De ‘overlastmythe’. Het geïnstitutionaliseerd onvermogen om constructief om te gaan met samenlevingsproblemen?

Kristof Verfaillie, Kristel Beyens, Jan Blommaert, Henk Meert, Karen Stuyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper we argue that the contemporary policy discourse of incivilities and disorder is a myth, a type of speech (Barthes, 2002). In this policy discourse, a set of societal practices is defined as disorder or incivilities, but such a definition is self-evident nor neutral. It represents a specific perspective on societal practices and problems and gives priority to specific solutions over others. In the second part of the paper a series of these practices is analysed in the context of the housing and asylum/migration domain. In light of both analyses, we suggest that policymakers need to invest differently in the diagnosis of societal problems, in the execution of policy, pay more attention to the effects of social policymaking, and need to be more reserved concerning the mobilisation of law and order instruments. In this paper we wish to question the self-evidence with which the concepts disorder and incivilities were introduced in policy discourse and we argue for different priorities in the approach of these societal problems.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)6-20
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2007


  • disorder


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