This book looks at a remarkable trend in contemporary social policy: the localization of welfare. In many of the modern welfare states, governments have started to shift responsibilities for welfare policy and governance to the local level, giving way to a transformation 'from welfare states to welfare cities.' Today, welfare policies have 'preparing' objectives rather than 'repairing' objectives. Strong institutional presence in the daily living environment of citizens seems a prerequisite for activating welfare policy. The main objective of this study is to understand how welfare cities operate. What has been observed are national efforts to create an open institutional space for local actors to develop 'localized' trajectories for social policy and governance. Drawing on two crucial Dutch cases, this appeared not a political process in the first place. Politics is not fully absent, but center stage stands a multitude of professional groups (e.g. service providers, managers), and institutional stakeholders (e.g. client groups, interest organizations). Policy goals, policy content, and modes of governance are gradually emerging in what is labeled 'crafting practices.' The book particularly elaborates on crafting challenges: which are the problems that actors have to solve when crafting responses to national policy pressures, searching for viable pathways into local welfare? The study concludes that truly local landscapes are not flowering yet. It can be argued, though, that welfare localization has bred a remarkable and important phenomenon, the rise of the local crafting community.
Duco Bannink is a professor at the VU University in Amsterdam. Hans Bosselaar is an academic manager at the VU University in Amsterdam. Willem Trommel is a professor at the VU University in Amsterdam.
Introduction; 1. A Study into Welfare Localization; Part I - Challenges of Local Welfare Crafting; 2. The Crafting of Local Activation Landscapes in the Netherlands. A Micro-Institutionalist Perspective; 3. Governability, after a Fashion. Why the Capacity to Govern Local Welfare Cannot Be Taken for Granted; 4. Activated and Autonomous?; 5. Localized Crafting. Management Tools Responding to a Double Management Challenge; Part II - Case studies; 6. Local Welfare and Activation in the Netherlands. Introduction to Part II; 7. Localized Process. The Social Assistance Case; 8. Local Welfare Landscapes. The Case of Social Care in the Netherlands; 9 Do Local Landscapes Emerge? Reflecting on Local Welfare Crafting in the Netherlands; Part III - Conclusion; 10. The Birth of the Crafting Community.