chapter  8
Cultures of Unemployment
WithGodfried Engbersen, Kees Schuyt, Jaap Timmer, Frans van Waarden, William Julius Wilson
Pages 31

In the Netherlands, the patterns and configurations of long-term unemployment have been multifarious. A far less homogeneous description could be written of the long-term unemployed in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Enschede than of the unemployed residents of the Austrian town of Marienthal at the start of the 1930s. Differences have been noted earlier in the ways unemployed individuals cope with work, time, money and welfare dependency. Generally speaking, the main difference is between the "traditional" unemployed, who have a hard time accepting a life without work and maintain a rather passive attitude toward their unemployed condition, and the "modern" unemployed, who become masters of their own fate in a far more active fashion. But this division is too simplistic and overlooks the subtleties and sub-categories that have been distinguished as well. In his presidential address to the American Political Science Association, Aaron Wildavsky transformed Mary Douglas' group/grid model into four models of culture: egalitarian, hierarchical, individualistic and fatalistic culture.