The Improvising Society

Social Order in a Boundless World

Hans Boutellier 9789462360785 | 1e druk, 2013


The Improvising Society sheds new light on the complexity of today’s society. Feelings of chaos and confusion are common. There is discontent among citizens, and uncertainty and lack of direction among administrators, managers, and public of�ficials. It� seems as though no one has a clear perspective on what is happening to society, and yet … perhaps we have overlooked something?

‘Boutellier has written a brave study that explores the ever changing contours of our social experience. This �book� makes an important contribution by forcing us to take a deep breath so that we can be bit more relaxed about experiments with life.’ Dr. Frank Furedi, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, The University, Canterbury, Kent.

‘This analysis is liberating in the way it helps make sense of the bewildering changes that we have lived through in the past 20 years. It shows that we have been striving for a structure and stability in society that is fundamentally beyond our reach. The book introduces the notion of “improvisation” and shows how it can provide us with the �tools to better navigate a networked world.’ Prof. Kees Dorst, University of Technology, Sydney.

Boutellier’s The Improvising Society describes a time, our time, when the horizontality of prosumers, crowd sourcing and the like has given rise to new ordering possibilities. He challenges us to compose, while we perform, as we reimagine who we might become as individuals and societies. A profound book. Clifford Shearing, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town.


The Improvising Society is intended for politicians and political scientists, administrators and management experts, social workers and sociologists, criminologists, policy officials, magistrates, political leaders, students and citizens – in short, everyone who is concerned with the problems in our society and wants to be a well-informed participant in the search for solutions.


Hans Boutellier is general director of the Verwey-Jonker Institute and special professor of Security and Citizenship at VU University Amsterdam. He has published extensively on public morality, criminality and security. His previous books have been translated into English and French.


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