Van Carnisse naar Cool


Deze stadswandeling heb ik in 2015 uitgezet voor criminologiestudenten in het kader van een mastervak over veiligheidsbeleid in grote steden (Universiteit Leiden). De wandeling is geïnspireerd op de stadssociologische wandeling die hoort bij het boek ‘De verborgen stad, de zeven gezichten van Rotterdam’, samengesteld door Godfried Engbersen en Jack Burgers (Amsterdam University Press, 2001).

De wandeling (duur circa 2 uur) start in een van de ‘aandachtswijken’ in Rotterdam-Zuid en eindigt in een van de hipste straten in het centrum van Rotterdam.

Download de stadswandeling (pdf) hier.


Pardon for productive members of society

barrier (hawksanddoves flickr)

The governor of New York, Mr. Cuomo, last month announced a pardon for thousands of people who were convicted of nonviolent crimes when they were 16 or 17 years old, but have in ten or more years thereafter not been convicted for other crimes. The pardon aims to remove the barriers that people who are convicted face to get a job. People would still answer ‘yes’ to the question about past conviction on application forms, but can show documentation that they have a pardon for that offence.

It is a ‘step forward for juvenile offenders’, indeed, as the New York Times’ editorial stated: ‘The plan is welcome news to those who have been shut out of jobs and otherwise marginalized because of minor offenses committed when they were still young.’

However, it could be far more helpful for those who have been unable to get jobs, if the pardon did not require that people prove they are ‘productive members of society’ already. To be eligible,

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Psycho-compulsion in Dutch workfare

smiley mock graffiti (wwwuppertal flickr)

I wrote an opinion article for the blog Sargasso in response to a recent documentary on the workfare programme in Rotterdam, the article (in Dutch) can be read here: De tegenprestatie en de psychodwang van de social dienst. Below you can read it in English.

De documentary (watch it here) shows us how case managers at Social Services engage with their ‘clients’. We see a worker trying to encourage an unemployed man: ‘From now on we’re going to think in solutions, not in problems’, she says, and: ‘Let’s keep the problem with ourselves.’ When she later gets up to print the so-called agreements form she says, making enthusiastic arm movements, ‘Hundred per cent, right?’.

Another worker suggest that work experience is not required for doing production work and delivering mail, and says – fists swinging – to the unemployed man sitting opposite of him: ‘You’ve got to show you have guts!’ A 60-year-old man tries to foster compassion, it’s a ‘difficult age’ for finding a job. Yes, the worker answers, ‘but we can’t give up.’ Later in the documentary we hear a worker say that it’s important to look to the future, because ‘What do you want to focus on, something you can’t change, or something you can change?’


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A new aristocracy

aristocracy (carreragt flickr)

The Dutch minister of Education, Science and Culture recently wrote about the value of higher education:

Higher education prepares the leaders of the future. Leaders, not in the sense of rulers, but in the sense of value conveyors. People such as teachers, judges, nurses and architects. A democracy as we have in our country exists by virtue of people who think about what kind of community we want to be. People who set the tone in how we interact with each other in society, what we find important and which choices follow from this. Higher education should not just prepare for making those choices, but also for leading and focusing the debat about this. (my translaton, Dutch text here)

In a Dutch opinion article I called into question the minister’s aristocratic vision. The minister is basically advocating what has been dubbed by Mark Bovens the ‘diploma democracy‘: a society ‘ruled by the well educated, the citizens with college and graduate diplomas, whereas the least educated tend to be absent in most political arenas.’ I think it can also be argued that we’re seeing an explicit return to an aristocracy (which literally means ‘rule by the best’, whoever the ‘best’ may be).


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Twee tandenborstels en halve vrijheid

toothbrushes in love (pickerel Flickr)

Een vrouw en man (of een man en een man, of een vrouw en een vrouw) worden verliefd, en brengen gaandeweg meer tijd met elkaar door, tot ze onafscheidelijk zijn. Op een bepaald moment besluiten ze een tweede tandenborstel in de badkamer van hun geliefde achter te laten en wat ruimte te maken in hun kledingkast voor wat kleren van de ander.

Maar stel dat ze minder geluk hebben in hun werksituatie en daarom beiden een uitkering ontvangen. Dan moeten ze hun nieuwe geliefde niet alleen introduceren aan familie en vrienden maar ook aan hun casemanager van de sociale dienst. Doen ze dat niet, dan plegen ze fraude.

Tandenborstel verstoppen?

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