Daan Tielenburg – This research is concerned with experiences and expectations of welfare recipients regarding the recent proposal in several municipalities in the Netherlands to alleviate the conditions that are attached to welfare. Through a theoretical consideration of a basic income and its premises, the case is made to take into account both the principles upon which a policy justifies itself, and the social context in which these principles become embedded. This means that, to get a clear picture of the principles of justice upon which this policy proposal is based, a discursive analysis of the proposal is conducted. Besides that, through an extensive examination of the lifeworld of welfare recipients, both by interviews and participant observation within the ‘Bijstandsbond’, the social context in which these principles become embedded is sketched. Instead of only focusing on the effect that this interaction could have for welfare recipients, this research also adopts a perspective on the future. In trying to disclose the future as an epistemological domain that has the potential to reveal implicit critiques of the present, this research explores in what ways certain alternative discourses have been silenced, and what these discourses say about the underlying mechanisms that produce present subjectivities. This research thus ultimately tries to shed light on the possible implications that the unconditional social welfare can have for the group of welfare recipients themselves, while at the same time it tries to probe and explore a methodological shift from past to future.
(Credits illustratie: D Sharon Pruitt, via Wikimedia Commons)