, even at the expense of the individual’s more obvious individual interests or needs.

Third, tensions also result from the incompatibility of the traditional welfare state’s principle of nationwide uniform and standardized governance of welfare beneficiaries on the one hand, and the implementation of decentralized and individualized provision of activation and labour promotion services on the other. This tension refers to the various ways social citizenship is produced in practice on the local level of 14 Introduction: Challenges to Social Citizenship implementation. The studies on the Netherlands (Rik van Berkel) and Norway (Nanna Kildal/Even Nilssen) reveal that forms of governance according to the managerial model of ‘New Public Management’ applied in activation policies (for example, performance-related allocation mechanisms of employment promotion schemes, decentralized decision-making on the local level with large scopes of discretion for the frontline staff, contractualism) have a considerable impact on several dimensions of social citizenship such as the transparency of rules, the reliability of entitlements or the concrete accessibility of services.

5. Bringing politics back in Sharpening the critical perspective on activation policies does not, of course, resolve the basic problem of lacking convincing alternative ideas as a new normative framework for the development of social policy programmes, which has been characterized as a ‘normative vacuum’ (Leisering, 2004). After the failure of the political project of the ‘third way’, neither social democratic nor conservative parties offer a convincing alternative, overarching and consistent ideational framework that would integrate ‘old’ and ‘new’ demands at the same time.

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