Zoekresultaat: 97 artikelen

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Research Note

Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Reduce Attention to Environmental Issues?

A Panel Study Among Parents in Belgium, 2019-2020

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2022
Trefwoorden issue competition, COVID-19 pandemic, panel study, environmental concern, Belgium
Auteurs Sari Verachtert, Dieter Stiers en Marc Hooghe
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Theories on issue competition assume that there is only a limited number of issues that a person prioritises simultaneously. In this research note, we test this mechanism by using a panel study that was conducted among Belgian parents in 2019 and 2020. Between the two observations of the study, the country suffered a severe health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigate whether this crisis reduced the priority of environmental issues among respondents. Our results show that there was indeed a significant decline of some indicators for environmental concern, but not for others. Furthermore, we show that a higher priority for the health-related and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a steeper decline in environmental concern.


Sari Verachtert
Sari Verachtert is a PhD student at the Centre for Political Science at the University of Leuven. Her research focuses mainly on attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable development.

Dieter Stiers
Dieter Stiers is post-doctoral researcher of FWO Vlaanderen at the Centre for Political Science Research at KU Leuven. His research focuses on elections and voting behaviour.

Marc Hooghe
Marc Hooghe is a Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Leuven. He has written mostly about political participation and political trust.
Article

Access_open Is Euroscepticism Contagious?

How Mainstream Parties React to Eurosceptic Challengers in Belgian Parliaments

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2022
Trefwoorden Euroscepticism, parliaments, party competition, Belgium, federalism
Auteurs Jordy Weyns en Peter Bursens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Euroscepticism has long been absent among Belgian political parties. However, since the start of the century, some Eurosceptic challengers have risen. This article examines the effect of Eurosceptic competition on the salience other parties give to the EU and on the positions these parties take in parliament. Using a sample of plenary debates in the federal and regional parliaments, we track each party’s evolution from 2000 until 2019. Our findings both contradict and qualify existing theories and findings on Eurosceptic competition. When facing Eurosceptic challengers, all parties raise salience fairly equally, but government and peripheral parties adopted (soft) Euroscepticism more often than other parties.


Jordy Weyns
Jordy Weyns is a doctoral student at the European University Institute in Florence.

Peter Bursens
Peter Bursens is professor of political science at Universiteit Antwerpen, at the research group Politics and Public Governance and the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence.
Article

Fit for Office? The Perception of Female and Male Politicians by Dutch Voters

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2022
Trefwoorden political underrepresentation, gender stereotypes, role incongruity, candidate evaluation, experimental vignette study
Auteurs Rozemarijn E. van Dijk en Joop van Holsteyn
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The underrepresentation of women in politics is a worldwide phenomenon and the Netherlands fit the pattern: about 39% of the Dutch MPs are female. Based on social role incongruity theory, it is expected that female politicians are evaluated more negatively than male politicians since women do not fit the dominant male politician role. However, most research is conducted in the United States, that is, a candidate-centred system where individual characteristics play an important role. This article focuses on the party-centred parliamentary context in which we examine (1) whether gender stereotypes are present among citizens and (2) to what extent these stereotypes influence the evaluation of politicians. We do this by conducting an experimental vignette survey design. We find that at the mass level there is no difference between the evaluation of male and female politicians, although gender stereotypes are present.


Rozemarijn E. van Dijk
Rozemarijn E. van Dijk is a PhD student at the department of political science at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Joop van Holsteyn
Joop J.M. van Holsteyn is Professor in Political Behaviour and Research Methods at Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Article

Opening an Absolute Majority A Typology of Motivations for Opening and Selecting Coalition Partners

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2022
Trefwoorden negotiation, absolute majority, oversized coalition, motivations, local election
Auteurs Geoffrey Grandjean en Valentine Meens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Following the municipal elections in the Walloon Region (Belgium) on 14 October 2018, 189 political groups won an absolute majority. Twenty-two of these decided not to exercise power alone, but favoured the formation of an oversized coalition by integrating a minority partner. The aim of this article is to identify the motivations behind the formation of a local coalition when one of the partners has an absolute majority. Semi-structured interviews with mayors and leaders of political groups in these municipalities make it possible to identify the motivations for, first, the choice to open and, second, the choice of a minority partner. By distinguishing between necessary and supporting motivations, this article shows that the search for greater representation is a necessary motivation for the choice to open, whereas personal affinities and memories of the past are necessary motivations for choosing minority partners. By prioritising motivations, this article shows that.


Geoffrey Grandjean
Geoffrey Grandjean is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology of the University of Liege and Director of the Institut de la decision publique.

Valentine Meens
Valentine Meens is Assistant of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology of the University of Liege.
Thema-artikel

De versnelling van de woningbouwproductie: de rol van grondbeleid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 1 2022
Trefwoorden Land policy for housebuilding, Delays in the building of new homes, Private developers’ monopoly powers, Interventions
Auteurs Erwin van der Krabben
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    What causes the delays in the building of sufficient new homes in the Netherlands? And why do housebuilding projects so often struggle with financial feasibility? The land market typically can be described as an imperfect market, while the performance of the land and housebuilding market are closely connected. This connection seems to cause, at least partially, delays in the building of new homes. To be able to build new houses, ownership of land is crucial. However, land does not always come available in time. Landownership also influences competition in the housebuilding market. Based on a review of scientific literature, policy documents and empirical research results, this paper discusses the performance of the land and housebuilding market and its possible impact on housing production. Additionally, the paper reviews recent proposals that have been suggested in the context of the on-going Dutch housing market debate that may improve the functioning of these markets. What might be the effects of these interventions on housebuilding production? The paper concludes with a couple of dilemmas governments face with regard to the functioning of the land and housebuilding market.


Erwin van der Krabben
Prof. dr. E. van der Krabben is hoogleraar Gebiedsontwikkeling aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Faculteit Managementwetenschappen.
Article

Appendix Fit for Office? The Perception of Female and Male Politicians by Dutch Voters

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2022
Trefwoorden political underrepresentation, gender stereotypes, role incongruity, candidate evaluation, experimental vignette study
Auteurs Rozemarijn Esmee van Dijk en Joop van Holsteyn
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The underrepresentation of women in politics is a worldwide phenomenon and the Netherlands fit the pattern: about 39% of the Dutch MPs are female. Based on social role incongruity theory, it is expected that female politicians are evaluated more negatively than male politicians since women do not fit the dominant male politician role. However, most research is conducted in the United States, that is, a candidate-centred system where individual characteristics play an important role. This article focuses on the party-centred parliamentary context in which we examine (1) whether gender stereotypes are present among citizens and (2) to what extent these stereotypes influence the evaluation of politicians. We do this by conducting an experimental vignette survey design. We find that at the mass level there is no difference between the evaluation of male and female politicians, although gender stereotypes are present.


Rozemarijn Esmee van Dijk
Rozemarijn E. van Dijk is a PhD student at the department of political science at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Joop van Holsteyn
Joop J.M. van Holsteyn is Professor in Political Behaviour and Research Methods at Leiden University, the Netherlands.

    From 1964 (until 1990 globally) political science would become the dominant approach within the (local) administrative sciences in the Netherlands. This position took over from the legal approach. During this period, the concepts of politics, policy and decision-making were central to research and theory formation. In the period since 1990, we have seen a broader perspective emerging on institutions, management and governance in which Public Administration will increasingly profile itself as an independent discipline. This essay harks back to the importance of the legal approach for (local) administrative sciences from the time of the man who is regarded in the Netherlands as the founder of the discipline of Public Administration: Gerrit van Poelje. More specifically, the author addresses the question of the relationship between Public Administration and legal science in the more than one hundred years of (local) administrative science. After Gerrit van Poelje (his dissertation from 1914 is an important milestone in that history), the author discusses eleven other key persons who have made their own contribution to that history at various universities based on their legal expertise (in the broad senseHe concludes the essay with a brief discussion of the relevance of law and legal science for the future of public administration (the field) and Public Administration (the discipline).


Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    The increasing datafication of society brings both opportunities and ethical dilemmas for public organisations. The aim of this research (in Dutch municipalities) is to gain insight into how ethical leadership can support professionals in a public organisation with ethical dilemmas about data use. Based on literature on data and ethical leadership, the authors have developed a conceptual model that indicates how an ethical leader can provide intrinsic and extrinsic support. The model was tested on the basis of 16 vignette interviews with municipal public professionals who work on providing insight into and combating subversion with data. Their findings show that ethical leaders can intrinsically provide support by being trustworthy and independent, leading by example, communicating about ethics and data use, and empowering others. In addition, ethical leaders can provide extrinsic support with ethical tools, such as ethical codes on data use, an ethics committee and training.


Pauline Zwanikken
P.N.M. Zwanikken MSc is werkzaam bij The Green Land adviesbureau open data, open overheid. Zij deed een master Publiek Management aan de Universiteit Utrecht.

Erna Ruijer
Dr. E. Ruijer is werkzaam als universitair docent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO).

    Local political parties are clearly on the rise in the Netherlands in both the municipal council and the municipal board. Their average percentage of council seats increased from 25% in 1998 to 37% in 2018 and the percentage of councillors from 21% to 32%. This coincided with a greatly increased fragmentation. For example, the average number of political parties on the council rose from 6.5 in 1998 to 8.0 in 2018 and the number of parties providing one or more aldermen increased from 2.8 to 3.4 during this period. Fragmentation expressed in the number of effective parties shows a similar trend. If we use the Chapel Hill score, it appears that the average political colour of both the municipal council and the alderman part in the municipal board has shifted to the right. This is mainly because political parties are becoming increasingly right wing according to this index and not so much because there are more local votes for right-wing parties. Significant differences in the representative representation are also noted. The local parties as well as the Socialist Party (SP) are less successful than average in converting their seats on the council into councillor seats, while the three large traditional (and especially the CDA) and smaller Christian parties have succeeded above average in this.


Raymond Gradus
Prof. dr. R.H.J.M. Gradus is hoogleraar bestuur en economie van de publieke en non-profitsector aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, en is tevens verbonden aan de vakgroep Accounting en het Zijlstra Center for Public Control, Leadership and Governance.

Tjerk Budding
Dr. G.T. Budding is universitair hoofddocent Management and Financial Accounting en opleidings­­directeur van de Public Controllers­­opleidingen aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Elbert Dijkgraaf
Prof. dr. E. Dijkgraaf is hoogleraar empirische economie van de publieke sector aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en fellow van het Tinbergen Instituut.

    The history of local parties in the Netherlands is quite a mystery. Since their first appearance at the dawn of the twentieth century, local parties were founded sooner or later in all municipalities. They seemed to have served as an addition to local representatives of national parties. Despite the variety in their ideologies, shapes and modi operandi, they could be qualified and studied as ‘niche parties’, offering an alternative to the viewpoints and divisions of the traditional (national) party politics. With this article, the authors aim to contribute to a better understanding of Dutch local parties, whose origins and development have largely remained a black box due to the scarcity of sources and studies. They do so by adopting a partly quantitative, partly qualitative or narrative approach, while looking at the election results of local parties in the past century, including salient regional differences, and by comparing these to the success of national parties in local elections. Within the boundaries of their research, their hypothesis seems to hold true that the popularity of local parties, as ‘niche parties’, depended largely on the strategies of national parties, which justifies the assumption that these two types of parties have acted as communicating vessels.


Ingrid van Biezen
Prof. dr. I. van Biezen is hoogleraar vergelijkende politicologie aan de Universiteit Leiden. Daarvoor was ze verbonden aan de University of Birmingham.

Geerten Waling
Dr. G.H. Waling is historicus en is als onderzoeker verbonden aan de Universiteit Leiden. Hij studeerde geschiedenis en wijsbegeerte aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.

    Local political parties are an important factor in local politics in the Netherlands. These parties, which participate in municipal elections but are not affiliated with national political parties, are currently the largest ‘political family’ in the municipal councils. Yet surprisingly little is known about these parties. The existing research indicates that this ‘party family’ has a protest character. But at the same time, more precise analyses indicate that this party family is more diverse: and that the label ‘local party’ describes all kinds of different movements. However, a comprehensive analysis of the programmatic positioning of all parties in this family in relation to national parties is lacking. That is the purpose of this article. For this research, all election manifestoes of the departments and parties that participated in the municipal elections in November 2013, March and November 2014, November 2017 and March and November 2018 were collected. On this basis, the positions of all these parties are estimated on the left-right dimension, a scale that measures anti-elitist rhetoric and a scale that measures localism, based on modern quantitative text analysis techniques (bag-of-words approaches). In this way, for the first time, a picture is obtained of the programmatic cohesion and diversity of this party family as a whole.


Simon Otjes
Dr. S.P. Otjes is onderzoeker bij het Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen (DNPP) van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen en universitair docent aan de Universiteit Leiden.
Thema-artikel

Naar een politiek-bestuurlijke herdefinitie van pandemische paraatheid

Sturing van de COVID-19-respons in Azië en Europa

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden pandemic preparedness, COVID-19 governance, welfare state failure, mitigation and control, political economy
Auteurs Marleen Bekker en Ivo ten Have
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Despite the highest ranks on pandemic preparedness assessments European welfare states encounter great difficulty in responding effectively to the COVID-19 outbreak. In this article we compare the governance of COVID-19 response in 48 Eurasian countries and a selection of European and SARS (2003) exposed Asian countries during the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak until 1 June 2020, using data from the COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor and the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, recent scientific literature and policy documents.
    Pandemic preparedness during the first wave of COVID-19 evolved from specialist infectious disease control to a broad governance of population mitigation, which in at least half of Eurasian countries lacked appropriate authority and capacity. In the directly operational response in Asian countries, preparedness encompasses a whole of government approach, an engaged and active community and private actors. Preparedness requires and reflects both vertical and horizontal coordination as well as policies that fit with the political economy of a country and region.


Marleen Bekker
M.P.M. Bekker, PhD is universitair docent in de leerstoelgroep Health and Society (HSO), in het Center for Space, Place and Society (CSPS), aan Wageningen University and Research (WUR).

Ivo ten Have
I.L.F. ten Have, MSc heeft recent zijn master Communication and Health Sciences aan Wageningen University and Research afgerond met een thesis waarvan in dit artikel verslag wordt gedaan.
Article

‘Think Like Me, and I Will Trust You’

The Effects of Policy Opinion Congruence on Citizens’ Trust in the Parliament

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden political representation, parliaments, opinion congruence, political trust, public opinion
Auteurs Awenig Marié en David Talukder
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Do citizens with a lower level of political representation evaluate political actors more negatively? While the literature has documented inequalities in political representation, less attention has been given to the extent to which different levels of representation affect citizens’ levels of political trust. We aimed to fill this gap by analysing whether Belgian citizens with a lower level of policy opinion congruence with their party’s legislators have lower levels of trust in the parliament. Our results show that policy opinion congruence has a positive impact on citizens’ political attitudes. Indeed, citizens with policy preferences closer to those of their political representatives tend to have higher levels of trust in the parliament. This rela‍tionship depends on political sophistication: policy opinion congruence affects political trust for most citizens except those who consider themselves to be ‘very interested’ in politics. Citizens with a very high level of interest in politics trust the parliament regardless of policy opinion congruence with their party’s legislators.


Awenig Marié
Awenig Marié is a FNRS research fellow and a PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles. His main research interests include political inequalities, political representation, parliaments and EU politics.

David Talukder
David Talukder is a PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles. His main research interests are democratic innovations, political representation, disadvantaged groups and democratic reforms.
Research Note

Peer Assessment in Parliament

Promises and Pitfalls of a Marginalised Method in Parliamentary Research

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2021
Auteurs Richard Schobess
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Peer assessment is a rather marginalised method in political research. This research note argues that the collective expertise of MPs can complement other data to contribute to more comprehensive evaluations of MPs’ parliamentary work. Yet, this method is potentially flawed by low survey participation and rater bias among MPs. The experience with a peer assessment survey among members of three Belgian parliaments shows that participation does not necessarily need to be problematic. However, the empirical analysis suggests that scholars should control for various forms of rater bias.


Richard Schobess
Richard Schobess is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. His research focuses on parliaments and elections.
Article

Cancelling proposed debates

Agenda Setting, Issue Ownership and Anti-elitist Parliamentary Style

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden agenda-setting, parliaments, anti-elitism, issue-ownership
Auteurs Simon Otjes en Roy Doedens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Dutch Tweede Kamer is unique among parliaments because here the agenda is actually determined in a public, plenary meeting of all MPs. In the Dutch Tweede Kamer 30 members of parliament (MPs) can request a plenary debate. Many opposition parties request these debates, but only 23% of these are actually held. We examine the question ‘under what conditions do political party groups cancel or maintain proposals for minority debates?’ as a way to gain insight into the black box of parliamentary agenda setting. We examine two complementary explanations: issue competition and parliamentary style. We trace all 687 minority debates that were proposed between 2012 and 2021 in the Netherlands. This allows us to see what proposals for debates MPs make and when they are retracted. We find strong evidence that anti-elitist parties maintain more debate proposals than do other parties


Simon Otjes
Simon Otjes is assistant professor of Dutch Politics at Leiden University and researcher at Documentation Centre Dutch Political Parties. His research focuses on political parties, legislative behaviour and interest groups in Europe and the Netherlands specifically. He has previously published on legislative behaviour in West European Politics, the Journal of Legislative Studies and Party Politics.

Roy Doedens
Roy Doedens studied Philosophy and International Relations and International Organizations at Groningen University and Political Science at Leiden University. Currently, he works as a public affairs advisor at Erasmus University.
Article

Performing the COVID-19 Crisis in Flemish Populist Radical-Right Discourse

A Case Study of Vlaams Belang’s Coronablunderboek

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2021
Trefwoorden populism, COVID-19, crisis, discourse
Auteurs Jens Meijen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In June 2020, the Flemish populist radical right party Vlaams Belang (VB) published the Corona Blunder Book (CBB; Coronablunderboek in Dutch), detailing the government’s mistakes in handling the COVID-19 crisis. Populist parties can ‘perform’ crisis by emphasising the mistakes made by opponents (Moffitt, 2015) and may use a specifically populist discursive style, consisting largely of aggressive and sarcastic language (Brubaker, 2017). This paper takes the CBB as a case study in the populist performance of crisis and the populist style, finding that the book is, first, a clear example of populist ‘everyman’ stylistics and the performance of crisis, and, second, that VB uses the book to shift the COVID-19 crisis from a public health crisis to a crisis of governance, seeking to blame Belgium’s federal structure for the government’s alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and hence arguing for Flemish independence, one of the party’s main agenda points.


Jens Meijen
Jens Meijen is a PhD candidate at Leuven International and European Studies (LINES) at KU Leuven. His research focuses on nationalism, populism, and diplomacy.
Article

The Praise for a ‘Caretaker’ Leader

Gendered Press Coverage of Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès in a COVID-19 Context

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2021
Trefwoorden political leadership, crisis, care, Belgium, gendered media coverage
Auteurs Clémence Deswert
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Studies on media coverage of women politicians have underlined how the media contribute to the association of the figure of the political leader with masculinity. Yet, the social construction of leadership seems to evolve towards a more ‘femininity-inclusive’ definition. Research on the ‘glass cliff’ phenomenon suggests that stereotypical feminine attributes might be expected from political leaders in a time of crisis. We investigated the gendered construction of political leadership in the press in a COVID-19 context through the case of former Belgian Prime minister Sophie Wilmès. In line with the ‘think crisis-think female’ association, our discourse analysis shows an appreciation of traditionally feminine traits, and particularly care-related qualities, in the evaluation of what a ‘good’ leader should be in pandemic times, although some characteristics traditionally associated with masculinity are still considered valuable assets in the journalistic portrayal of Wilmès’ leadership.


Clémence Deswert
Clémence Deswert is a PhD candidate at the Political Science Department of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Her research interests include political communication and political representation of women. Declaration of interests: I confirm that this article was not submitted to or publicised in another journal. No conflict of interest exists.
Article

Access_open The Resilience of Democracy in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Democratic Compensators in Belgium, the Netherlands and France

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2021
Trefwoorden COVID-19, crisis-management, democratic compensators, exceptionalism
Auteurs Tom Massart, Thijs Vos, Clara Egger e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Since January 2020, European countries have implemented a wide range of restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet governments have also implemented democratic compensators in order to offset the negative impacts of restrictions. This article aims to account for the variation of their use between Belgium, the Netherlands and France. We analyse three drivers: the strength of counterpowers, the ruling parties’ ideological leanings and political support. Building on an original data set, our results distinguish between embedded and ad hoc compensators. We find that ad hoc compensators are championed mainly by counterpowers, but also by ideology of the ruling coalitions in Belgium and the Netherlands and used strategically to maintain political support in France. Evidence on the link between embedded compensators and counterpowers is more ambiguous.


Tom Massart
Tom Massart is a PhD candidate at ULB / CEVIPOL. His research mainly focuses on European economic governance.

Thijs Vos
Thijs Vos is a political scientist and research assistant at Groningen University.

Clara Egger
Clara Egger is assistant professor in international relations at Groningen University. She is currently leading the Exceptius project on Covid19 containment policies in Europe.

Claire Dupuy
Claire Dupuy is professor of comparative politics at UCLouvain. She specializes in comparative public policy with a focus on multilevel governance, federalism and regionalization processes.

Constance Morel-Jean
Constance Morel-Jean is a master’s student at Grenoble-Alpes University. She specialises in the study of political behaviour.

Raul Magni-Berton
Raul Magni-Berton is professor of political science at Grenoble-Alpes University, PACTE research unit. His research mainly focuses on democracy, its institutions and norms.

Sébastian Roché
Sebastian Roché is CNRS Research Professor at Grenoble-Alpes University, PACTE research unit. He specializes in policing and legitimacy studies.
PhD Review

Pragmatic Citizens – A Bottom-Up Perspective on Participatory Politics

PhD by Hannah Werner (KU Leuven and Universiteit van Amsterdam), supervisors: Sofie Marien, Wouter van der Brug & Marc Hooghe

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2021
Auteurs Anna Kern
Auteursinformatie

Anna Kern
Anna Kern is assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at Ghent University, Belgium.

    Dutch social policies are aimed at the integration and participation of all people. This creates challenges for persons with a mental vulnerability and their neighbourhoods. Five municipalities in the province of Flevoland asked us to help them improve the move from protected living to living in the neighbourhood. We used an arts-based participatory action research design and we followed ‘hot topics’, topics that sparked people’s energy and emotion, and which led to empowerment and participation. Focusing on these topics, which initially might not seem to be closely connected to the main research topic, might produce more information, and energy to take action on it, rather than rigidly sticking with the initial research topics. In this article, we focus on the first phases of the project. The emotions that people with mental vulnerabilities expressed when talking about their dogs, led us to the core of what really mattered to them in terms of inclusive living and participation. The dog functioned as an unexpected ‘hot topic’. In a symbolic sense, ‘the dog’ stands for a diverse range of lifeworld topics that can act as a creative catalyst for social change.

    Vooraf

    Participatief actieonderzoek en responsieve evaluatie staan volop in de belangstelling bij beleidsmakers en onderzoekers. Dit type beleidsonderzoek en -evaluatie beoogt democratisch, inclusief én impactvol te zijn. Het gaat om onderzoek mét in plaats van óver mensen. En het is actiegericht: onderzoek wil bijdragen aan concrete oplossingen door met betrokkenen gezamenlijke (verbeter)acties te ontwikkelen in de praktijk, en daarop te reflecteren en van te leren. Dit alles met het oog op sociale inclusie. Het zijn mooie idealen, maar wat betekent dit in de alledaagse, vaak weerbarstige onderzoekspraktijk?

    Op 20 januari 2020 organiseerde prof. Abma daarover een symposium, getiteld ‘Responsive, Participatory Research: Past, Present and Future Perspectives’ (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam). De rode draad op het symposium was de vraag wat goed en ethisch verantwoord participatief onderzoek is, en wat dit vraagt van onderzoekers en beleidsmakers. Drie lezingen op deze conferentie zijn nadien omgewerkt tot essays om lezers van Beleidsonderzoek Online vanuit verschillende perspectieven beter kennis te laten maken met deze vorm van onderzoek:

    Prof. Weerman en haar team focussen in hun bijdrage op het zich in de praktijk ontwikkelende onderzoeksdesign en het inzetten van creatieve methoden om participatie te bevorderen. Ze gaan na welke kwaliteitscriteria aan participatief actieonderzoek worden gesteld en hechten daarbij met name aan eisen ten aanzien van participatie, samen leren en verschil maken (zie BoO juli 2021). Ze benadrukken het belang van creativiteit en flexibiliteit.

    Prof. Abma bespreekt in haar artikel de normatieve dimensies en de ethiek van participatief actieonderzoek (zie BoO september 2020). Ze illustreert met een voorbeeld uit de crisishulpverlening aan GGZ-cliënten dat participatief actieonderzoek niet slechts een methodisch-technische exercitie is, maar een sociaal-politiek proces waarbij bestaande machtsverhoudingen verschuiven om ruimte te geven aan nieuwe stemmen en kennis. Dit omvat het zien van en stilstaan bij ethisch saillante dilemma’s en morele reflectie.

    De bijdrage van prof. Cook (zie BoO februari 2021) gaat over de weerbarstige praktijk van participatief actieonderzoek. Het doel is samen leren en voorbij geijkte oplossingen komen. Zij laat zien dat dit uitdagend is voor professionals die geconfronteerd worden met burgers die feedback geven en vragen om het (deels) loslaten van vaststaande professionele kaders. Er ontstaat dan ongemak en onzekerheid, maar zo beoogt en laat Cook overtuigend zien, deze ‘mess’ (niet meer goed weten wat goed en nodig is) is productief om te komen tot hernieuwde inzichten en innovaties.

    (Introductietekst opgesteld door prof. T. Abma)


Alie Weerman
Alie Weerman is professor of Mental Health and Society at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences. Her PhD focused on the use of experiential knowledge of professional social workers and caretakers. She practices Participatory Health Research in several organizations in healthcare and social work. She always uses experiential knowledge as a valuable ‘third source of knowledge’ in the process and results of studies.

Rosalie Metze
Rosalie Metze is associate professor of Mental Health and Society at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences. Her expertise lies in topics such as outreach work, experiential knowledge, self-efficacy, and strengthening the voice of those less heard. Her goal is to always work according to the PAR principles, and gain the necessary acknowledgement for this type of research.
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