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Title: The Activation Trend in the Portuguese Social Policy. An Open Process?
Authors: Hespanha, Pedro 
Issue Date: Apr-2005
Publisher: Centro de Estudos Sociais
Citation: Oficina do CES. 225 (2005).
Abstract: Until quite recently, activation was an almost unknown concept in Portuguese law and political discourse. But it now pervades the major legal instruments on social protection, such as the 1999 law on protection against unemployment, the 2002 Social Security Law of and the 2003 Social Insertion Income Scheme. Throughout Europe, a growing criticism of ‘passive’ welfare state policies resulted from the inefficiency of social benefit based policies in addressing the persistent risk of insecurity and the new forms of social vulnerability. For this and other reasons, active social policies consisting in programmes capable of being adjusted to individual needs became more and more popular and widespread. At the same time activation came to be the key word in the mobilization of policy users as well as policy services for the new method of intervention. However, activation proved to be a rather ambiguous instrument of policy. Open to the most disparate goals, it can be appropriated by different political and ideological projects at different levels (basic principles, policy making and programme implementation) and assume a more or less compulsory nature. This paper discusses this ambiguity and shows how the increased emphasis put on activation in Portugal has been expedient in attempts to legitimate unpopular neoliberal policies, while for economic, social and political reasons, and especially costs, the compulsory side of activation has been limited.
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CES - Oficina do CES
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