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Who is (rendered) responsible?

Responsibilization and dependency in a changing welfare state

On November 4th and 5th 2015, the Graduate School of the University of Humanistic Studies (Utrecht, The Netherlands) will present a conference on responsibilization and dependency in a changing welfare state.

In Western countries, including The Netherlands, the structure of the welfare state is changing rapidly. Social and health care policy is consequently aimed at transformation: from a welfare state which takes care of its citizens, to a state that encourages citizens to ‘participate’ and actively take care of each other. Citizens ought to take responsibility for their own lives and support each other, instead of ‘passively’ consume services. Several sociologists have framed this development as the ‘responsibilitization’ of our society. Although these responsibilities have not yet been clearly defined, nor who is responsible for what, it is clear that social networks will become increasingly important, as citizens are called upon to take care of each other. In contrast to the postwar Welfare state, where new social services were seen as a pathway to freedom and independence from family, now dependency and support from others are viewed as the ‘new ideals’.
However, this can be highly problematic, because it is assumed that everyone is part of a social support network, and capable of supporting others. Or people might not be familiar articulating their expectations and needs, ultimately leading to tensions between the trend of responsibilization policies and everyday dependency. During this conference, we will mutually explore these tensions, the pitfalls and promises of responsibilization and new dependencies propelled by government policies.

Prof. dr. Helen Kohlen (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Vallendar, Germany) and dr. Thomas Biebricher (Goethe Universität, Germany), two internationally renowned scholars, will host a keynote lecture and also present their views during plenary presentations and during master classes. During the first conference-day, the key notes will be co-refereed by scholars of several research groups of the organizing organization, i.e. the University of Humanistic Studies. During the second day of the conference, each research group organize a chaired session, in collaboration with the PhD-students of the Graduate School. 

PDF-bestandClick here for the record of the conference 'Who is (rendered) responsible?