For those in an around the corridors of Dutch government in The Hague, social discontent is a continuing cause for concern. But what exactly is the reason for this discontent? In this project WRR investigates the influence of individual uncertainty (‘precariousness’) on social discontent.

A key role for control?

Life appears to have become more precarious for people in many domains in recent decades. A job for life is no longer something that can be taken for granted; the future trend in people’s income is less predictable than in the past; the government is also less ready to step in when things go wrong; and the nature of the sociocultural setting in which people live is changing. Some groups appear to have little difficulty dealing with this precariousness, or even seem to thrive on it, while for other groups this uncertainty translates into feelings of unease and discontent.

Central hypothesis

Why this difference in reaction? The central hypothesis in this project is that a major cause lies in differences in the degree to which people have – and feel that they have – control over their situation and their future. The project seeks to analyse the relationship between (feelings of) precariousness and control on the one hand and attitudes towards politics and society on the other. WRR will draw on the results of this analysis to formulate recommendations.