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Artikel

Burgers als trustees

Participatie, informele vertegenwoordiging en representativiteit

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 1 2013
Auteurs Dr. Bas van Stokkom, Dr. Marcel Becker en Teun Eikenaar MA MSc
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The involvement of citizens in discussions about policy arrangements has been growing in the past decades. These forums of decision-making often provoke criticism because of a so-called ‘lack of representativeness’. Often a small group of active citizens takes the lead and decides which problems have to be dealt with. Some active residents primarily focus on improving the neighbourhood, regardless of whether their activities have everyone’s consent. This raises many questions related their representativeness. Do these participants form an adequate cross-section of the population? Are they speaking on behalf of others? Maybe passive citizens feel fine with the opinions of active citizens and agree that a small group of citizens is taking the lead. In this paper these active citizens are viewed as ‘trustees’: informal representatives who take responsibility to look after the neighbourhood’s interests, expecting that passive residents would support their efforts. The paper has two central questions: First, which ideas do active participants have about representation and representativeness? Second, in what respects can active citizens be characterized as ‘trustees’? In the theoretical part we contend that the notion ‘trustee’ may function as a theoretical framework to understand present-day citizen participation. In local policy networks many informal representatives express views and interests that are recognizable for many citizens. They are trusted, as long as their activities can be checked. The second part of the paper focuses on three projects of citizen decision-making within local safety policies (The Dutch cities Amsterdam, Deventer and Rotterdam). Within these projects, participants prioritize what kinds of activities and interventions police officers and other frontline workers should carry out. A main finding is that many active citizens function as contact persons who are continuously available for other residents. They do not wish to speak ‘on behalf’ of others but they are bestowed – often reluctantly – with the role of representative, as they demonstratively express neighborhood interests (‘clean, intact and safe’). Their reputation seems to be decisive.


Dr. Bas van Stokkom
Dr. Bas van Stokkom is medewerker bestuurswetenschappen aan de faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, b.a.m.van.stokkom@vu.nl.

Dr. Marcel Becker
Dr. Marcel Becker is universitair docent ethiek aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, M.Becker@ftr.ru.nl.

Teun Eikenaar MA MSc
Teun Eikenaar MA MSc is onderzoeker aan het criminologisch instituut van de faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, t.eikenaar@jur.ru.nl.

    In this feature authors review recently published books on subjects of interest to readers of Beleid en Maatschappij.


Dr. Bas van Stokkom
Dr. Bas van Stokkom is socioloog en is werkzaam aan de Vrije Universiteit te Amsterdam en de Radboud Universiteit te Nijmegen. Hij is auteur van onder andere Wat een hufter! Ergernis, lichtgeraaktheid en maatschappelijke verruwing (2010). b.a.m.van.stokkom@vu.nl
Artikel

De sociale kwaliteit van het stedelijke domein

Veiligheid en publieke vertrouwdheid

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 3 2009
Auteurs Bas van Stokkom
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article sketches an alternative route to stimulate public familiarity: introducing spaces and zones of hospitality. Maybe hospitality in (semi)public space can offer more safe and comfortable ways of interaction. How does hospitality relate to the principles of public life like free access? Which views of interaction between strangers are presupposed? It is argued that hospitality means sharing together a certain limited space. The persons present depend on each other and they have the opportunity to make contact and get nearer. Guests have the positive obligation to treat each other with respect. Hospitable social regulation may be promoted in various ways. First by introducing symbolic demarcations like gateways and fences. Secondly by introducing convivial forms of interaction. Making use of public space in sheltered and relaxed ways may function as 'leveler' through which newcomers may feel welcome and 'at home'. Thirdly, by means of a 'personal hospitability' small conflicts can be managed. In that case some persons may take the role of public host without being asked. Finally some objections against hospitability are dealt with: on the one hand the freedom to move as one wants would be restricted and on the other hand informal manners in hospitable spaces would not satisfy the rules of detached and impersonal public interaction. Against that it is argued that 'total freedom of movement' and impersonal interaction are not always suitable principles to shape public life.


Bas van Stokkom
Bas van Stokkom is werkzaam aan het Centrum voor Ethiek, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, en aan de Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit te Amsterdam. Correspondentiegegevens: Dr. B. van Stokkom Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen Centrum voor Ethiek Postbus 9103 6500 HD Nijmegen b.v.stokkom@cve.ru.nl
Artikel

Te gast in (semi-)publieke ruimtes

Naar conviviale stedelijke omgangsvormen

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 3 2009
Auteurs Bas van Stokkom
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

Bas van Stokkom
Bas van Stokkom is werkzaam aan het Centrum voor Ethiek, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, en aan de Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit te Amsterdam. Correspondentiegegevens: Dr. B. van Stokkom Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen Centrum voor Ethiek Postbus 9103 6500 HD Nijmegen b.v.stokkom@cve.ru.nl
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