Contested Identities at a Global Hub: The Western Identity and the Legitimate Spectrum of the OECD Activation Policy Repertoire

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Gal ZOHAR, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
The following research lays emphasis on sifting out of a spectrum of policy alternatives by following the OECD policy recommendations in a specific field - The Activation Policy - throughout the last three decades (1983-2012). The framing process of this policy, which seeks to make citizens active partners in an effort to return them to salaried employment, in the main by conditioning their eligibility for state assistance, did not take place in a vacuum but were constituted by the changing geopolitical context. More specifically, the collapse of the Cold-War world order was an epistemological rupture (coupure épistémologique) which burst out concealed American-European tensions under a common Western identity.

This new contestation on redefining the Western identity has been one of most constitutive forces behind the sifting-out of boundaries of possible activation policy repertoire. While this activation policy’s repertoire gone through a few patterns of change – especially during the 1990s - this geopolitical contestation has been constituted the activation policy of the last two decades. In that sense, this employment related policy is not just a narrow social policy issue, but one that incorporate a broader geopolitical context.

Therefore, this research relies on institutional literature, particularly by focusing on the multiplicity of institutional logics and their long-term evolution processes. Nonetheless, In order to explain a multiplicity of logics, not as sporadic and disparate but as a holistic set – or repertoire – it is important to understand what binds them together. It is the well-developed literature of identity work that enables us to understand these underlying forces