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Artikel

Meedoen met de overheid?

Over de stille beleidspraktijk van de doe-democratie

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 2 2013
Trefwoorden silent ideology, democracy of action, citizen initiatives, big society
Auteurs Mirjan Oude Vrielink, Imrat Verhoeven en Ted van de Wijdeven
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Over the past decade, policy attention for ‘active citizenship’ and ‘bottom up’ citizen initiatives has strongly increased. Nowadays, governments tend to approach citizens more and more as practical ‘doers’: as active citizens that can initiate projects in the public domain – for instance to increase the livability of their neighborhood. The dominant policy perspective on what is called the ‘democracy of action’ is one of a small government (to make room for a ‘big society’) that is not directive but supportive to active citizens.
    In this article, we first argue that in practice we observe two ‘silent ideologies’ that suppress this policy perspective of the democracy of action. We call these the silent ideologies of ‘professional centralism’ and of ‘instrumental support’; we claim that in practice these ideologies enable the dominance of professionals over citizen initiatives (and nót that of the citizens). Second we state that the policy perspective of the democracy of action itself contains a silent ideology: it assumes a highly depoliticized form of citizenship. In the short term, this may be convenient for administrators and policy makers but in the long run this can lead to a less democracy because the voices of critical citizens are not heard.


Mirjan Oude Vrielink
Dr. M.J. Oude Vrielink is senior onderzoeker aan de Universiteit Twente.

Imrat Verhoeven
Dr. I. Verhoeven is universitair docent bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Ted van de Wijdeven
Dr. T.M.F. van de Wijdeven is bestuurskundig onderzoeker en docent aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.
Artikel

Zelforganisatie vanuit het perspectief van burgers

Inzichten uit onderzoek naar de pragmatiek van burgerparticipatie in drie Europese steden

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 1 2013
Trefwoorden citizen participation, self-organisation, strategies
Auteurs Maurice Specht
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Based on the experience of citizens initiatives in Antwerpen (Belgium), Dortmund (Germany) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands), this article explores the roles of citizens in these projects. The initiatives were not started by already active citizens, but by inactive citizens who were triggered to take action by an event in their direct surroundings. The cases studied show that many small, simple and everyday strategies, which are often overlooked by researchers, are meaningful for successful citizenship. The will to participate is not so much ideologically or democratically driven, but driven by a perceived practical need for action. Governments should aim to support and facilitate these initiatives without aiming to canalize these activities according to their own political or democratic rationality.


Maurice Specht
Dr. M. Specht is zelfstandig actie-onderzoeker bij Specht in de Stad.
Artikel

Kroniek: bespreking van ‘Vertrouwen in burgers’, rapport 88 van de Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 1 2013
Trefwoorden citizen participation, civil society, governance arrangements
Auteurs Hans de Bruijn
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The report Confidence in Citizens by the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy dominantly supports increased room for citizen participation. Based on many examples, the report shows how society benefits from the many citizens’ initiatives and how government interference can hamper or even obstruct these initiatives, which do not fit the logic of civil servants. The report gives four, rather general suggestions of how policy makers could respond to these citizens’ initiatives. The generic character of these recommendations can be ascribed to a weak problem analysis and a biased understanding of how government actions negatively interfere with citizens’ initiatives. The Council could have asked more critical questions with regards to citizens initiatives and how they should respond to the logic of government.


Hans de Bruijn
Prof. mr. dr. J.A. de Bruijn is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de TU Delft.
Artikel

Kraamkamers van een nieuwe verzorgingsstaat

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 1 2012
Trefwoorden neighbourhood approach, wicked problems, institutional change, citizen initiatives, welfare state
Auteurs Maurice Cramers en Jos van der Lans
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In 2010 and 2011 a committee of experts inspected if and how forty of the most deprived areas in Dutch cities have benefitted from the major national neighbourhood policy program launched by the previous government in 2007. The aim of the program was to restore living conditions in those areas within the next ten years, by investments in the physical, social and economic field, thus trying to improve the living conditions and chances (social mobility) of the neighbourhood citizens. According to the Committee, the forty neighbourhoods have proved to be laboratories for institutional change. There is growing confidence among local parties that with less disintegrated bureaucracy and more possibilities for citizen initiatives, interventions can be organised which are more effective and cheaper. Realising the objectives of the neighbourhood approach demands continuous involvement, effective organization, creative solutions and intensive contact between professionals and citizens. Government organizations and institutions need to relinquish control and facilitate and support the problem solving abilities of the professionals and citizens, who live and work in these neighbourhoods day in day out. In the most problematic neighbourhoods of Dutch cities, the seeds of the new welfare state are being planted.


Maurice Cramers
M. Cramers is beleidsadviseur bij het ministerie van BZK en was secretaris van de Visitatiecommissie wijkenaanpak.

Jos van der Lans
J. van der Lans is cultuurpsycholoog en publicist. Hij was, naast W. Deetman en R. Scherpenisse, één van de voorzitters van deze commissie. Deze bijdrage schrijven zij op persoonlijke titel.
Artikel

De nieuwe burgerlijkheid: participatie als conformerende zelfredzaamheid

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2011
Trefwoorden Participatie, Zelfredzaamheid, legitimatie, Burgerschap, Responsabilisering
Auteurs Dr. Gerard Drosterij en Rik Peeters
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    For many years now, citizenship has been a hot topic in Dutch politics. The activation and participation of citizens has been part and parcel of many policy initiatives. In this fashion, the current cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte has stressed the virtues of a ‘big society’ and a ‘small government’. We call this the new civility: a citizenship philosophy in which an ethico-economic claim of self-sufficiency is accompanied by a strong anticipation of policy conformity. Notably, the democratic legitimation of the new civility has been reversed. Now it is government which demands civic accountability, not the other way around. Responsible citizenship, not responsible government is at its heart. Furthermore, the new civility is based on a reversal of the Mandevillean idea of private vices and public benefits. We illustrate its ambiguous strands by a case study of a citizen’s initiative project in the city of Dordrecht. We conclude by showing how the tension between the values of civil self-sufficiency and policy conformity ironically can turn out in a-political conception of citizenship.


Dr. Gerard Drosterij
dr. Gerard Drosterij is publicist en zelfstandig adviseur. Correspondentie gegevens: Dr. G. Drosterij, Graaf Florisstraat 63b, 3021 CC, Rotterdam, g.drosterij@uvt.nl.

Rik Peeters
drs. Rik Peeters is onderzoeker en promovendus bij de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur.
Artikel

Ondersteuning in vieren

Zichtlijnen in het faciliteren van burgerinitiatieven in de buurt

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2011
Trefwoorden burgerinitiatief, ondersteuning, faciliteren, professionals, wijken
Auteurs Dr. Mirjan Oude Vrielink en Drs. Ted van de Wijdeven
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the Netherlands it is widely acknowledged that neighbourhood oriented citizen’s initiatives often require some professional support. Little is known, however, about the various types of support that professionals may provide. Moreover, Dutch policies usually tend to take an instrumental stance towards citizen initiatives, focussing on their possible contribution to governmental goals. In this contribution we make an effort to develop a typology of different types and roles of professional support. Four basic types of professional support are derived from two axis. The first axis distinguishes between an instrumental approach and a more personal approach, the second between professional support focussing on the initiative/the initiator or on the broader institutional and civil society context. From our empirical findings we conclude that a vital context for citizen initiatives may be produced through the combination of an instrumental and personal approach. The latter comprises efforts of empowerment attuned to both the specific personal needs and capacities of citizens and the typical neighbourhood context. A combined approach may reduce the risk of ‘crowding out citizenship’ that exists when citizen’s initiatives become an instrument in a government’s policy.


Dr. Mirjan Oude Vrielink
Mirjan Oude Vrielink is senior onderzoeker aan de faculteit Management en Bestuur, Universiteit Twente. Correspondentiegegevens: Dr. M.J. Oude Vrielink, Universiteit Twente, faculteit Management en Bestuur/PolMT, Postbus 217, 7500 AE Enschede, m.j.oudevrielink@utwente.nl.

Drs. Ted van de Wijdeven
Ted van de Wijdeven is onderzoeker aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur, Universiteit van Tilburg. Correspondentiegegevens: Drs. T.M.F. van de Wijdeven, Universiteit van Tilburg, Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur, Postbus 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, wijdeven@uvt.nl.
Artikel

Particulier initiatief en overheid in historisch perspectief

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2011
Trefwoorden private initiatives, the Netherlands, pillarization, history, civil society
Auteurs Dr. Marcel Hoogenboom
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The central question in this article is whether the relationship between the current citizen’s initiatives and government in the Netherlands shows similarities to the relationship between their predecessors (usually denoted as ‘private initiatives’) and government in the past, and more specifically in the time of pillarization. In the article it is claimed that in the time of pillarization – the period between around 1900 and 1970, when Dutch society was characterized by vertical social divisions along denominational (religious) and ideological lines – private initiatives and Dutch government developed a peculiar symbiotic relationship. In this period, on the one hand the pillarized private initiatives, as a matter of course, expected a large degree of autonomy but at the same time all sorts of support from Dutch government when administering various public tasks. On the other hand, Dutch government took for granted that the pillarized private initiatives highly contributed to the initiation and administration of these public tasks. Since the disintegration of the pillars in 1970s Dutch government has been searching for new ways to relate to the old and new private initiatives, and vice versa. Yet in this search both government and private initiatives still seem driven by the old ‘reflexes’ of pillarization.


Dr. Marcel Hoogenboom
Marcel Hoogenboom is universitair docent algemene sociale wetenschappen, Universiteit Utrecht. Correspondentiegegevens: Dr. M.J.M. Hoogenboom, Universiteit Utrecht, faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, m.j.m.hoogenboom@uu.nl.
Artikel

Welke burger telt mee(r) in de doe-democratie?

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2011
Trefwoorden civic participation, citizens’ initiatives, inequalities, neighbourhoods, democracy
Auteurs Drs. Judith Bakker, Prof. dr. Bas Denters en Dr. Pieter-Jan Klok
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In citizens’ initiatives (CI’s) citizens themselves take action to solve problems in their community. Many Dutch municipalities have adopted policies to facilitate CI’s. This raises a number of issues. For example who are involved in such initiatives? And, which problems are likely to be addressed? Such questions are pertinent, because for other forms of civic participation research has demonstrated that privileged social groups are overrepresented. We have compared groups of citizens who are actively involved in CI’s with less active citizens. It is demonstrated that in keeping with previous findings privileged social groups (e.g. high income and well educated people) are overrepresented amongst the more active citizens. This is true for both individual and collective neighbourhood initiatives. However, we did not find an overrepresentation of males amongst the activists. In answering the second question, we have looked at the concerns and worries of the citizens. There is no evidence of systematic differences in the problem definitions of more and less active citizens. This mitigates problem of the social selectivity in civic participation: if citizens agree about the issues to be addressed, who cares about who does the job, provided that someone is willing to do it?


Drs. Judith Bakker
Judith Bakker is junior onderzoeker aan de faculteit Management en Bestuur, Universiteit Twente. Correspondentiegegevens: Drs. J.H.M. Bakker, Universiteit Twente, faculteit Management en Bestuur, vakgroep Political Science and Research Methods, Postbus 217, 7500 AE Enschede, J.H.M.Bakker@utwente.nl.

Prof. dr. Bas Denters
Bas Denters is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit Twente. Correspondentiegegevens: Prof. dr. S.A.H. Denters, Universiteit Twente, faculteit Management en Bestuur, vakgroep Political Science and Research Methods, Postbus 217, 7500 AE Enschede, S.A.H.Denters@utwente.nl.

Dr. Pieter-Jan Klok
Pieter-Jan Klok is universitair docent beleidswetenschap aan de faculteit Management en Bestuur, Universiteit Twente. Correspondentiegegevens: Dr. P.-J. Klok, Universiteit Twente, faculteit Management en Bestuur, vakgroep Science Technology and Policy Studies, Postbus 217, 7500 AE Enschede, P.J.Klok@utwente.nl.
Artikel

Bewonersinitiatieven: partnerschap tussen burgers en overheid

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2011
Trefwoorden citizen’s initiatives, activation policy, representativeness, partnership relation, competences
Auteurs Dr. Imrat Verhoeven en Prof. dr. Evelien Tonkens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In recent years the Dutch welfare state has invested substantial sums of money in activation of citizen’s initiatives in deprived neighbourhoods. As a policy concept citizen’s initiatives refers to enhancements by citizens to the quality of life in their neighbourhood. Is this activation policy productive or counterproductive for citizen participation? This question is answered by analyzing the representativeness of the activated citizens, the nature of their initiatives, the type of relations they develop with institutions, and whether they develop more competences due to their initiative(s). Our findings indicate that the activated citizens are more often female, below 50, lower educated, and 40 percent is migrant, which makes them more representative than the participation elite (male, 50+, white, and higher educated). They form a new vanguard that activates many participants through initiatives that focus on connecting people and on social problems such as anonymity, isolation and nuisance. Many contacts with professionals contribute for them to a partnership relation geared toward cooperation instead of consumerism or dissatisfaction. Also these citizens develop democratic, bureaucratic and social competences as well as social reflexivity and empathy for other citizens and institutions. We conclude that activation of citizen’s initiatives has positive effects on citizen participation.


Dr. Imrat Verhoeven
Imrat Verhoeven is postdoc onderzoeker aan de afdeling Sociologie en Antropologie, Universiteit van Amsterdam/AISSR. Correspondentiegegevens: Dr. I. Verhoeven, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam, i.verhoeven@uva.nl.

Prof. dr. Evelien Tonkens
Evelien Tonkens is hoogleraar actief burgerschap aan de afdeling Sociologie en Antropologie, Universiteit van Amsterdam/AISSR. Correspondentiegegevens: Prof. dr. E. Tonkens, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam, e.h.tonkens@uva.nl.
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