Crafting Local Welfare Landscapes

Duco Bannink, Hans Bosselaar en Willem Trommel (redactie) 9789490947958 | 1e druk, 2013


This book deals with 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’ 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 we observe 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 did not appear to be a political process in the first place. Politics is not fully absent, but a multitude of professional groups (e.g. service providers, managers), and institutional stakeholders (e.g. client groups, interest organizations) takes centre stage. Policy goals, policy content and modes of governance are gradually emerging in what we label ‘crafting practices’. Our study particularly elaborates on crafting challenges: What are the problems that actors have to solve when crafting responses to national policy pressures and searching for viable pathways into local welfare? The study concludes that truly local landscapes are not yet flowering. However, it can be argued, that welfare localization has bred a remarkable and important phenomenon: The rise of the local crafting community.


Academics specialized in the field of public administration, politicology and sociology.


Duco Bannink is a teacher 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.


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