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    This article describes and explains the development of the regional construct for the coordination of medical assistance in accidents and disasters, the emergency medical services in the region (GHOR), in the Netherlands in the period 1996 to 2020. The authors distinguish four stages of organisational development, which they analyse from a multi-actor perspective consisting of three elements: the impact of disasters and (negative) evaluations, the institutional context and the bureaucratic battle surrounding the GHOR. The GHOR was a solution for a perceived insufficiently coordinated functioning of all parties involved in medical assistance. The GHOR was positioned in a complex way. This made it predictable that the multidisciplinary GHOR process would gradually be integrated within the ‘nearby’ regular mono-disciplinary acute care process and the structures for it. This article gives policymakers involved in disaster and crisis management more insight into the history and development of the GHOR over the last two decades. This insight is important now that the added value of the GHOR has come under discussion, partly due to the doubts of the Evaluation Committee for the Security Regions Act, and decisions about its future have to be taken. For administrative scientists, this case study shows that public administration’s ability to foresee and break through known organisational development patterns is still inadequate.


Bernadette Holtkamp
Mr. B.J. Holtkamp BN is hoofddocent/onderzoeker Safety & Security Management aan de Saxion Hogeschool in Enschede.

Ira Helsloot
Prof. dr. I. Helsloot is hoogleraar Besturen van Veiligheid aan de faculteit Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

    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.

    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.
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

Access_open De pandemie als spiegel

Bestuurskundig leren van de aanpak van de COVID-19-crisis

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden COVID-19, Crisis management, Policy learning, Evidence and policy, Learning from crisis
Auteurs Myrthe van Delden, Wiljan Hendrikx, Shelena Keulemans e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This is an introduction to a special issue dedicated to drawing lessons from the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. We introduce the various papers of the special issue, raise the questions we seek to answer in this special issue, and formulate an agenda for future research on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Myrthe van Delden
T.A.M. van Delden, MSc is onderzoeker en opleidingsmanager van de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB).

Wiljan Hendrikx
Dr. P.M.A. Hendrikx is onderzoeker en opleidingsmanager van de NSOB.

Shelena Keulemans
Dr. S.A.C. Keulemans is universitair docent Bestuurskunde aan de Radboud Universiteit.

Martijn van der Steen
Prof. dr. M.A. 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.
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.
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.
Thema-artikel

Biopolitieke macht en de vrijheid van de burger

Hoe de politieke democratie op het spel staat in en na het coronabeleid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden power, negative freedom, positive freedom, COVID-19, political democracy
Auteurs Henk den Uijl en Paul Frissen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this political philosophy article we contribute to the question whether the covid-measures of the state fundamentally change the relation between state and society. One the one hand, we seek to explain this from the perspective of different forms of power government applies. On the other hand, we seek to understand the nature of freedom and the legitimation to restrict freedom. We notice in contemporary administration a habitus that is extremely ambivalent. On the one side, freedom is perceived as not being restrained to do, say or think whatever one wants (negative freedom). On the other hand, we notice that this freedom is not entrusted to civilians (or civilians do not entrust it to themselves), but is materialized, in great detail, by government itself. Although a pandemic may legitimize extraordinary measures, we argue that, for the sake of the future of our political democracy, the state and its administration needs to develop more self-consciousness regarding the forms of power it applies. Also, it needs to be accountable to what extent it values freedom.


Henk den Uijl
H. den Uijl MA is onderzoeker aan de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB) in Den Haag en doctoraal kandidaat aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, faculteit der geesteswetenschappen, afdeling filosofie. Hij verricht onderzoek en doceert op het snijvlak van filosofie, bestuurs- en organisatiekunde. Hij is lid van de raad van toezicht van de JP van den Bent stichting, een zorginstelling voor mensen met een verstandelijke beperking.

Paul Frissen
Prof. dr. P.H.A. Frissen is decaan en bestuursvoorzitter van de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB) in Den Haag en hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan Tilburg University. Hij doceert, verricht onderzoek en adviseert op het terrein van bestuurskunde en politieke filosofie. Hij is voorzitter van de raad van toezicht van Dichterbij, een zorginstelling voor mensen met een verstandelijke beperking.
Vrij artikel

Permanent falen

Het (niet-)gebruik van kwaliteitssystemen in de GGZ

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden performance measurement, quality control, mental health care, institutional theory
Auteurs Marieke Van Geffen, Taco Brandsen, Christiaan J. Lako e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article we present the results of research into quality control systems in Dutch mental health care (GGZ). So far, little is known about the efficacy of quality control systems in this sector. A mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods has been applied (interviews, focus groups, questionnaires and document analysis) to find out how these systems were applied in mental health care and how their use could be explained.
    The findings show that the implementation of quality control systems was limited and highly selective. The system appears to be permanently failing, a fact recognized by most parties, yet mistrust prevents change. This confirms the assumption from institutional theory that some parts of organizations can have a symbolic rather than a real effect. In this case, it seems that the presence of quality control systems is valued over the actual improvement of quality.


Marieke Van Geffen
Dr. M. van Geffen is gastonderzoeker aan de Radboud Universiteit, manager innovatie bij de Viersprong en specialist in persoonlijkheid, gedrag en gezin.

Taco Brandsen
Prof. dr. T. Brandsen is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Christiaan J. Lako
Dr. C.J. Lako is hoofddocent bestuurskunde aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Odette M. Brand-de Wilde
Dr. O.M. Brand-de Wilde is klinisch psycholoog en psychotherapeut aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam, afdeling klinische psychologie.
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.
Thema-artikel

Tweebenig besturen binnen zorgnetwerken

Besturen tijdens de ‘hamer’ en de ‘dans’ in zorgregio west

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden network management, health care managers, innovation, consolidation, health care networks, COVID-19, crisis management
Auteurs Jelmer Schalk, Eduard Schmidt, Suzan van der Pas e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Crisis management requires health care managers to simultaneously innovate, i.e. to adjust – and to consolidate, i.e. to provide stability. COVID-19 was no exception in this respect. In this study, we ask to what extent multi-actor and multi-level health care networks stimulate or hinder balancing innovation and consolidation. We present the results of a qualitative case study, drawing upon 29 interviews with health care managers in one region in the Netherlands. Our analysis chronologically follows the crisis management response and differentiates between ‘the hammer’ phase (the ‘lockdown’) and the ‘dance’ phase (learning to live with the virus). We show that, especially in the hammer phase, formal networks can contribute to consolidation, yet innovation comes mostly from informal and personal networks. While the hammer phase should help organizations prepare to live and dance with the virus, we show that multi-actor and multi-level networks focus more on idiosyncratic organizational interests, although some of these are in fact productive. We conclude with recommendations for practice.


Jelmer Schalk
Dr. J. Schalk is universitair hoofddocent bij het LUMC.

Eduard Schmidt
Dr. J.E.T. Schmidt is universitair docent bij de Universiteit Leiden.

Suzan van der Pas
Dr. S. van der Pas is universitair hoofddocent bij het LUMC.

Sietse Wieringa
Dr. S. Wieringa is huisarts bij het LUMC.

Sandra Groeneveld
Prof. dr. S.M. Groeneveld is hoogleraar Publiek Management bij de Universiteit Leiden.

Jet Bussemaker
Prof. dr. M. Bussemaker is hoogleraar Wetenschap, beleid en maatschappelijke impact bij het LUMC.
Artikel

Diversiteit en inclusie bij de rijksoverheid: met beleid vooruit

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering Online First 2021
Trefwoorden diversity, inclusion, culture, leadership, public sector
Auteurs Saniye Çelik
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Dutch public sector wants to become more diverse and inclusive, which seems necessary for the legitimacy and confidence of the government. This explorative study took place within two Dutch national government departments and shows how scientific insights into diversity and inclusion are reflected in government practice. Four results can be derived from this study: (1) The sense of urgency around diversity and inclusion has a stimulating effect, but the embedding of the theme into both departments deserves attention. (2) There is a wealth of perspectives and interventions, but hardly any attention to the connection with society. (3) The themes of leadership and inclusion should be higher on the agenda. (4) Psychological security determines an inclusive culture.
    Important conclusions and recommendations are:

    • Formulate a clear vision of diversity and inclusion, and involve the entire organisation in the approach.

    • Strengthen an inclusive culture, and invest in inclusive leadership.

    • Promote diversity at the top of the organisation.

    Notably, the influx of diversity in the workforce is still the priority of many public organisations. However, the flow and retention of these employees needs more attention. There lies an important task for executives. These conclusions and recommendations form a basis for organisations that want to move forward with policies and interventions on diversity and inclusion.


Saniye Çelik
Dr. Saniye Çelik is lector diversiteit aan de Hogeschool Leiden en opleider aan de Universiteit Leiden. www.hsleiden.nl/diversiteit.
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.

    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.
Article

Is Euroscepticism Contagious?

How Mainstream Parties React to Eurosceptic Challengers in Belgian Parliaments

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering Online First 2021
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 recent graduate from Universiteit Antwerpen, and will soon start a PhD program at the European University Institute in Firenze.

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.

    Since 2003, decentralized audit offices in the Netherlands have been authorized to investigate the regularity of the administration conducted. The definition of ‘regularity’ and the scope of the regularity investigation is not described in the law or in the literature. In this article, a regularity investigation is defined as ‘testing whether the administration has complied with applicable law’. That applicable law consists of written and unwritten rules of law, and case law. Audit offices examine regularity less often than efficiency and effectiveness. However, they have started researching it more often than in the past, according to this article. Of the administrative audit office reports in 2019, 42% contained a regularity finding, conclusion or recommendation. Accountants also investigate the regularity. They do this in the context of the annual audit and limit themselves to financial regularity. The regularity audit carried out by decentralized audit offices is broader. In addition to written legal rules, it also focuses on unwritten legal rules and case law, it is not limited to financial subjects and the investigation period can be longer than one reporting year. The findings and conclusions of the audit offices regarding the lawful unlawful actions of the administration concern the consequences for citizens and companies and the consequences for the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration’s actions.


Arjan Kok
Mr. drs. A. Kok RA is sinds 2004 werkzaam bij de Rekenkamer Metropool Amsterdam, is medeauteur van de Handreiking juridische vraagstukken van de NVRR (juli 2020) en doceert het onderdeel rechtmatigheidsonderzoek binnen de postacademische cursus Rekenkameronderzoek (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam).
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