Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 25 Issue 4 (December 2017), Pages 195-403

Between Autonomy and Paternalism: Crisis Managers’ Constructions of Citizens’ Responsibilities in the Context of Crises and Contingencies (pages 269-278)

Public discussions about the division of responsibilities between state and citizen in crises have led to reformulated policies. These are interpreted and put into practice by crisis managers. Hence, their understandings of citizens’ responsibilities are central for actions and resource allocation. This qualitative study focuses on Swedish crisis managers’ understandings of citizens’ (moral) responsibilities and practices of ‘doing’ responsibilities. Three overarching forms of ‘doing responsibilities’ were found as follows: assignment, assessment and differentiation. These ways of constructing responsibilities were permeated by two diverging rationales: the autonomy rationale and the paternalism rationale. The two rationales add up to a partly contradictory complexity that may explain individuals’ differing responsibility taking. Further, not recognizing this contradiction may negatively affect citizen's willingness to take responsibility when desired.

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