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Article

Political Sophistication and Populist Party Support

The Case of PTB-PVDA and VB in the 2019 Belgian Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden populist voters, political sophistication, voting motivations, Belgium, elections
Auteurs Marta Gallina, Pierre Baudewyns en Jonas Lefevere
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article, we investigate the moderating role of political sophistication on the vote for populist parties in Belgium. Building on the literature about the diverse determinants of populist party support, we investigate whether issue considerations and populism-related motivations play a bigger role in the electoral calculus of politically sophisticated voters.
    Using data from the 2019 general elections in Belgium, we focus on the cases of Vlaams Belang (VB) and Parti du Travail de Belgique- Partij van de Arbeid (PTB-PVDA). We find evidence suggesting that political sophistication enhances the impact of populism-related motivations on populist party support, although the effects are contingent on the party. Moreover, we show that, for issue considerations, the moderation effect only comes into play for VB voters: the impact of anti-immigrant considerations is greater at increasing levels of political sophistication.


Marta Gallina
Marta Gallina is a PhD Student at the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She obtained her BA and MA in Social Sciences at the University of Milan. Her research interests regard the study of political behaviour, political sophistication, issue dimensionality, populism and Voting Advice Applications. Her work appeared in scientific journals such as Statistics, Politics and Policy, Environmental Politics and Italian Political Science.

Pierre Baudewyns
Pierre Baudewyns is Professor of political behaviour at UCLouvain. He is involved in different projects (voters, candidates) related to National Election Study. Results of his research have been published in Electoral Studies, European Political Science, Regional & Federal Studies, West European Politics and Comparative European Politics.

Jonas Lefevere
Jonas Lefevere is research professor of political communication at the Institute for European Studies and assistant professor of communication at Vesalius College. Since 2018, he is also vice-chair of the ECPR Standing Group on Political Communication. His research interests deal with the communication strategies of political parties, and the effects of election campaigns on voters’ electoral behaviour. He has published on these topics in, amongst others, Electoral Studies, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Communication and International Journal of Public Opinion Research.
Article

How Issue Salience Pushes Voters to the Left or to the Right

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden voting behaviour, salience, ideological dimensions, elections, Belgium
Auteurs Stefaan Walgrave, Patrick van Erkel, Isaïa Jennart e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Recent research demonstrates that political parties in western Europe are generally structured along one dimension – and often take more or less similar ideological positions on the economic and cultural dimension – whereas the policy preferences of voters are structured two dimensionally; a considerable part of the electorate combines left-wing stances on one dimension with right-wing stances on the other. These ideologically ‘unserved’ voters are the main focus of this study. Using data from a large-scale survey in Flanders and Wallonia, we demonstrate how the salience of the two dimensions explains whether these unserved voters ultimately end up voting for a right-wing or a left-wing party. Specifically, we show that these voters elect a party that is ideologically closest on the dimension that they deem most important at that time. To summarise, the findings of this study confirm that salience is a key driver of electoral choice, especially for cross-pressured voters.


Stefaan Walgrave
Stefaan Walgrave (Corresponding author), Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp,

Patrick van Erkel
Patrick van Erkel, Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp.

Isaïa Jennart
Isaïa Jennart, Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp.

Jonas Lefevere
Jonas Lefevere, Institute of European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Pierre Baudewyns
Pierre Baudewyns, Institut de Science Politique Louvain-Europe (SSH/SPLE) Department, UCLouvain.
Article

Access_open The Feminisation of Belgian Local Party Politics

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden local politics, local party branches, local elections, gender quotas, Belgium
Auteurs Robin Devroe, Silvia Erzeel en Petra Meier
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article investigates the feminisation of local politics. Starting from the observation that the representation of women in local electoral politics lags behind the regional and federal level, and taking into account the relevance of local party branches in the recruitment and selection of candidates for elections, we examine the extent to which there is an ‘internal’ feminisation of local party branches and how this links to the ‘external’ feminisation of local electoral politics. Based on surveys among local party chairs, the article maps patterns of feminisation over time and across parties, investigates problems local branches encounter in the recruitment of candidates for local elections, and analyses the (attitudes towards the) measures taken to further the integration of women in local electoral politics. We conclude that internal and external feminisation do not always go hand in hand and that local politics continues to be a male-dominated political biotope.


Robin Devroe
Robin Devroe is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University and member of the research group GASPAR. Her main research interest is the study of the political representation of diverse social groups and voting behaviour, with a specific focus on the descriptive representation of women, and she has a fascination for experimental methods. Her doctoral work (2019, Ghent University) focused on the prevalence of political gender stereotypes among Flemish voters. In the past, Robin was a visiting scholar at Texas A&M University (2018, US). Since 2020, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Group on Gender and Politics.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her research interests include party politics, political representation, gender and intersectionality, and comparative politics. Her current research focuses on three main areas: the integration of gender equality in political parties, intersectionality and political representation in Europe, and the consequences of economic and social inequality for representative democracy. Since 2018, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Standing Group on Gender and Politics.

Petra Meier
Petra Meier is Professor of Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the (re)presentation of gender+ in politics and policies. Late work focused on the conceptualisation of symbolic representation, how it operates and the issues at stake from an inclusive perspective. Recently, she turned to study democratic deficits in federal systems, especially Belgium, and processes of de-democratisation in general. She is particularly interested in understanding how such processes affect the demos, more particularly from a gender, an LGBTQI or an ethnic perspective, and what dynamics of marginalisation and exclusion they generate.
Artikel

Access_open Ethics work for good participatory action research

Engaging in a commitment to epistemic justice

Tijdschrift Beleidsonderzoek Online, september 2020
Auteurs Tineke Abma
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Participatory and responsive approaches to research strive to be democratic, inclusive and impactful. Participatory researchers share a commitment to epistemic justice and actively engage citizens and users as well as other stakeholders in the co-creation of knowledge for social change. While more and more researchers and policymakers feel attracted to these approaches in practice, the normative ideals of social inclusion and justice are sometimes hard to realize, because of established interests, power relations and system requirements. In this article I argue that participatory researchers and evaluators have a moral responsibility to do ‘ethics work’. This is more than just following ethical principles and codes of conduct. ‘Ethics work’ entails the labour and effort one puts into recognizing ethically salient aspects of situations, developing oneself as a reflexive practitioner, paying attention to emotions and relationships, collaboratively working out the right course of action and reflecting in the company of critical friends. In this article I present the theory and ethics of participatory approaches, illustrate ethical issues and ethics work related to collaboration, politics and power, and share lessons based on ten years of practice in the field of health and social well-being.

    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)


Tineke Abma
Tineke A. Abma is Professor Participation & Diversity Amsterdam University Medical Centres, Amsterdam, and Executive Director of Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing, Leiden.
Artikel

De Algemene wet gelijke behandeling als mijlpaal in de geschiedenis van de Nederlandse homo-emancipatie

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden equal treatment legislation, gay and lesbian history, homosexual teachers, religious schools, sexual orientation discrimination
Auteurs Drs. Joke Swiebel
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The General Equal Treatment Law – adopted in 1994 – is a landmark in the history of homosexual emancipation in the Netherlands. It took two decades before the first proposals for a legal ban of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation would be transformed into law. Background of this controversy is the clash between the equalityprinciple and the freedom of education. The compromise reached – the so-called single fact-construction – however sent a double message: being gay was not a justified reason for unequal treatment, but some forms of behaviour were incorporated as a legal exception. It took another twenty years before this flaw in the law would be changed.
    This article analyses the political debates behind these legal developments. What was the problem that the various drafts for this new legislation were supposed to solve? Which definitions of discrimination on the basis of homosexuality were used and how did they change over time? The adoption of the law and its ‘reparation’ twenty years later are mainly a question of symbolic politics. They reflect the development of the growing acceptance of homosexuality in Dutch society and have stimulated its further growth. Their actual legal effects seem far less important.


Drs. Joke Swiebel
Drs. Joke Swiebel studeerde politicologie. Zij werkte negen jaar aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en 22 jaar als beleidsambtenaar voor de Rijksoverheid. Daarna (1999-2004) was zij lid van het Europees Parlement voor de PvdA. Een uitgebreidere versie van dit artikel is te vinden op https://jokeswiebel.nl/
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.
Artikel

‘Work first’, vrouwen later?

Arbeidstoeleiding van vrouwelijke statushouders

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Labour market participation, Female refugees, Emancipation, Employment support, Work first
Auteurs Drs. Marjan de Gruijter en Inge Razenberg MSc
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The labour market participation of recent female refugees in the Netherlands is very low. This is caused not only by the fact that a large proportion of the female refugee population has a greater distance to the labour market (than male refugees), but also because municipalities – for various reasons – offer more support to male refugees seeking to enter the Dutch labour market. This article is based on an explorative study we carried out into the labour market opportunities of recent female refugees and job guidance policies of Dutch municipalities. First, we explore how background characteristics of the group of female refugees and the municipal focus on supporting male refugees to quickly join the workforce, influence each other negatively and greatly limit the chances of female refugees at finding paid work. We then discuss the consequences for the participation and integration of these newcomers and their families, both for the short and long term. Finally, we discuss how female refugees can be supported more effectively towards labour market participation.


Drs. Marjan de Gruijter
Drs. Marjan de Gruijter is themacoördinator ‘Nieuwe Migratie’ van Kennisplatform Integratie & Samenleving (KIS) en senior onderzoeker bij het Verwey-Jonker Instituut.

Inge Razenberg MSc
Inge Razenberg MSc is onderzoeker bij het Verwey-Jonker Instituut.
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.
Artikel

Diversiteit in bestuurskundig perspectief

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2018
Trefwoorden diversity perspectives, interventions, public sector, business case, binding
Auteurs Dr. Saniye Çelik
Samenvatting

    In practice, diversity interventions do not always appear to be effective. One argument is that there is little or no match between the perspectives of public organizations on diversity and the interventions used. This article provides an overview of the underlying rationales for diversity policy and discusses the perspectives on diversity from the diversity literature, HRM, and management literature and how these overlap, complement each other and differ from each other. What these perspectives have in common is that they all emphasize the added value of diversity. In the diversity literature, the emphasis is on the four perspectives equality, legitimacy, creativity, and the labour market. HRM literature focusses on managing differences. In public administration, there is a shift from active representation by individuals to connecting by all employees. Furthermore, the binding perspective is gaining more and more importance in the public domain because it may be possible to close the gap between the government and its citizen. This perspective emphasizes the importance of the long-term relationship with citizens to strengthen the trust of citizens in the government for realizing social tasks and responsibilities. It makes diversity an issue for all employees. For Hassan and Havva, and also for Hans and Hanna.


Dr. Saniye Çelik
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.
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