5: From welfare state to participation society: austerity, ideology or rhetoric?

In his first annual speech to parliament in 2013, Dutch King Willem-Alexander announced the end of the era of the welfare state and proclaimed the Participation Society. He stated that the process of individualization, combined with the need to reduce the government’s budget deficit leads “to a slow transition of the classical welfare state into a participation society. Everyone who is able to do so, is asked to take responsibility for his or her own life and environment”. This shift towards a participation society is not unique for the Netherlands. Many European countries have experience reforms of their welfare states that limit the responsibility of the state and increases the responsibility of individual citizens. This chapter discusses the backgrounds of Dutch Participation Society in the political discourse, and analyses how and to what extent the ideas of the Participation Society have actually been translated into the content of social policies, their implementation and their consequences.

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Social Policy Review 31
Analysis and debate in social policy, 2019