Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Photographer: Onbekend

Ms J. (Josien) Arts MSc

Programme group: Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference
  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference
  • Visiting address
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15508
    1001 NA  Amsterdam


Josien Arts is interested in citizenship, social security and precarization. In her research, she focusses on the evaluation and pedagogical practices of welfare policy implementation on the ‘street-level’. These daily practices entail drawing boundaries between deserving and undeserving citizens based on moral judgments. Josien is interested in the ways in which moral judgments as part of policy (implementation) contribute to social (in)equality and precarization.

Additionally, she is a member of the Works Council of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.


Evaluation and pedagogical practices in Dutch welfare offices

Welfare clients often move in and out of precarious labour market positions and conditional welfare arrangements. Participating on the labour market and in activating welfare programmes can be seen as different stages in a continuous situation of precarity. This research focusses on the ways in which case managers – the ‘street level bureaucrats’ responsible for implementing welfare policy – evaluate the so-called 'work-ready' welfare clients and teach them to become 'good' citizens who are able to sustain themselves through paid labour. The current situation of conditional welfare policy - which is focussed on rapid labour market integration - in combination with flexible, insecure labour markets, raises questions about the ways in which welfare policy counterbalances and reinforces precarization of certain populations.

Part 1: Aesthetic judgements and pedagogies for conditional welfare

(part of the project Dress Work with Marguerite van den Berg)

Since the introduction of the Participation Act in January 2015, an ‘appropriate’ appearance is considered a formal obligation for welfare clients in the Netherlands. Local welfare offices can now give benefit-sanctions to welfare clients that ‘obstruct employment by dress and personal hygiene’. Together with Marguerite van den Berg I am studying how street-level bureaucrats responsible for implementing this policy, evaluate welfare clients’ appearances and what the consequences are of these aesthetic judgements.


As junior lecturer I have supervised tutorials for several courses in the bachelor sociology:


Courses 2015/2016

  • Sociology of Policy
  • Mixed Methods
  • Qualitative Research


Courses 2014/2015

  • Specialisation Labour, Organisations and Institutions
  • Social Institutions & Organisations
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Academic Skills
  • Fieldwork Project


Courses 2012/2013

  • Specialisation Citizenship, Care and Policy
  • Specialisation Health and Citizenship

Peer-reviewed articles

J. Arts and M. van den Berg (2018). Pedagogies of optimism: Teaching to ‘look forward’ in activating welfare programmes in the Netherlands. Critical Social Policy. Online first, DOI: 10.1177/0261018318759923

M. van den Berg and J. Arts (2018). The aesthetics of work-readiness: Aesthetic judgements and pedagogies for conditional welfare and post-Fordist labour markets. Work, Employment and Society. Online first, DOI: 10.1177/0950017018758196

M. van den Berg and J. Arts (Forthcoming). Who can wear flip-flops to work? Ethnographic vignettes on aesthetic labour in precarity. European Journal of Cultural Studies.

J. Arts (2015). Tussen solidariteit en eigen verantwoordelijkheid: betekenisgeving van niet-armen aan het verschijnsel armoede. Sociologie, 11(3), 494-518. DOI: 157433142015011003009


Other publications

J. Arts (2018). Vooral niet opgeven! Mensen in de bijstand krijgen wrede hoop. Sociale Vraagstukken.

J. Arts (2018). Vooral niet opgeven! Tijdschrift voor Sociale Vraagstukken, 111(1), 8-11.

J. Arts (2017). Positiviteit: houvast of ontwrichting? De Nederlandse Boekengids, 2(6), 30-31.

J. Arts (2017). Toegang exclusief voor bewoners. Sociale Vraagstukken.

J. Arts (2017). Dressing to deserve welfare. Dress and Work.


Zie ook Niemandsland, een online platform met korte columns over maatschappelijke thema’s:

- Collega's zijn geen concurrenten (BNR Nieuwsradio: Wat als je collega's je concurrenten zijn - deel 1 & deel 2)

- Mindfulness

- Accenten en andere afwijkingen

  • No ancillary activities

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