The activation-based intervention paradigm is being adopted by several European countries resulting in major reforms to the social welfare system. The spread of the activation paradigm has had major repercussions, not only for welfare interventions aimed at combating unemployment, but also for the political regulation of the social question and citizenship. Citizenship is being redefined in contractual terms and greater emphasis is being placed on its economic aspects. Nevertheless, a wide range of policies are labelled with recourse to this interpretative framework and a pluralistic approach to implementation could serve just as well to empower as to weaken workers’/citizens’ position in society.
This book analyses the extent of these changes from a cross-cultural perspective. Institutional settings as well as prevailing work values and social representation of social exclusion (activation regimes) have a key role in defining the instruments to be used in national activation strategies to regulate the behaviour of job seekers. In this book, a discussion about the range of social welfare model reforms throughout Europe and a typology of activation regimes is proposed.