- Citizenship in the Netherlands: locally produced, nationally contested
- Citizenship Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 15 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The Netherlands is often considered an extreme example of individualism and multiculturalism, two factors that many politicians and social scientists consider to be the main causes for the alleged decline in citizenship. In this paper, we examine Dutch citizens' conceptions of citizenship to test these negative expectations. We found the fear that a modern, individualistic, and diverse citizenry only care for their own rights to be misplaced; citizens were willing to exert effort to uphold the society they live in. Their efforts, however, were conditional upon returns in terms of a responsive government and in improvements to their individual lives. Communitarian, local, and rather submissive notions of citizenship were deeply shared - with a liberal twist among many migrants. We also found that ‘nationalist’ republican notions of citizenship awaken latent uncertainties and divisions among citizens rather than creating ‘new’ unity. This imagination of citizenship leaves Dutch society wanting for the deliberative, political elements of citizenship.
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