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    On January 9 2015, Job Cohen held his inaugural speech at the University of Leiden as extraordinary professor at the prestigious Thorbecke chair. His study field was the theory of the municipality as an administrative, political and legal system. The title of his inaugural speech was ‘The fourth D’, in which the first three Ds stand for three different decentralizations of tasks to Dutch municipalities and the fourth D for democracy. In his speech Job Cohen advocated a deliberative form of democracy, because it doesn’t emphasize differences and the exaggeration of differences, but emphasizes what the members of a community have in common. This essay contains the farewell lecture that he held on November 30 2018. In it Cohen says that we are still in the transition of a gigantic operation, the three decentralizations of youth care, social services and labor participation. In many areas, therefore, cooperation at a higher level than the original municipalities is necessary and indeed established. Due to the increased regional cooperation, the House of Thorbecke no longer has such a strong foundation, which has long been the case. It is therefore inevitable, according to Cohen, that the House of Thorbecke receives more than just a new coat of paint. In his farewell lecture he furthermore discusses two kinds of citizen participation. The first kind concerns policy-influencing participation, the second involves self-reliant participation, or do-democracy or civil administration, in which the Right to Challenge is currently in the center of attention. This requires a delicate coordination between those who have and exercise government powers and citizens who want to exert influence on it.


Prof. mr. dr. Job Cohen
Prof. mr. dr. M.J. Cohen was tot 1 december 2018 als bijzonder hoogleraar decentrale overheden (Thorbecke-leerstoel) verbonden aan de Universiteit Leiden en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. mr. dr. Job Cohen
Prof. mr. dr. M.J. Cohen is bijzonder hoogleraar decentrale overheden (Thorbecke-leerstoel) aan de Universiteit Leiden en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. mr. dr. Job Cohen
Prof. mr. dr. M.J. Cohen is bijzonder hoogleraar decentrale overheden (Thorbecke-leerstoel) aan de Universiteit Leiden en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    The first contribution to this special issue on local democracy in the Netherlands is the inaugural speech of Job Cohen (the former mayor of Amsterdam) held on January 9th 2015 at the University of Leiden as extraordinary professor at the prestigious Thorbecke-chair. His field is the theory of the municipality as an administrative, political and legal system. The title of his inaugural speech was ‘The fourth D’, in which the first three D’s stand for three different decentralizations of tasks to the Dutch municipalities and the fourth D for democracy. In his speech Cohen advocates a deliberative form of democracy, because it doesn’t emphasize differences and the exaggeration of differences, but emphasizes what the members of a community have in common. Deliberative democracy wants to create space for this common interest through the establishment of an arena for dialogue. Job Cohen is particularly taken by the ideas of the Belgian writer David Van Reybrouck about lottery selection and citizen participation and corresponding initiatives like G1000: a civic-summit, a form of deliberative democracy that generates new ideas, opens new perspectives and increases trust in the democratic process. The element of lottery selection (that was previously put on the agenda by the American professor James Fishkin) is essential for these results, because it creates a maximum of diversity and real involvement of all layers of the population: full citizen participation.


Prof. mr. dr. Job Cohen
Prof. mr. dr. M.J. Cohen is bijzonder hoogleraar decentrale overheden (Thorbecke-leerstoel) aan de Universiteit Leiden en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.
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