The project will investigate the links between the administrative structure of social security - especially the varying role accorded to organised actors from civil society therein - and the scope for and development of the activation of social benefits. These are two themes that are at the centre of current debates on the evolution of the European social model, but are rarely considered in terms of their inter-relationship. The inter-disciplinary research seeks to build on a series of empirically generated and theoretically informed hypotheses about disinter-relationship by subjecting them to closer empirical scrutiny. The empirical strategy will involve widening prior research on the French and British cases to look at a carefully selected third case, the Netherlands. It will also involve deepening the existing research by testing hypotheses against empirical data from different sources: semi-structured interviews with policy actors, expenditure and caseload data on the evolution of activation policies, and published policy debates, statements and consultations. The implementation of the project will enhance the substantive expertise and methodological repertoire of the researcher, while cementing existing collaborative networks of comparative welfare state research in Europe. The dissemination of findings will seek to encourage greater reflection on the relationship between procedural models of social security administration and the pursuit of substantive policy aims, such as activation, in the European Union. By investigating the links between forms of social administration, the constitution of social rights and the uneven development of new social policies, the research will contribute to priority European research on relationships between citizenship, democracy and forms of governance in the social domain.
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