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Pawns or pioneers? The logic of user participation in anti-poverty policy making in public policy units in Belgium

Griet Roets (UGent) , Rudi Roose (UGent) , Maria De Bie (UGent) , Lien Claes (UGent) and Geert Van Hove (UGent)
(2012) SOCIAL POLICY & ADMINISTRATION. 46(7). p.807-822
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Abstract
Since anti-poverty policy-making in Belgium is embedded in a logic of user participation, social policy has shown interest in employing users with experience of poverty as experts in public policy units in order to implement and monitor anti-poverty policies. In this article, we discuss this recent development as a relevant case for contemporary public service delivery in the European context. In the light of the ambiguous practices of user participation in Belgium, the enacted logic of involving service users in public service delivery is discussed, and potential risks and opportunities identified: do these individuals function as pawns or as pioneers? In search of opportunities for the implementation of anti-poverty policies, we explore different ways in which public policy units can act upon the participation of employed service users in public service delivery. On the level of public service delivery, we argue that the participation of expert users risks their use as a mere blind, de-responsibilizing those who work in public policy units in providing high-quality services and being responsive to all service users including those living in poverty. On the level of these individual experts, we argue that the employed service users risk becoming pawns, acquiring a tragic-optimistic outlook on life. We conclude that enabling service users to participate as pioneers requires the joint and mutual responsibility of the employed service users and those who work in public policy units for implementing and monitoring anti-poverty strategies rather than exclusive responsibility assigned to individual service users.
Keywords
Tragic optimism, User participation, Belgium, Anti-poverty policy, WELFARE, KNOWLEDGE, POVERTY, RECOGNITION, EMPOWERMENT, SERVICES, SOCIAL-WORK, Public policy units

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MLA
Roets, Griet, Rudi Roose, Maria De Bie, et al. “Pawns or Pioneers? The Logic of User Participation in Anti-poverty Policy Making in Public Policy Units in Belgium.” SOCIAL POLICY & ADMINISTRATION 46.7 (2012): 807–822. Print.
APA
Roets, G., Roose, R., De Bie, M., Claes, L., & Van Hove, G. (2012). Pawns or pioneers? The logic of user participation in anti-poverty policy making in public policy units in Belgium. SOCIAL POLICY & ADMINISTRATION, 46(7), 807–822.
Chicago author-date
Roets, Griet, Rudi Roose, Maria De Bie, Lien Claes, and Geert Van Hove. 2012. “Pawns or Pioneers? The Logic of User Participation in Anti-poverty Policy Making in Public Policy Units in Belgium.” Social Policy & Administration 46 (7): 807–822.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Roets, Griet, Rudi Roose, Maria De Bie, Lien Claes, and Geert Van Hove. 2012. “Pawns or Pioneers? The Logic of User Participation in Anti-poverty Policy Making in Public Policy Units in Belgium.” Social Policy & Administration 46 (7): 807–822.
Vancouver
1.
Roets G, Roose R, De Bie M, Claes L, Van Hove G. Pawns or pioneers? The logic of user participation in anti-poverty policy making in public policy units in Belgium. SOCIAL POLICY & ADMINISTRATION. 2012;46(7):807–22.
IEEE
[1]
G. Roets, R. Roose, M. De Bie, L. Claes, and G. Van Hove, “Pawns or pioneers? The logic of user participation in anti-poverty policy making in public policy units in Belgium,” SOCIAL POLICY & ADMINISTRATION, vol. 46, no. 7, pp. 807–822, 2012.
@article{3079412,
  abstract     = {Since anti-poverty policy-making in Belgium is embedded in a logic of user participation, social policy has shown interest in employing users with experience of poverty as experts in public policy units in order to implement and monitor anti-poverty policies. In this article, we discuss this recent development as a relevant case for contemporary public service delivery in the European context. In the light of the ambiguous practices of user participation in Belgium, the enacted logic of involving service users in public service delivery is discussed, and potential risks and opportunities identified: do these individuals function as pawns or as pioneers? In search of opportunities for the implementation of anti-poverty policies, we explore different ways in which public policy units can act upon the participation of employed service users in public service delivery. On the level of public service delivery, we argue that the participation of expert users risks their use as a mere blind, de-responsibilizing those who work in public policy units in providing high-quality services and being responsive to all service users including those living in poverty. On the level of these individual experts, we argue that the employed service users risk becoming pawns, acquiring a tragic-optimistic outlook on life. We conclude that enabling service users to participate as pioneers requires the joint and mutual responsibility of the employed service users and those who work in public policy units for implementing and monitoring anti-poverty strategies rather than exclusive responsibility assigned to individual service users.},
  author       = {Roets, Griet and Roose, Rudi and De Bie, Maria and Claes, Lien and Van Hove, Geert},
  issn         = {0144-5596},
  journal      = {SOCIAL POLICY & ADMINISTRATION},
  keywords     = {Tragic optimism,User participation,Belgium,Anti-poverty policy,WELFARE,KNOWLEDGE,POVERTY,RECOGNITION,EMPOWERMENT,SERVICES,SOCIAL-WORK,Public policy units},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {807--822},
  title        = {Pawns or pioneers? The logic of user participation in anti-poverty policy making in public policy units in Belgium},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.111/j.1467-9515.2012.00847.x},
  volume       = {46},
  year         = {2012},
}

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