Activation: A thematic and conceptual review

Jochen Clasen, Clara Mascaro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Activation as a social policy topic has been investigated since the late 1990s and continues to be popular in academic analysis and discourse. In this review, we highlight the wide range of research aims and themes covered within relevant publications. We also identify a considerable degree of conceptual inconsistency and ambiguity across the literature. Informed by methodological considerations, we conclude by suggesting a parsimonious root concept of activation which would allow for a more consistent and less ambiguous application within and across different levels of analysis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Social Policy
Early online date31 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2022


  • activation
  • activation policy
  • active welfare state
  • social policy concepts
  • social policy research


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