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

Toneelgroep Amsterdam speelde The Fountainhead – een toneelstuk dat ons de zegeningen van de markt zou moeten tonen – op weergaloze wijze. Het verhaal draait om een architect die eigenzinnig zijn gang gaat en zich niet laat leiden door collega’s noch door opdrachtgevers. Hij is de belichaming van de belofte dat de markt bij uitstek ruimte biedt aan originaliteit en creativiteit. Maar de interpretatie door TGA van The Fountainhead was dubbelzinniger: waren de meeste architecten niet erg kameleontisch door precies te doen wat de opdrachtgever vroeg? Is marktconformiteit niet veeleer een garantie voor uniformiteit? Wordt de eigenzinnige enkeling niet weggedrukt door de markt?

Lees de column De markt van de minste weerstand op Niemandsland

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.’

Engaging citizens: local interactions, policy discourse and courses of protest against mobile phone cell site deployment


Bröer, C., M. B. de Graaff, J. W. Duyvendak & R. A. Wester (2016) Engaging citizens: local interactions, policy discourse and courses of protest against mobile phone cell site deployment, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, DOI:10.1080/23254823.2016.1201427

This article puts forward an interactionist discourse approach for studying the course of local political protest. We argue that how local policy-makers engage with the (anticipated) demands of citizens and mediate national policy produces distinct framing and feeling rules about potentially controversial issues. These framing and feeling rules open up or close down opportunities for citizen concerns to develop into collective action and policy change. Our contribution refines cultural approaches to social movement theory, focusing on local interactions in the formation of discourse, and allows us to better understand within-country variation in the course of contentious collective action. We develop our argument through a comparison of sixteen cases of installing mobile phone cell sites in the Netherlands. We show that the interaction between municipalities and citizens establishes a specific framing of the issue, of the role of citizens in decision-making and of the rules concerning what citizens may legitimately feel about mobile phone masts being erected in their neighbourhoods. This gives rise to four typical patterns of engagement between municipalities and citizens.


Limits to protest: depoliticization, technological innovation and civic affect

June 29th,  Universiteitstheater 3.01, June 28th 2016, 16:30 – 18:00, drinks after.

How does protest come about? When and how do contentious publics emerge, and when do they fail to do so? In the context of Prof. dr. Jan Willem Duyvendak’s faculty professorship ‘Emotions & Institutions’ during this afternoon we invite you to discuss with us the emergence of protest movements, or rather, why sometimes contentious collective action does not come about. 

Bert de Graaff will elaborate on his PhD thesis, which shows how the rather steadfast worry of citizens around a specific technological innovation, mobile phone cell sites, is prolonged by specific policy practices which try to subdue it. A vicious cycle of feedback between citizens’ concerns and policy creation comes about which ensures that people continue to treat the installation of antennas for mobile phones with extreme caution. In reaction, Sander van Haperen and Davide Beraldo will take-up the perspective offered through their respective PhD researches which, instead, focus on successful mobilizations, in terms of network-building and scaling up, where the adoption of new technological devices, such as social media, proves to be critical. Imrat Verhoeven will briefly reflect on the three speakers’ contributions.

For more information, and to register please send an email to Yoren Lausberg at Y.A.lausberg@uva.nl

Giving History its Place in Migration & Refugee Debates & Research

imageIn the current debates concerning refugees, we observe, in some European countries, at least three ways in which history tends to ‘disappear’:
(1) the past is either absent because it is unknown (it thus looks as if we have never dealt with refugees before…)
(2) actual developments are put in a quasi-historical perspective, by claiming that certain countries have always known certain types of policies, resulting in a rather static and a-historical picture as well;
(3) migrants are urged to leave their histories home.

This seminar will look into ways to do ‘justice’ to history, both in the political debate and in scholarly work.

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.

Zijn kleinere concepten niet een veel groter probleem?

soc15xx_cover_voorstel6Over nut en nadeel van de sociologie voor het leven is een mooi én moeilijk boek. Het is mooi, omdat Willem Schinkel een geleerd boek heeft geschreven. Het getuigt van, zoals hij zelf – met iets te veel bescheidenheid – zegt, ‘geleerde onwetend‐ heid.’ Het is een geleerd boek in de letterlijke zin: we kunnen er veel van leren, we worden wijzer van Schinkels belezenheid en zijn vermogen om ons mee te voeren in daarvoor ongekende werelden. Het is ook een mooi en belangrijk boek, omdat hij ons laat zien dat er geen tegenstelling bestaat tussen ‘alledaagsheid’ en ‘abstracties’, maar dat we in en met ‘alledaagse abstracties’ leven, bijvoorbeeld wanneer we concepten gebruiken als ‘samenleving’, ‘maatschappij’, ‘individu’ of ‘moderniteit’.

Lees het artikel