Profound Coziness: Affective Citizenship and the Failure to Enact Community in a Dutch Urban Neighborhood

  • Mandy de WildeEmail author


Research has shown that the last two decades has seen the rise of voluntarism and more particular a reframing and re-enactment of the ideal-type citizen as a moral subject of responsible communities. In this chapter I ask how citizens are enacted by policy practitioners through different policy practices. Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork in a deprived urban neighborhood, I analyse the policy practices of neighborhood gatherings in an Amsterdam neighborhood that are part of a community participation programme called Neighborhood Circle. Through these gatherings policy practitioners try to stimulate and encourage residents to perform voluntary tasks in the neighborhood. I will argue that in these meetings policy practitioners arouse ‘profound coziness’: a sphere animated by fellow feeling and imagine residents to be activated by the capacity to feel and act upon these feelings, rather than the capacity to think and deliberate rationally. Through these practices different ‘citizens’ emerge. On the one hand the ‘respected citizen’ embodied by (post)migrant women who feel proud to finally be able to participate and recognized by policy practitioners. On the other hand the ‘resentful citizen’ embodied by autochthonous volunteers who feel unrecognized by practitioners and feel publicly displaced by (post)migrant women. I show that the ideal-type citizen that is enacted by policy practitioners singles out other expressions of citizenship, leaving some volunteers in the neighborhood to feel displaced unable to act and a sense of fellow feeling and community far away.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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