This paper will show that civilising offensives of the upper middle class and the labour movement elite in twentieth-century
Holland often led to social exclusion of certain segments of ‘the common people’. Instead of culturally ‘uplifting’ them as
was the stated intention, in some cases the efforts proved to be disciplining missions aimed at containing the lowest classes.
In many instances, these moralist actions had negative social consequences. Rather than (re)integrating those who were regarded
as onaangepasten (maladapted people), they were often stigmatised and marginalised as second-rate citizens, who were literally
banished to the societal periphery. Obviously, less extreme forms of civilising offensives also existed, but these, too, were
usually about disciplining rather than enlightening.
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