In this study Stijn Bollinger explores how the relationship between the Dutch government and the Salvation Army influenced and shaped the Army’s organizational identity. To this end he relates the underlying goals of the Dutch welfare policy with important elements that fuelled the Salvation Army’s identity-forming process: the position of inter -dependency with the Army’s place in the welfare policy system; the Army’s view on its legal identity; and its professionalization process. This study shows that the relationship between these two actors is greatly influenced by opposing forces like attraction and repulsion; dependency and autonomy; and certainty and flexibility, all of which operate simultaneously, thus evoking the image of a courtship dance. In the case of the Salvation Army and the Dutch welfare state, this courtship reveals a dynamic of its own.
Stijn Bollinger is historian and lecturer in research at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht.