‘The will to not be empowered (according to your rules)’ : Resistance in Finnish participatory social policy
Meriluoto, T. (2019). ‘The will to not be empowered (according to your rules)’ : Resistance in Finnish participatory social policy. Critical Social Policy, 39 (1), 87-107. doi:10.1177/0261018318764322
Published inCritical Social Policy
© The Author(s) 2018. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by SAGE. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Participation has increasingly become a means and an end for successful and ‘empowering’ social policy. Building on previous governmentality critiques of participatory initiatives, this article investigates practices of resistance in the context of Finnish participatory social policy. I adopt a Foucauldian counter-conducts approach as my lens to study critical speech as a form of resistance in initiatives that invite marginalised people as ‘experts-by-experience’ in social welfare organisations. I illustrate how practices of governing and resistance are intertwined and mutually dependent in a much subtler and more practical manner than allows the often-used analytical dichotomy between dominance and empowerment. As an example, I show how the projects’ attempts to co-opt the participants’ critical speech may also serve as the basis for their subversive self-making and means of ‘being differently’.
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