Service Contracting and the New Politics of Welfare Provision in China
The London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
Over the past a few decades there has been a rapid growth of demands of welfare services in China, as well as an increasing recognition of the importance of civic participation. To respond to these, the Chinese government has rolled out a national programme of contracting services to NGO since 2013, which introduces civic forces into welfare provision and local governance. This has complicated the politics of engagement especially at the practical level.
Drawing upon an ongoing ESRC-funded research on service contracting to NGOs in China in three sectors, namely, migrant workers, people living with HIV/AIDs, and with disabilities, this paper presents how local commonality is being defined and contested by the new methods of welfare provision. These include:1) a top-down governmental implementation of the contracting policy, during which different levels of government and various departments prioritise their own interests; 2) the transformation of social organizations’ targets, mission and vision as they become front-line service providers; 3) the intervention of academic forces, local communities and enterprises, which play a more dominant role when civic organisations have not been well developed; and 4) the marginalization of individual citizens/service users, who seldom had opportunities to make their voices heard.
The Voices In The Plural Of Syrian Refugees Students: Groping (Un) Known Arenas
1University of Évora; 2CICS.NOVA; 3Políticas Públicas e Dinâmicas Sociais
The public arena observes the rise of voices, previously hushed, crying out for recognition. "The political and moral voices arose, inevitably, from an appeal to the virtues of citizenship and to the call to responsibility " (Caetano, 2014). These multiple voices claim a better intercultural interlocution. Other voices, which also invest in this arena, oppose such actions. In these multiple moments the public arena is constituted (Cefaï, 2011). Multiple voices echo in the public arena. Others remain silent. Others avoid competing for their place. They get involved in acquainted and nearby spaces. Portugal has been welcoming innumerable immigrants and refugees. The voices are now multiplying and entering the public arena to be listened to. This communication intends, on one hand, to discuss theoretically the very construction of the public arena, raising the questioning about the requirement of the participation of the various existing voices; on the other hand, to question the making of the commonality of these multiple voices (Thévenot, 2014), from the figure of the foreigner, represented by the person of the Syrian refugees who study in Lisbon and Évora. In the follow-up to this intention, the communication also questions about the problems arising from these interlocutions between the existing arenas and the voices that dwell in them, concerning the corporality of the Syrian alien refugee in the figure of university student.
Key words: public arena; multiple voices; Commonality Foreign
“Giving a Voice”: Negotiating Political Engagement between Civil Society Organizations and Young Immigrants in a Liberal Democratic Context
Ghent University, Belgium
As part of current migration processes, there is burgeoning scholarly interest in the political practices of non-citizens. While some scholars scrutinize the subversive potential of “acts of citizenship” (Isin) by non-citizens, prefiguring radically different modes of political organization, attention should also be drawn to more institutionalized processes of political socialization of immigrants, as aspiring citizens within the receiving nations. In light of critical scholarship that considers citizenship a disciplinary technology of in- and exclusion, advocating full participation on behalf of and by immigrants involves complex processes of negotiation and legitimation of desired/effective forms of ‘becoming political’. To gain a more systematic and in-depth insight in the actual process of political socialization of immigrants, we conducted an ethnographic study of a project of a Belgian NGO specifically aimed at stimulating political engagement among young immigrants. Based on 2,5 years of participant observation and 23 in-depth interviews, we scrutinize what kind of political engagement the organization and the participants aim at. Building on Lichterman and Eliasoph’s (2004) civic action approach, we analyse how different legitimations are constructed and negotiated through different scene styles. We reveal tensions between the styles of the organization and of the participants and within the group of participants itself. In the beginning, the majority of the participants are less directed at radical political actions but instead are focused on having fun, sharing experiences, and helping others in order to deal with the difficult circumstances of their liminal situation. Thereafter, we observe shifting styles through participation in the project.
On The Translation Of Citizen Needs Across Regimes Of Engagement - Co-Production In Cross-Sectorial Collaborations
Aalborg University, Denmark
In the wake of the polyphonic critique of the New Public Management paradigm launched by academics, public employees and politicians alike, notions of trust-based governance, actively engaged citizens and cross-sectorial organizing have gained political momentum and caused ambiguous concepts like co-production and co-creation to resurface along with their promises of democratic, innovative and cost-efficient public services. While the role and representation of citizens in the provision of public services have received ample scholarly attention, the representation of citizens in cross-sector collaboration needs further exploring. More specifically, we need more empirical evidence on whether and how the ideal of representation and active participation in practice extends to citizens without the cognitive or deliberative skills necessary to access, navigate and influence the spaces where policy is planned and justified. Based on a qualitative research project that study the role of vulnerable elderly citizens and refugees in cross-sector co-production between public and civil society agents this paper contributes knowledge on the topic. With the work on plural cognitive formats and regimes of engagement by Laurent Thévenot as orienting framework, we trace how the needs of citizens without resources to engage in public justification travel from the familiar to the public regime of engagement by way of volunteers and front-line staff who attempt to translate individual needs into causes for collective coordination in public spaces. Based on interviews, observations and document analysis, we then develop a repertoire of inter-, or intra-organizational blockages and facilitators that hamper or sustain cross-regime and cross-sector translations