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    In this article in the series on the local democratic audit, the authors discuss the relationship between decentralization, scaling-up and local democracy. Decentralizations and scaling-up operations have changed the face of local government in the Netherlands considerably in recent decades. What have the consequences for the functioning of local democracy been? Although decentralizations aim to increase democratic control of government tasks, decentralizations appear to have weakened local democracy in two ways. First of all, they have led to a substantial scaling-up of the local government, through municipal amalgamations and especially through the formation of regional partnerships. Regionalization in particular has had all kinds of negative consequences for the functioning of local democracy. Decentralization policy itself has also weakened the steering and controlling role of the city council – certainly in the short term – while decentralization presupposes that the city council has a strong role in coordinating decentralized policy with local wishes and circumstances. We can speak of a ‘double decentralization paradox’ that entails both bottlenecks and opportunities. From the legislator’s side, therefore, an integral vision for the organization of domestic governance is needed.


Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC en tevens redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

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.
Artikel

Non-participatie in de doe-democratie

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2017
Auteurs Gideon Broekhuizen MSc LLB en Dr. Ank Michels
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Research into citizens’ initiatives usually focuses on those who already participate. In this article the central question is how those who do not participate yet can be motivated to take part in citizens’ initiatives. To investigate this the authors used vignettes in which four key motives for participation in citizens’ initiatives are linked to three types of citizens’ initiatives. The results of this research show that people are more likely to take part in an initiative if a call is made to altruism. Usually it is also in general easier for small-scale, more applied citizens’ initiatives to motivate people. Non-participants will be more inclined, certainly in the presence of a specific local problem and if they are asked, to respond in a positive manner to an invitation to take part. For more abstract citizens’ initiatives, like a citizens summit in which not one single specific problem is addressed, it is much more difficult to motivate people to take part. Participation in citizens’ initiatives indeed increases the quality of local democracy, but only if the (local) government doesn’t take over these initiatives. Also those who do not yet take part in citizens’ initiatives have a positive and constructive attitude towards them.


Gideon Broekhuizen MSc LLB
G.R. Broekhuizen MSc LLB deed een onderzoeksmaster bestuurskunde en organisatiewetenschap aan de Universiteit Utrecht en een bachelor bestuurskunde en recht aan de Universiteit Leiden. Hij schreef zijn scriptie over non-participatie in de doe-democratie.

Dr. Ank Michels
Dr. A.M.B. Michels is universitair docent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO).

    Modern government has high expectations of active citizen participation. Sociologists however, expect that this emphasis on citizen participation leads to new inequalities between city neighbourhoods. In ‘better’ neighbourhoods relatively more inhabitants are higher educated and indigenous, categories that are traditionally more active in society. In vulnerable neighbourhoods on the other hand many of the inhabitants are non-indigenous, lower educated and unemployed, who – as is shown in research – participate less. Citizen initiatives therefore would prosper in neighbourhoods with resilient and competent citizens and a powerful social fabric, while inhabitants of the vulnerable neighbourhoods would participate less, although there is more need for active citizen participation, because of their problems. This study analyses active citizen participation in two neighbourhoods in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, ‘Schiemond’ and ‘Lloydkwartier’, a typical backward neighbourhood versus a typical neighbourhood for young urban professionals (‘yuppen’). In contrast with the expectations the inhabitants of Schiemond do not appear to participate less than the inhabitants of Lloydkwartier. Concerning matters of neighbourhood safety even more respondents participate in Schiemond than in Lloydkwartier. Possible reasons are: (a) that lower educated people do participate more often in informal neighbourhood initiatives; (b) that because of the average longer residency in Schiemond there is a greater amount of public familiarity in this neighbourhood; or (c) that because of the bigger problems in Schiemond there is a greater necessity for inhabitants to become active themselves.


Dr. Erik Snel
Dr. E. Snel is universitair docent bij de vakgroep sociologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Kim Hoogmoed MSc
K. Hoogmoed MSc is in 2013 afgestudeerd in de sociologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Ze is momenteel medewerker van het examenbureau van de Universiteit Utrecht.

Dr. Arend Odé
Dr. A. Odé is manager onderzoek en advies bij Regioplan Beleidsonderzoek in Amsterdam. Hij is in 1996 gepromoveerd aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam bij het Tinbergen Instituut.

    The Dutch government aims at a participatory society, for example by striving for a larger amount of self-responsibility in providing social care, since the introduction of the Societal Support Law (in Dutch called ‘Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning’ or in short Wmo). Does public opinion in the Netherlands reflect this change of mentality? This article investigates (a) how far public opinion on responsibility for social care for the elderly has changed between 2003 and 2010, (b) which factors explain why some people put most responsibility on the government and others on the family and (c) which factors explain intra-individual changes of attitude. This research has used survey data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (2003, 2006/07, 2010). A shift in public opinion appears to have taken place in line with government policy: less responsibility for the government and more for the family. However, a majority of the Dutch population still puts most responsibility on the government. Attitudes appear to be connected with normative motives rather than with utilitarian motives. Intra-individual changes in attitudes in the direction of less government responsibility are mainly explained by normative factors and not by factors related to self-interest.


Mevr. dr. Ellen Verbakel
Mevr. dr. C.M.C. Verbakel is universitair docent bij de opleiding Sociologie van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.
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