Browsing by Subject "actually existing neoliberalism"

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  • Haikkola, Lotta (2019)
    Activation policies form the core of employment policies in most OECD countries. They are part of 'active' welfare states and associated neoliberal forms of governance that seek to govern through freedom by producing self-governing and responsible subjectivities. Ethnographies of governmentalities have been used in the research reported in this article to examine if and how such subjectivities are put in practice in street-level encounters in local welfare delivery. Based on an ethnographic research of youth services in the Public Employment Services (PES) in Helsinki, Finland, it is shown that despite the policy focus on active citizenship the street-level practice entails not only liberal ideas of self-governing individuals but also authoritarian measures. What is governed in the meetings is not the young people's selves but their time and behaviour. In the process, the notion of active citizenship is emptied and transformed to mean participation in supervised activities offered by the PES. Such practice also reworks the temporal structures and creates insecure and eventful experience of time for PES clients. In contrast to governing through freedom, the localized interpretation of activation policies represents the authoritarian and paternalistic side of neoliberal governance.