To be Dutch, or not to be

Essay met Josip Kesic in De Groene Amsterdammer

“Niet alleen de VVD en de PVV benadrukken in hun verkiezings-programma’s het ‘typisch Nederlandse’, ook de progressieve partijen doen dat.

We hadden beter kunnen weten. Wie zich verbaasde over de lompheid waarmee premier Rutte in zijn brief aan ‘alle Nederlanders’ onderscheid maakt tussen ‘gewone’ Nederlanders en anderen (die terug moeten naar hun ‘eigen land’ als ze niet normaal doen), had blijkbaar het vvd-verkiezingsprogramma gemist. Daaruit spreekt namelijk een obsessie met Nederland en ‘Nederlandsheid’: er staat maar liefst 361 keer dat iets (typisch) Nederlands is. Een paar voorbeelden: ‘De typisch Nederlandse onverzettelijkheid – verantwoordelijkheid nemen als het even tegen zit – juist in moeilijke tijden’; ‘Optimistische en nuchtere Nederlanders die van aanpakken weten en waarde hechten aan onze typisch Nederlandse manier van leven’; ‘Typisch Nederlands, elkaar steunen als het moeilijk is.’ ”

Lees het artikel

Experiential knowledge as a resource for coping with uncertainty: evidence and examples from the Netherlands

Baillergeau, E. & J.W. Duyvenchrs20-v018-i05-06-coverdak (2016): Experiential knowledge as a resource for coping with uncertainty: evidence and examples from the Netherlands, Health, Risk & Society, DOI: 10.1080/13698575.2016.1269878

‘In this article, we examine how experiential knowledge is used in areas such as mental health care and youth policy and how it relates to the dominant form of knowledge that underpins these policy areas, ‘expert knowledge’. Experiential knowledge is sometimes considered a resource that helps people in vulnerable situations respond to uncertain futures. Although frequently undervalued, experiential knowledge is involved in multifaceted responses to situations imbued with uncertainty. In this article, we examine the nature of experiential knowledge as a resource and develop a typology of experiential knowledge drawing on existing studies. Experiential knowledge is not merely ‘lay beliefs and fallacies’ that holders of expert knowledge should be aware of so that they can better implement top-down strategies; it reflects lived experiences that are difficult for outsiders to capture. In the Netherlands, the rise of lived experience as a resource for intervention was born through the critique of the hegemonic power of ‘expert knowledge’ and as policymakers recognised the potential contribution of ‘experiential experts’ in shaping responses to situations characterised by high uncertainty. In such situations policymakers can draw on insights into the experience of usually silent stakeholders: people deemed at risk. In this article, we also highlight tensions related to these particular multifaceted responses, suggesting that experiential knowledge is viewed with ambivalence by some other stakeholders.’

Engineering community spirit. Article in Citizenship Studies

ccst20-v021-i01-coverDe Wilde, M. & Duyvendak, J.W. (2016) Engineering community spirit. The pre-figurative politics of affective citizenship in Dutch local governance. Citizenship Studies. 20 (8): 973-993, DOI: 10.1080/13621025.2016.1229194

‘Over the past two decades, communitarian criticisms of the lack of public engagement and a sense of local belonging have inspired extensive debates across Western Europe on how best to govern deprived urban neighbourhoods. One governmental strategy has been to engineer neighbourhood communities as localised, collective spheres of belonging. In this article, we show how ‘governing through affect’ has been part of Dutch neighbourhood policy since the turn of the millennium. Through an in-depth study of a community participation programme in a deprived Amsterdam neighbourhood, we analyse how policy practitioners use ‘sensitising policy techniques’ to enhance social cohesion and encourage communitarian citizenship among neighbourhood residents. Although governments often speak of ‘communities’ as self-evident entities, we argue that communities are better understood as enactments where discourses of neighbourliness, proximity, intimacy and familiarity encourage a localised, collective sense of belonging – a governmental strategy that mimics the ‘pre-figurative’ politics of radical social movements.’

Social inequality and young people in Europe: their capacity to aspire

world-social-science-report-2016-challenging-inequalities-pathways-to-a-just-world-2016-245825eArticle in World Social Science Report (UNESCO)
Evelyne Baillergeau and Jan Willem Duyvendak

Diverse resources can be used to achieve social position. While we immediately think of material, economic resources in this context, there are others as well, notably aspirations. As a projection of the self in a desirable future, aspirations are inspiring emotions that guide individuals’ commitments, whether these relate to work, school, sport or citizenship. Aspirations draw upon personal characteristics and preferences, but they are also socially constrained. They depend on which opportunities are available,
the future that is imagined and desired as a result of these opportunities, and thus, on the choices that can be made. As such, aspirations are affected by social inequality. As aspirations can influence future achievement, differences in aspirations can contribute to deepening social inequality, and can trigger corrosive disadvantage. Endeavours to research social inequality should therefore consider the social processes through which young people’s aspirations develop and crystallize.

Read the article or read the book (pdf)

The Culturalization of Citizenship. Belonging and Polarization in a Globalizing World

9781137534095Jan Willem Duyvendak, Peter Geschiere, Evelien Tonkens (Eds.)

New edited book at Palgrave Macmillan

Presentation on October 18th, SPUI25: Gender, sexuality and belonging in a globalizing world

The notion of citizenship has gradually evolved from being simply a legal status or practice to a deep sentiment. Belonging, or feeling at home, has become a requirement. This groundbreaking book analyzes how ‘feeling rules’ are developed and applied to migrants, who are increasingly expected to express feelings of attachment, belonging, connectedness and loyalty to their new country. More than this, however, it demonstrates how this culturalization of citizenship is a global trend with local variations, which develop in relation to each other. The authors pay particular attention to the intersection between sexuality, race and ethnicity, spurred on by their awareness of the dialectical construction of homosexuality, held up as representative of liberal Western values by both those in the West and by African leaders, who use such claims as proof that homosexuality is un-African.

Roep om respect. Ervaringen van werklozen in een meritocratiserende samenleving

Versie 2‘Succes heb je zelf in de hand; falen is je eigen schuld.’ Dat is het ideaalbeeld van de prestatiesamenleving, waar alleen talent en inzet tellen. Winnaars in de competitie om maatschappelijk succes hebben een goedbetaalde baan die hun status en waardering verschaft. Maar waaraan ontlenen werklozen in activeringsprogramma’s waardering als ze er ondanks al hun pogingen niet in slagen een betaalde baan te vinden? Hoe schermen ze zich af tegen het negatieve stereotype beeld van de ‘luie profiteur’, en hoe bestendigen zij hun zelfrespect? Judith Elshout laat in een rijke empirische studie zien dat dat voor hen een hele worsteling is. Ze onderschrijven de meritocratische waarden als ze hun falen wijten aan gebrek aan inzet in het verleden of als ze een scherpe scheidslijn trekken tussen actieve en inactieve werklozen. Maar ze verwerpen die waarden ook door aan onbetaald (vrijwilligers)werk een hogere morele waarde toe te kennen. Toch is ook voor hen een ‘echte’ baan een betaalde baan. Niet alleen vanwege de geldelijke beloning, maar vooral ook door de symbolische betekenissen die aan ‘loon’ verbonden zijn. Kennis van die betekenissen helpt om de gevoelshuishouding van werklozen beter te begrijpen.

Lees de online versie of bestel het boek.

The Pitfalls of Normalization: The Dutch Case and the Future of Equality

9781479883080_FullChapter in After Marriage Equality: The Future of LGBT Rights (New York University Press, 2016)

Order here with 20% discount

Reviews about the book:

“Important and timely. . . . It asks precisely the right question at precisely the right time. And, thanks to Carlos A. Ball’s careful work and exceptional reputation, it solicits the views of some of the most important scholars working on these questions across a range of disciplines.”

—Douglas NeJaime, University of California, Los Angeles


“What a timely and impressive collection this is! . . . Asks  important and timely questions about the future of the LGBT movement and addresses them with analytical rigor and insight. Assuming that same-sex marriage is legalized in the United States, just what would this development mean for the future of the LGBT movement in the United States and globally? And what important organizing and policy work will still need to be accomplished? What challenges should be prioritized and why? This book interrogates these questions and more from an array of diverse perspectives and it should be of interest to teachers, scholars, activists, and citizens. It is an invaluable contribution to the literature.”

—Craig Rimmerman, Hobart and William Smith Colleges


“Terrific!  Ball’s book is a gift to readers interested in LGBT rights and many critical social and civil rights questions of our time.  Its outstanding collection of expert authors advances a well-rounded and well-grounded interdisciplinary framework for thinking about the future.”

—Suzanne B. Goldberg, Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia University


“Written for students, activists, and academics alike, this highly readable and engaging collection takes on the most important question now facing the LGBT movement—now that we have marriage equality, where should we go from here? All the contributors are long-time analysts of the LGBT movement and provide a unique vantage point from which to assess the future directions of the LGBT movement. They provide not only their analysis, but their advice for the future, which should make this mandatory reading for anyone who cares about the future of LGBT politics.”

—Mary Bernstein, University of Connecticut

Anti-nationalist nationalism: the paradox of Dutch national identity


Kešić, J. & J.W. Duyvendak (2016) Anti-nationalist nationalism: the paradox of Dutch national identityNations and Nationalism, 22 (3), pp. 581-597, DOI: 10.1111/nana.12187

Academic research on contemporary Dutch nationalism has mainly fo- cused on its overt, xenophobic and chauvinist manifestations, which have become normalised since the early 2000s. As a result, less radical, more nuanced versions of Dutch nationalism have been overlooked. This article attempts to fill this gap by draw- ing attention to a peculiar self-image among Dutch progressive intellectuals we call anti-nationalist nationalism. Whereas this self-image has had a long history as banal nationalism, it has come to be employed more explicitly for political positioning in an intensified nationalist climate. By dissecting it into its three constitutive dimensions – constructivism, lightness and essentialism – we show how this image of Dutchness is evoked precisely through the simultaneous rejection of ‘bad’ and enactment of ‘good’ nationalism. More generally, this article provides a nuanced understanding of contem- porary Dutch nationalism. It also challenges prevalent assumptions in nationalism studies by showing that post-modern anti-nationalism does not exclude but rather con- stitutes essentialist nationalism.