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Responsibilization : The case of road safety governance

  • Hysing, Erik
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Pomeranian Digital Library
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Governments are increasingly turning to new modes of governance to induce nonstate actors to voluntarily take responsibility for societal problems. Using the concept of responsibilization as a theoretical lens, this article analyzes changes in road safety governance in Sweden. How, why, and to whom has the responsibility for road safety been attributed in Swedish policymaking, and how have state authorities engaged in processes of responsibilization during its implementation? The results show a shift in attribution of responsibility from individual road users to a broad set of so-called system designers, based on moral, causal, and preventive rationales. Responsibilization both occurs within the state apparatus and is imposed by state authorities on nonstate actors using soft governance measures. Responsibilization provides a fruitful theoretical lens for governance studies by identifying shifts in responsibility (including deresponsibilization), explicating normative/ethical underpinnings of new governance modes, and helping to open the “black box” of the state.

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