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Heden-verledenvergelijkingen voor praktisch gebruik

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden Past-present comparisons, methodology, Valorisation, History, Policy
Auteurs Dr. Anita Boele, Prof. dr. Arjan van Dixhoorn en Dr. ir. Pepijn van Houwelingen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article we explore how and under what circumstances present-past comparisons can be used to find solutions to current social issues. We argue that meaningful comparisons can not only be made between countries or groups within countries, rather, comparisons between current and past societies too can enrich our thinking about pressing social problems. We search for the conditions under which such comparisons are possible without undermining the professional skills, epistemological and methodological insights of the various disciplines. Learning from the past calls for an in-depth study of present problems and the historical (role) model alike, with historians and social and political scientists cooperating in teams. We propose a five-step-method: (1) diagnosing the social issue, (2) tracing comparable historical practices that might offer solutions, (3) distilling these practices from their historical contexts, (4) massaging the ‘historical’ practices into the diagnosed present-day context through an imaginative exercise, and (5) implementing these solutions into everyday life through forms of experiment.


Dr. Anita Boele
Dr. Anita Boele is postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de Universiteit Utrecht, departement Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis.

Prof. dr. Arjan van Dixhoorn
Prof. dr. Arjan van Dixhoorn is als bijzonder hoogleraar ‘Geschiedenis van Zeeland in de Wereld’ (Hurgronje-leerstoel) van de Universiteit Utrecht verbonden aan het Arts & Humanities Department van University College Roosevelt (Middelburg).

Dr. ir. Pepijn van Houwelingen
Dr. ir. Pepijn van Houwelingen is onderzoeker bij het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau

    Does scaling up municipalities strengthen or does it weaken (local) political participation? This is an important question because of the intention – as it is written down in the Dutch coalition agreement – to gradually scale up Dutch municipalities to 100.000+ inhabitants. This article answers the question on the basis of a meta-analysis, voter turnouts, the national election study and interviews. The author has also examined behavioural indicators for political participation, especially the turnout figures at local elections. The conclusion from this analysis by the author is clear and unambiguous: as the size of the local government (the municipality) increases (local) political participation decreases. For a lot of forms of political participation a size of about 10.000 inhabitants seems to be the optimal scale for local government. Because other (recent) research in the Netherlands has shown that the assumed cost savings from municipal amalgamation are not achieved, the desirability of (further) upscaling of Dutch municipalities can be questioned.


Dr. ir. Pepijn van Houwelingen
Dr. ir. P. van Houwelingen is onderzoeker aan het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau bij de afdeling Participatie, Cultuur en Leefomgeving.
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