Activation policies which promote and enforce labour market participation continue to proliferate in Europe and constitute the reform blueprint from centre-left to centre-right, as well as for most international organizations. Through an in-depth study of four major reforms in Denmark and France, this book maps how co-existing ideas are mobilised to justify, criticise and reach activation compromises and how their morality sediments into the instruments governing the unemployed. By rethinking the role of ideas and morality in policy changes, this book illustrates how the moral economy of activation leads to a permanent behaviourist testing of the unemployed in public debate as well as in local jobcentres.
In this lucidly written and theoretically sophisticated book, Hansen offers an analysis of how welfare activation policy is framed, critiqued and justified in France and Denmark...Not only is it an excellent piece of empirical research in itself, this book presents an emergent theoretical approach which presents an important contribution and challenge to the existing literature.” Critical Social Policy
“In this well researched and theoretically sophisticated book, Magnus Paulsen Hansen sheds new and important light on the moral economy of activation.” Daniel Béland, McGill University
“This book is an absolutely necessary and vital contribution to comparative and cross-national study into how social policy, obsessed by the idea of activation, became mired in a detailed moralisation of those who are among the most vulnerable to the vagaries of contemporary capitalism, the unemployed.” Mitchell Dean, Copenhagen Business School
"Drawing on French pragmatism in a highly original way, Hansen is able to nuance and shed new light on activation research as we know it. A most welcome contribution!" Kerstin Jacobsson, University of Gothenburg
Magnus Paulsen Hansen is Assistant Professor of Political Sociology at Roskilde University. He specializes in the role of ideas and evaluation in the legitimation of welfare state transformations.
The active turn(s);
PART I: MODELLING;
Tests, compromises and policy change;
Cities of unemployment;
PART II: ACTIVATION REFORMS;
From looking backwards to forwards;
Turning solutions into ‘structural’ problems;
PART III: PATTERNS;