Zoekresultaat: 22 artikelen

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

Still Consociational? Belgian Democracy, 50 Years After ‘The Politics of Accommodation’

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Belgium, consociational democracy, Lijphart, federalism, ethnolinguistic conflict
Auteurs Didier Caluwaerts en Min Reuchamps
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Despite the enduring importance of Lijphart’s work for understanding democracy in Belgium, the consociational model has come under increasing threat. Owing to deep political crises, decreasing levels of trust in elites, increasing levels of ethnic outbidding and rising demands for democratic reform, it seems as if Lijphart’s model is under siege. Even though the consociational solution proved to be very capable of transforming conflict into cooperation in Belgian politics in the past, the question we raise in this article is whether and to what extent the ‘politics of accommodation’ is still applicable to Belgian democracy. Based on an in-depth analysis of the four institutional (grand coalition, proportionality, mutual veto rights and segmental autonomy) and one cultural (public passivity) criteria, we argue that consociational democracy’s very nature and institutional set-up has largely hollowed out its potential for future conflict management.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is professor of political science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research deals with democratic governance and innovation in deeply divided societies. With Min Reuchamps, he has recently published “The Legitimacy of Citizen-led Deliberative Democracy: The G1000 in Belgium” (Routledge, 2018).

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is professor of political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multi-level governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and in particular the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.
Literature Review

Access_open Preference Voting in the Low Countries

A Research Overview

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden elections, electoral systems, preference voting, candidates, personalization
Auteurs Bram Wauters, Peter Thijssen en Patrick Van Erkel
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Preference votes constitute one of the key features of (open and flexible) PR-list electoral systems. In this article, we give an extensive overview of studies conducted on preference voting in Belgium and the Netherlands. After elaborating on the definition and delineation of preference voting, we scrutinize studies about which voters cast preference votes (demand side) and about which candidates obtain preference votes (supply side). For each of these aspects, both theoretical approaches and empirical results are discussed and compared. At the same time, we also pay attention to methodological issues in these kinds of studies. As such, this research overview reads as an ideal introduction to this topic which has repercussions on many other subfields of political science.


Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters is an associate professor at the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University, where he leads the research group GASPAR. His research interests include political representation, elections and political parties, with special attention to diversity. He has recently published in journals such as International Political Science Review, Party Politics, Political Studies, and Political Research Quarterly. He is co-editor (with Knut Heidar) of ‘Do parties still represent?’ (Routledge, 2019).

Peter Thijssen
Peter Thijssen is a professor at the Department of Political Science of the University of Antwerp, where he is a member the research group M2P (Media, Movements and Politics). His research focuses on political sociology, public opinion and political participation. He has published in such journals as British Journal of Sociology, Electoral Studies, Energy Policy, European Journal of Social Theory, Party Politics and Risk Analysis. He has co-edited ‘New Public Spheres’ (Ashgate, 2013) and ‘Political Engagement of the Young’ (Routledge, 2016).

Patrick Van Erkel
Patrick van Erkel is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science of the University of Antwerp, where he is connected to the research group M2P (Media, Movements and Politics). His research interests include electoral behavior, public opinion, political communication and polarization. He has published in journals such as the European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies, European Political Science Review and the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties.
Article

Populism as a Visual Communication Style

An Exploratory Study of Populist Image Usage of Flemish Block/Interest in Belgium (1991-2018)

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Populism, image use, visual style, campaign, posters, visual, Flanders, populist right, Belgium
Auteurs Kevin Straetemans
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article analyses the visual communication of the Flemish populist right-wing party Vlaams Blok/Vlaams Belang, and investigates whether or not the party uses a specific populist communication style in its campaign posters, whether or not its visual style evolves over time and how the party distinguishes itself from other (right-wing) parties in its use of images. To do this, the image use will be compared with the CVP/CD&V and the Volksunie/N-VA. This use of images will be investigated by analysing election posters from 1991 to 2018. The analysis shows that there is indeed a ‘populist visual style’. These items consist mainly of (negative) metaphors, false dilemmas, caricatures and the use of so-called ‘agonic’ visual techniques.


Kevin Straetemans
Kevin Straetemans attained a Master’s degree in Political Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2018. He is currently pursuing an Educational Master in Social Sciences at the same university. His research interests are political parties, elections, extremism, propaganda and political communication.
Article

Deliberation Out of the Laboratory into Democracy

Quasi-Experimental Research on Deliberative Opinions in Antwerp’s Participatory Budgeting

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Deliberative democracy, mini-publics, participatory budget, social learning, deliberative opinions
Auteurs Thibaut Renson
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The theoretical assumptions of deliberative democracy are increasingly embraced by policymakers investing in local practices, while the empirical verifications are often not on an equal footing. One such assertion concerns the stimulus of social learning among participants of civic democratic deliberation. Through the use of pre-test/post-test panel data, it is tested whether participation in mini-publics stimulates the cognitive and attitudinal indicators of social learning. The main contribution of this work lies in the choice of matching this quasi-experimental set-up with a natural design. This study explores social learning across deliberation through which local policymakers invite their citizens to participate in actual policymaking. This analysis on the District of Antwerp’s participatory budgeting demonstrates stronger social learning in real-world policymaking. These results inform a richer theory on the impacts of deliberation, as well as better use of limited resources for local (participatory) policymaking.


Thibaut Renson
Thibaut Renson is, inspired by the 2008 Obama campaign, educated as a Political Scientist (Ma EU Studies, Ghent University) and Political Philosopher (Ma Global Ethics and Human Values, King’s College London). Landed back at the Ghentian Centre for Local Politics to do empirical research. Driven by the moral importance of social learning (vs. political consumerism) in democracy, exploring the empirical instrumentality of deliberation.
Article

Access_open Opening the Opaque Blank Box

An Exploration into Blank and Null Votes in the 2018 Walloon Local Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden voting, elections, blank vote, invalid vote, abstention
Auteurs Jean-Benoit Pilet, Maria Jimena Sanhuza, David Talukder e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article, we propose an in-depth exploration of blank and null ballots in the recent 2018 local elections in Wallonia (Belgium). In the official results, both blank and null ballots are merged together and are classified as invalid votes. After obtaining the authorization to access genuine electoral ballots, we study the votes which were not considered for the composition of local councils in detail. The dataset is a representative sample of 13,243 invalidated ballots from 49 Walloon municipalities. We first describe how many of these invalidated ballots are blank and how many are null votes, as well as the nature of the nulled votes (unintended errors or intentionally spoiled ballots). Second, we dig deeper into the differences between ballots that have been intentionally invalidated by voters (blank votes and intentional null votes) and ballots non-intentionally invalidated. Our results show that most of the ballots (two-thirds) are null ballots and that among them, half are unintentional null ballots. Finally, we show that contextual (socio-demographic and political) factors explain the variations in intentional and unintentional null votes across municipalities.


Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet is professor of political science at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He works on elections, political parties, and democratic reforms. He has recently co-authored Faces on the Ballot. The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe (OUP, 2016, with Alan Renwick) and The Politics of Party Leadership (OUP, 2016, with William Cross).

Maria Jimena Sanhuza
Maria Jimena Sanhueza is PhD Researcher in Political Science at Universite Libre de Bruxelles where she is associated to three projects studying Belgian politics. Her research focuses on citizenship, representation and democracy. Before starting her PhD, Maria Jimena worked as assistant researcher for EU HORIZON 2020 projects Pathways to Power and Solidarity in Times on Crisis, and co-authored a few publications on European democracies and representation.

David Talukder
David Talukder is PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He is conducting a thesis on the reform of representative democracy, looking at disadvantaged groups’ evaluation of representative democracy and demands for procedural democratic reforms. His main research interests are related to procedural democratic reforms, participatory democracy and democratic innovations.

Jérémy Dodeigne
Jérémy Dodeigne is associate professor in political science at the Université de Namur. His research areas cover the study of political representation in multilevel systems, local politics, comparative politics and mixed methods research designs. His work appears in journals such as Party Politics, American Behavioral Scientist, Local Government Studies, Regional & Federal Studies, Government & Opposition, and Representation.

Audrey E. Brennan
Audrey E. Brennan is completing a joint doctorate in political science at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Université Laval. Her research interests are political parties, elections, and political participation. Her dissertation studies the effect of leadership change mechanisms on the long-term behaviour of political party members.
Article

Split Offer and Homogeneous Response in Belgium

The Conceptual and Empirical Limitations of (De)Nationalization

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden (de-)nationalization, voting behaviour, party offer, voter response, methodological nationalism
Auteurs Luana Russo, Kris Deschouwer en Tom Verthé
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    By examining the Belgian case, this article aims to show that methodological nationalism is strongly present in the literature on nationalization of party offer and voting behaviour. In nationalization studies, Belgium is often presented as a typical example of a denationalized country. This is true for the party offer, as it is de facto split between the two language groups since the 1980s, and therefore also voter response at the national level. However, voter response within each separate subnational party system is very homogeneous and shows interesting differences between these party systems that inform us about important electoral dynamics. We argue, on the basis of our results, that rather than stretching the concept of nationalization, it is preferable and justified to treat the concepts of nationalization of the party offer and homogenization of voter response as analytically distinct and not as two sides of the same coin.


Luana Russo
Luana Russo, Maastricht University.

Kris Deschouwer
Kris Deschouwer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Tom Verthé
Tom Verthé, Ghent University & Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Article

Access_open Do Characteristics of Consociational Democracies Still Apply to Belgian Parties?

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Belgium, political parties, party membership, political participation, political representation
Auteurs Emilie Van Haute en Bram Wauters
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Belgium has long been described as a typical case of a consociational or consensus democracy. This article aims at identifying whether political parties in Belgium share the internal characteristics of parties in consensus democracies: passive mass memberships, the importance of purposive and material incentives for joining, and representation of a clear subculture in the social and attitudinal profiles of their members and via overlapping memberships with related organizations. We mobilize longitudinal party membership data and party member surveys conducted in three different time periods. We show that pillar parties still exercise their role of mobilization and representation of societal segments, but these segments tend to become smaller over time. New parties offer alternative options of mobilization and representation, although not always in line with the specific institutional arrangements of consociational democracy.


Emilie Van Haute
Emilie Van Haute, Cevipol, Université libre de Bruxelles.

Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters, Research Group GASPAR, Ghent University.
Article

Transformative Welfare Reform in Consensus Democracies

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden consensus democracy, welfare state, social investment, transformative reform, Belgium and the Netherlands
Auteurs Anton Hemerijck en Kees van Kersbergen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article takes up Lijphart’s claim that consensus democracy is a ‘kinder, gentler’ form of democracy than majoritarian democracy. We zoom in on contemporary welfare state change, particularly the shift towards social investment, and argue that the kinder, gentler hypothesis remains relevant. Consensus democracies stand out in regard to the extent to which their political institutions help to overcome the politically delicate intricacies of governing for the long term. We theorize the features that can help to solve the problem of temporal commitment in democracy through processual mechanisms and illustrate these with short case studies of the contrasting welfare state reform experiences in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Anton Hemerijck
Anton Hemerijck is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy.

Kees van Kersbergen
Kees van Kersbergen is Professor of Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science of Aarhus University, Denmark.

    The often gloomy analyses of democratic representation at the local level are frequently directed at the problems with parties and elections. Direct participation is not a good alternative because only certain people who are already politically active use it. However, with the help of the concept ‘representative claim’ and based on two qualitative case studies of decentralizations in the social domain, the authors show that there are other representative people besides elected politicians. These self-appointed, non-elected representatives may advocate on behalf of vulnerable groups who themselves do not have a strong voice in politics. In addition this study shows that elected representatives, like political parties and local counselors, can strengthen their representative role by: (1) cooperating better with the non-elected representatives, (2) highlighting their representational claims and the basis of these claims, and (3) strengthening their responsiveness towards their support base through authorization and other accountability structures other than elections. In this way the democratic representation in municipalities is reinforced and may be stronger than the often gloomy analyses suggest.


Dr. Hester van de Bovenkamp
Dr. H.M. van de Bovenkamp is universitair hoofddocent aan het instituut Beleid & Management Gezondheidszorg (iBMG) aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Dr. Hans Vollaard
Dr. J.P. Vollaard is universitair docent Nederlandse en Europese politiek binnen het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.
Article

Democratische politiek: ‘minder, minder, minder’ of anders?

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2017
Auteurs Frank Hendriks, Koen van der Krieken en Sabine van Zuydam
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article looks at indications and counterindications in Dutch democracy for the popular claim that citizens, while still valuing representative democracy, are fed up with representative politics. Using available large-scale surveys, citizen attitudes are analysed at the levels of specific political actors (politicians, officials), central political institutions (political parties, parliament, government) and the general system of representative democratic politics (the way it works in the Netherlands, with multiparty coalitions, etc). While specific legitimacy problems exist, the evidence for a general legitimacy crisis in Dutch democracy is comparatively weak and highly mixed. More specifically, the evidence suggests that Dutch citizens do not so much want less representative politics, but rather representative politics of a somewhat different kind: less exclusively organized via party-political channels; more geared at recognizable and accountable political authority. Dutch citizens want to seriously influence but not supplant selectionistic representative politics, the evidence suggests.


Frank Hendriks
Frank Hendriks is als hoogleraar comparative governance verbonden aan Tilburg University. Hij is gespecialiseerd in de vergelijkende analyse van democratische modellen en hervormingen. Hierover publiceerde hij onder meer Vital Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2010) en, meer toegespitst op Nederland, Democratie onder druk (Van Gennep, 2012).

Koen van der Krieken
Koen van der Krieken is als promovendus en onderzoeker verbonden aan Tilburg School of Governance (TSG). Hij werkt aan een dissertatie over het lokale referendum in Nederland. In 2015 schreef hij, in opdracht van het Ministerie van BZK, een rapport over heden, verleden en toekomst van de lokale referendumpraktijk in Nederland.

Sabine van Zuydam
Sabine van Zuydam is onderzoeker bij Tilburg School of Governance (TSG). In haar proefschrift onderzoekt zij wat lijsttrekkers in verkiezingen, ministers en fractieleiders geloofwaardig maakt in de ogen van burgers. Ze deed mede-onderzoek naar het Nederlandse burgemeestersambt, de vermaatschappelijking van overheidstaken en de rol van de raad bij controversiële besluitvorming.
Artikel

Hoe staat de lokale democratie in Nederland ervoor?

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2016
Auteurs Prof. dr. Klaartje Peters en Drs. Vincent van Stipdonk
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Is local democracy in the Netherlands equipped for its mission? There is confusion and disagreement about the answer to this question. How people assess existing democratic practices is strongly influenced by one of the three main perspectives: representative democracy, participative (deliberative) democracy or ‘do-democracy’ (associative democracy). But to be able to have this discussion in the first place, empirical knowledge is required about the state of democracy at the local level. In this article (apart from the introduction, the first in a series on the local democratic audit) the authors bring together the available research data and organize these data with the help of David Easton’s system model: from input of citizens and civil society via throughput to output and finally feedback again in the political system. The research presented offers some insight in the state of local democracy, although it is not possible to give a final assessment. That depends on the perspective on democracy chosen, but it is also not possible because of the fragmented and incomplete nature of the research on local democracy in the Netherlands. The authors advocate contributing to these discussions with more empirical knowledge. The overview in this article shows that there is work to be done in this respect.


Prof. dr. Klaartje Peters
Prof. dr. K. Peters is zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist en voor één dag in de week bijzonder hoogleraar Lokaal en regionaal bestuur aan de Universiteit Maastricht.

Drs. Vincent van Stipdonk
Drs. V.P. van Stipdonk is zelfstandig Raadgever & Redacteur en tevens redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    With the term ‘system responsibility’ the authors (both working for the Dutch Scientific Council for Governmental Policy) mean the responsibility for the functioning of complex ‘administrative systems’. In these complex administrative systems supervision can have different roles: to assess the functioning one-sided from the perspective of the government, but also to put on reflective glasses (‘from afar glasses’) that aim at the bigger picture of divergent rationalities of the actors involved. In the second case, there is ‘system responsible supervision’. This essay explores the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the desirability of system responsible supervision in a society with complex, compound administrative systems. Such supervision can contribute to a somewhat better understanding of these systems and a somewhat better ability to adjust these complex systems. These supervisors can be seen as a necessary complement of the withdrawal of the government and the rise of ‘horizontal administration’, in which the hierarchical decision-power of the central government has gradually shifted to other actors. As unelected and as relatively independent actors they occupy a new, hybrid place in the ‘trias politica’, because on the one hand they have taken over functions of elected politicians and administrators and on the other hand they function in many respects as a quasi-judicial power.


Dr. Peter de Goede
Dr. P.J.M. de Goede is senior wetenschappelijk medewerker van de Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid. Hij is voormalig redactiesecretaris en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. dr. André Knottnerus
Prof. dr. J.A. Knottnerus is voorzitter van de Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid.
Artikel

De democratische vertegenwoordiging van cliënten en patiënten bij de decentralisaties

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 2 2015
Trefwoorden representative claim, democratic decision making, Decentralization, social and health policies, Municipalities
Auteurs Dr. Hester Van de Bovenkamp en Dr. Hans Vollaard
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Citizen participation is firmly on the agenda of many Western policy makers. Numerous opportunities for individuals to participate in public decision-making have been created. However, few citizens use these opportunities. Those who do are often the highly educated, white, middle and upper classes that also tend to dominate other democratic spaces. Opportunities to become active can increase inequalities in terms of whose voices are heard in public decision-making. This fundamentally challenges the central democratic value of equality. Nevertheless, others can represent the interests of those who remain silent. Using the concept of representative claim this paper explores a variety of forms of representation (electoral, formal non-electoral and informal self-appointed) in the domain of social policy which is currently decentralized in the Netherlands. We conclude that especially informal self-appointed representatives such as medical professionals, churches and patient organizations can potentially play an important role in representing groups who often remain unheard in the public debate. They can therefore play an important role in ensuring the democratic quality of the decentralization process.


Dr. Hester Van de Bovenkamp
Dr. Hester van de Bovenkamp is universitair docent bij het Instituut Beleid en Management Gezondheidszorg van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Dr. Hans Vollaard
Dr. Hans Vollaard is universitair docent Nederlandse en Europese politiek bij het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.

    This paper attempts a normative assessment of the input and output-oriented legitimacy of the present euro-rescuing regime on the basis of policy analyses examining the causes of present crises, the available policy options, and the impact of the policies actually chosen. Concluding that the regime lacks input-oriented legitimacy and that its claim to output-oriented legitimacy is ambivalent at best, the paper explores potential – majoritarian or unilateral – exits from the present institutional constellation that is characterized by the synthesis of a non-democratic expertocracy and an extremely asymmetric intergovernmental bargaining system.


Prof. dr. Fritz W. Scharpf
Prof. dr. Fritz W. Scharpf is emeritus director van het Max Planck Institute for the Studies of Societies.
Article

De substantiële vertegenwoordiging van moslimvrouwen

Vertegenwoordigende claims en responsiviteit in het Vlaamse hoofddoekendebat

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 4 2013
Trefwoorden political representation, representative claims, responsiveness, women’s substantive representation, the headscarf debate, women’s interests
Auteurs Eline Severs, Karen Celis en Petra Meier
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Recently, scholars have propagated a ‘claim-based’ approach towards the study of women’s substantive representation. In this article, we challenge the relativism of such a ‘claim-based’ approach and explore the relevance of the concept of ‘responsiveness’ as a democratic criterion. We do so, more specifically, through a study of Muslim women’s substantive representation in the Flemish headscarf debate. We identify claims to speak for Muslim women formulated by (1) political parties and (2) Muslim women and (minority) women’s associations and examine the congruence between their respective claims. The important incongruence found between the claims formulated by right-wing and liberal parties and those of Muslim women/women’s associations provides empirical backing to the acclaimed relevance of a relational evaluation of women’s substantive representation. We conclude that the criterion of responsiveness is invaluable because it allows us to evaluate if actors’ claims to speak for women account for women’s capacity to speak for themselves.


Eline Severs
Eline Severs is postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en lid van RHEA, het Centrum voor Gender & Diversiteit (VUB). Ze is ook de wetenschappelijk coördinator van het Steunpunt Gelijke Kansenbeleid. Haar onderzoek spitst zich toe op vraagstukken van politieke vertegenwoordiging en vertegenwoordigende democratie (inclusie, legitimiteit en representativiteit).

Karen Celis
Karen Celis is als onderzoeksprofessor verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en lid van RHEA, het Centrum voor Gender & Diversiteit van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Ze verricht theoretisch en empirisch onderzoek naar de politieke vertegenwoordiging van groepen, gelijkekansenbeleid en ‘staatsfeminisme’.

Petra Meier
Petra Meier is hoofddocent aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Antwerpen en promotor-coördinator van het Steunpunt Gelijke Kansenbeleid, een consortium van de vijf Vlaamse universiteiten. Haar onderzoek concentreert zich voornamelijk op de (re)presentatie van gender in politiek en beleid.

Karen Celis
Karen Celis is als onderzoeksprofessor verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en is lid van het RHEA Centrum voor Gender & Diversiteit. Ze verricht theoretisch en empirisch onderzoek naar de politieke vertegenwoordiging van groepen.

Sarah Childs
Sarah Childs is Professor of Politics and Gender aan de Universiteit van Bristol.
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.
Praktijk

Minder belastingen én minder begrotingstekort: Een onmogelijk partnerschap?

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2012
Trefwoorden Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, fiscal conservatism
Auteurs Zeger van der Wal
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    At first glance the notion that lower taxes will decrease the government deficit sounds like a nonsensical idea. Nevertheless this is one of the main arguments brought forward in Mitt Romney's bid to oust Barack Obama from the White House. In this essay, the author compares the arguments brought forward by the Romney campaign and other fiscal conservatives with those of their critics. He discusses the paradigms underlying Romney's fiscal conservatism from a mixed European/Asian perspective. The author argues that while lowering taxes may sound alluring during a political campaign, without them it will prove hard to maintain our standard of living.


Zeger van der Wal
Dr Z. van der Wal is associate professor aan de Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore en research fellow aan de Afdeling Bestuurswetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Rudy B. Andeweg
Rudy B. Andeweg is als hoogleraar empirische politicologie verbonden aan het Instituut voor Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden. Zijn onderzoek is gericht op diverse aspecten van politieke representatie.
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