Target Governance and Social Risk: The case of the Portuguese Policy of Social Inclusion
International Relations Technical University of Lisbon Lisbon, Portugal
Social Poliy Technical University of Lisbon Lisbon, Portugal
Sociology Technical University of Lisbon Lisbon, Portugal
Sociological literature underpins in what ways risk is a social construction meant to legitimize certain governmental practices. The goal of our paper is to discuss the Portuguese social inclusion policies within the framework of the growing theorization on the politicisation of social risk. Two conflicting theoretical approaches regarding risk politicisation will be presented: Beck?s risk society thesis and post-structuralist foucauldian approaches to risk and governmentality. We intend to debate what each perspective has to offer in what concerns the academic study of the articulation between social risk, the demise of the welfare state and the increasing individualization of social policies. We argue that post-structuralist risk theories offer a more consistent approach to the politicisation of social risk, because they do not reify the belief, central in Beck?s approach, that individualization equals social empowerment. We shall validate our argument with the discussion of the content and effects of recent Portuguese social inclusion policies.