Zoekresultaat: 333 artikelen

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    How did Flemish and Dutch mayors experience the first months of the corona crisis? To find out, the Flemish and Dutch authors of this article first zoom in on the local government system of Flanders (Belgium) and the Netherlands in which these mayors operate. That system differs between the Low Countries from a functional, territorial and political perspective. However, a thorough document analysis and a series of interviews teach us that the position and leeway of mayors is quite similar in full corona time and during the corona struggle. Crisis decision-making is centralised in both Flanders and the Netherlands. Mayors therefore quickly made a significant shift in terms of (1) power and authority (respectively to the provincial governor and the federal level and to the regional mayor and the national level); (2) tasks (prioritising crisis management over other tasks); and (3) roles (increased importance for the executive role with impact on the ‘mayor father’ or ‘mayor mother’ role). And, with that, this contribution shows that Flemish and Dutch mayors, and if they are extended, local authorities, are indispensable for these days tackling a crisis, even if it extends far beyond their own borders.


Ellen Wayenberg
Prof. dr. E. Wayenberg is hoofddocent aan de Vakgroep Bestuurskunde en Publiek Management van de Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde van de Universiteit Gent. Zij is covoorzitter van de Permanent Study Group on Regional and Local Government in het kader van de European Group on Public Administration en redactielid van Beleidsonderzoek Online en het Vlaamse Tijdschrift voor Overheids­management.

Marieke van Genugten
Dr. M.L. van Genugten is universitair hoofddocent bestuurskunde in de sectie Bestuurskunde van de Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen. Zij is redactielid van het tijdschrift Bestuurskunde.

Joris Voets
Prof. dr. J. Voets is hoofddocent bestuurskunde aan de Vakgroep Bestuurskunde en Publiek Management van de Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde van de Universiteit Gent. Hij is bestuurslid van de Vlaamse Vereniging voor Bestuur en Beleid en de International Research Society for Public Management en hoofdredacteur van het Vlaamse Tijdschrift voor Overheidsmanagement.

Sandra Resodihardjo
Dr. S.L. Resodihardjo is universitair docent bestuurskunde in de sectie Bestuurskunde van de Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen. Zij is redactielid van Risk, Hazards, & Crisis in Public Policy.

Inke Torfs
I. Torfs MSc is doctoraal onderzoeker aan de Vakgroep Bestuurskunde en Publiek Management van de Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde van de Universiteit Gent.

Bram Van Haelter
B. Van Haelter MSc is doctoraal onderzoeker aan de Vakgroep Bestuurskunde en Publiek Management van de Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde van de Universiteit Gent.

    In this study, the authors analyse the development of the 46 Dutch local parties that received at least ten per cent of the vote in the 2014 municipal elections as a new party. The aim is to determine which factors are most relevant to the successful entry and survival of this group of parties. To this end, they conduct interviews with leaders of these parties, but also, for comparison, with the leaders of parties who failed to win a seat. An important common feature of the most successful local parties is that they express dissatisfaction with local politics in an appealing way and offer voters perspective. They do this by putting people on the list who are known in the small communities and who are actively involved. The following factors are present in varying compositions among the parties that even exceeded their election victory four years later: unity in the party or at least no ‘hassle’ visible to society, visible and appealing to residents, having clearly achieved something and being able to transmit that to society. Most founders of the most successful newcomers were previously politically active for a local branch of a political party. It is also striking that three quarters of the most successful newcomers come from municipalities with a maximum of 40,000 inhabitants.


Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is als lector Recht en Veiligheid verbonden aan Avans Hogeschool in Den Bosch en als universitair docent Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Milou Peeters
M. Peeters BSc is masterstudent Management van de Publieke Sector aan de Universiteit Leiden. Ook doet ze als student-assistent bij de Universiteit Maastricht onderzoek naar de controlefunctie van gemeenteraden. Zij deed een bachelor Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Sander Jennissen
S. Jennissen BSc is masterstudent Management van de Publieke Sector aan de Universiteit Leiden. Hij deed een bachelor Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

    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.

Wieke Pot
Dr. W.D. Pot is universitair docent bij de leerstoelgroep Bestuurskunde van Wageningen Universiteit.

Jorren Scherpenisse
Dr. K.J. Scherpenisse is co-decaan en adjunct-directeur van de Denktank van de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB).

Paul ’t Hart
Prof. dr. P. ’t Hart is professor Bestuurskunde bij Utrecht Universiteit en co-decaan bij de NSOB.

Peter van der Knaap
Dr. P. van der Knaap is directeur Internationaal Onderzoek en Beleidsevaluatie bij het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken en redactielid bij het tijdschrift Bestuurskunde.
Thema-artikel

De verleiding van bestuurlijke blikvernauwing: schuld en tijd in ­COVID-19-crisisbeleid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2021
Trefwoorden crisis management, blame avoidance, COVID-19, crisis communication, time
Auteurs Joram Feitsma en Marij Swinkels
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    As public institutions seek to come to grips with the crisis of COVID-19, they risk getting trapped in a unilateral here-and-now crisis management style that overlooks other long-term societal issues. We raise the question how and why this is the case. What makes here-and-now crisis management so ‘attractive’ from a political-administrative perspective? Through which strategies is this style being promoted? Guided by the literature on blame management, we empirically analyze the Dutch COVID-19 crisis communication. We specifically zoom into a pivotal yet underexposed facet: the role of time. Three time-related blame management strategies are empirically explored and interpreted: 1) playing with the time horizon; 2) organizing self-reinforcing institutional rhythms of monitoring and decision-making; 3) selectively naming uncertainties and risks. All three subtly add to a short time horizon in managing the ­COVID-19 crisis, revealing how interwoven time and blame are in public decision-making.


Joram Feitsma
Dr. J.N.P. Feitsma is universitair docent bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht.

Marij Swinkels
Dr. E.M. Swinkels is universitair docent bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht.
Thema-artikel

Investeren in de toekomst na COVID-19: speelt de crisis een rol in ­partijpositionering?

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2021
Trefwoorden intertemporal policymaking, policy investments, crisis, party positioning, elections
Auteurs Pieter Tuytens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Do the budgetary consequences of an acute crisis make us less willing to tackle long-term challenges? This paper asks whether the recent ­COVID-19 crisis has affected the willingness of parties to commit to so-called ‘policy investments’. These are policies where short-term costs are accepted in anticipation of higher benefits in the longer run. Theoretically, there is no unambiguous prediction as to whether the recent crisis plays a role in repositioning party preferences regarding policy investments. In light of this theoretical ambiguity, this article aims to provide an empirical answer by measuring and comparing party positioning regarding policy investments of Dutch parties during the two general elections for the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamerver­kiezingen) of 2017 and 2021 respectively. To identify which proposals qualify as policy investments, and measure the corresponding willingness to engage in them, the article builds on calculations of the budgetary impact of party manifestos provided by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (Centraal Planbureau; Keuze in Kaart). The subsequent analysis shows that overall willingness of parties to engage in policy investments has increased during the COVID-19 crisis; suggesting that the tension between addressing short- and long-term challenges is less strict that often suggested.


Pieter Tuytens
Dr. P. Tuytens is universitair docent aan het Departement Bestuurskunde en Sociologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Opposition in Times of COVID-19 – To Support or Not to Support?

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2021
Trefwoorden minority government, rally-around-the-flag, COVID-19, mainstream parties, challenger parties, opposition, party goals
Auteurs Britt Vande Walle, Wouter Wolfs en Steven Van Hecke
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    COVID-19 has hit many countries all over the world, and its impact on (party) politics has been undeniable. This crisis situation functions as an opportunity structure incentivising opposition forces to support the government. Not much is known about what drives opposition parties to (not) support the government in crisis situations. This article integrates the literature on rally-around-the-flag, political opportunity structures, party types and party goals. More specifically, we focus on the behaviour of opposition parties towards the government’s crisis response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyse whether and how the party type influences the position of the party vis-à-vis the governmental coalition, focusing on the case of Belgium. We categorise the seven opposition parties in Belgium as challenger or mainstream parties and explain their behaviour on the basis of policy-, office- or vote-seeking motives. Our analysis is based on party voting behaviour, elite interviews and an analysis of the main plenary debates.


Britt Vande Walle
Britt Vande Walle is PhD Researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Instituted, funded by a FWO fellowship ‘Fundamental Research’. Her research focuses on comparative politics, political parties, and political party think tanks. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9594-9897.

Wouter Wolfs
Wouter Wolfs is Senior Researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research interests include the European Union, political finance, legislative studies and political parties. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6214-5972.

Steven Van Hecke
Steven Van Hecke is Associate Professor in Comparative and EU Politics at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research focuses on Europarties, EU institutions and European integration history. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0215-5463.
Thema-artikel

From National Lockdowns to Herd Immunity: Understanding the Spectrum of Government Responses to COVID-19 (2019-2021)

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden COVID-19, Health Policy, Policy Strategies, Policy Capacity, Leadership
Auteurs Michael Howlett
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Governments around the world responded at roughly the same time but in several different ways to the emerging threat of COVID-19 in early 2020. This article sets out the nature of the different strategies that emerged over the course of the pandemic, focussing on the policy tools deployed. Some of these efforts were successful in containing the coronavirus while others were not, in some cases due to poor initial choices and in others due to poor implementation of the chosen strategy. Although the initial understanding each government had of the nature of the disease was the same, different state capacities and different levels of preparedness and effective leadership can be seen to have resulted over time in the emergence of six distinct approaches to the pandemic which, once deployed, proved difficult, although not impossible, to change as the pandemic unfolded.


Michael Howlett
Dr. M. Howlett is professor at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.
Thema-artikel

Lokale democratie achter de schermen

Lessen leren uit digitaal vergaderen door gemeenteraden in coronatijd

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden Local, Councils, Online, Decision-making, Deliberation
Auteurs Klaartje Peters, Geerten Boogaard, Bibi van den Berg e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a temporary law came into force enabling online deliberation and decision-making by decentralised governments. For the duration of the law, a committee evaluated its operation and implementation. The commission focused on legality, technology and security, and on political-administrative effects, since there were concerns about the consequences of the law in these three areas. This article shows that although no significant legal and technical problems arose, online deliberation did have an effect on the practices of deliberation and decision-making. Online deliberation during the pandemic was not good for local democracy, which was also due to society temporarily going into lock-down. At the same time, online deliberation also appears to have its advantages. In order to reap the benefits of digital deliberation, however, a permanent law that includes hybrid forms of deliberation and technical improvements to online conference systems is needed.


Klaartje Peters
Prof. dr. K. Peters is bijzonder hoogleraar Lokaal en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Maastricht.

Geerten Boogaard
Prof. dr. G. Boogaard is hoogleraar Decentrale Overheden aan de Universiteit Leiden.

Bibi van den Berg
Prof. dr. B. van den Berg is hoogleraar Cybersecurity Governance aan de Universiteit Leiden.

Lianne Van Kalken
Mr. L. van Kalken is onderzoeker Staatsrecht aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Thema-artikel

Corona: stresstest voor het binnenlands bestuur?

Over de Nederlandse corona-aanpak: differentiatie tussen en inbedding in de veiligheidsregio’s

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden Corona virus, Health crisis, Safety regions, Local office holders
Auteurs Caspar van den Berg, Geerten Boogaard, Sofie Dreef e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the Netherlands, the first period of the fight against the corona virus, which lasted from March, 1 until December 1, 2020, can be seen as a unique experiment. During this period, the 25 chairs of the ‘safety regions’ (veiligheidsregio’s), who are simultaneously the major of an important municipality in their region, were authorized for the first time to issue the most essential measures to tackle a national health crisis, partly on the binding advice of the Dutch health minister. The chairs of the safety regions gathered in the so-called ‘safety convention’ (veiligheidsberaad), in which they aimed to nationally coordinate their respective local measures. In this paper, we argue that the involvement of the safety regions provided a structure in which all local office holders in their respective regions (both on the municipal and the safety region level) could co-operate in the nation-wide fight against the pandemic, while at the same time take into account the existing (cultural) differences between the 25 regions.


Caspar van den Berg
Prof. dr. C.F. van den Berg is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Geerten Boogaard
Prof. mr. G. Boogaard is hoogleraar Decentrale Overheden aan de Universiteit Leiden.

Sofie Dreef
S. Dreef, MSc, LLM is promovendus aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen en werkt als managing consultant bij Berenschot.

Gert Jan Geertjes
Mr. G.J.A. Geertjes is universitair docent staatsrecht aan de Universiteit Leiden.
Dissertatie

Local government in times of global challenges

The implications of the Financial Crisis since 2007 on public finances at the municipal level in the Netherlands

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Auteurs Jan Porth

Jan Porth
Thema-artikel

Wetenschappelijk advies en coronabeleid: een bestuurskundige reflectie

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden science for policy, policy advice, policy making, wicked issues, COVID19 policy
Auteurs Hans de Bruijn en Martijn van der Steen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This paper takes a public administration lens to look at the relationship between scientific knowledge en policy making during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemix in The Netherlands. Policy makers portrayed an eagerness for scientific knowledge to help them make ‘the right decisions’, and many scientist were just as eager to answer the call. However, there are many dilemmas involved in the relationship between policy making and scientific advice. How can de the relationship between science and policy best be organized? What scientific dicisplines and subsidsciplines should be involved? And what is the specific role of social sciences in policy advice?


Hans de Bruijn
Prof.mr. dr. J.A. de Bruijn is Professor of Public Administration/Organisation and Management bij de Technische Universiteit Delft.

Martijn van der Steen
Prof. dr. M. van der Steen is bijzonder hoogleraar bij de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, en is tevens co-decaan en adjunct-directeur van de NSOB en directeur van de Denktank.
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

Access_open The Determinants of Committee Membership in Belgium and the Netherlands

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden parliamentary committees, legislative organisation
Auteurs Tim Mickler
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article I analyse whether differences in formal committee structures affect how parliamentary actors organise their work within them. I compare the allocation of members to specialised committees in the Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) and the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers/Chambre des Représentants) to test whether committee assignments are given more serious consideration when committees are strong. Despite many similarities, both parliaments differ in their internal institutional arrangements: committees in the Chamber of Representatives are, at least formally, considerably more powerful than those in the Dutch Lower House. The article uses the congressional theories of legislative organisation as heuristic devices to deduce several rationales of the assignment process. The role of parliamentary party groups is highlighted. The results indicate the presence of stable, reoccurring patterns in both parliaments. Even in the House of Representatives, where committees present lower opportunity structures, assignments are given due consideration.


Tim Mickler
Tim Alexander Mickler is an assistant professor at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. Corresponding author: Tim Mickler at t.a.mickler@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.
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.

Benjamin de Vet
Benjamin de Vet is a postdoctoral researcher (FWO) at research group GASPAR, Department of Political Science, Ghent University. His main research interests are parliaments and political parties. He has published on these topics in Parliamentary Affairs, Party Politics and The Journal of Legislative Studies.

Tom Louwerse
Tom Louwerse is associate professor of Political Science at Leiden University. His research focuses on legislative politics, political representation and elections. He has published in many international journals, including West European Politics, Party Politics, The Journal of Legislative Studies and Political Science Research and Methods.
Article

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

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering Online First 2021
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 holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Liege.
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.
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