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Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen x Jaar 2017 x
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Non-participatie in de doe-democratie

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

    The often gloomy analyses of democratic representation at the local level are frequently directed at the problems with parties and elections. Direct participation is not a good alternative because only certain people who are already politically active use it. However, with the help of the concept ‘representative claim’ and based on two qualitative case studies of decentralizations in the social domain, the authors show that there are other representative people besides elected politicians. These self-appointed, non-elected representatives may advocate on behalf of vulnerable groups who themselves do not have a strong voice in politics. In addition this study shows that elected representatives, like political parties and local counselors, can strengthen their representative role by: (1) cooperating better with the non-elected representatives, (2) highlighting their representational claims and the basis of these claims, and (3) strengthening their responsiveness towards their support base through authorization and other accountability structures other than elections. In this way the democratic representation in municipalities is reinforced and may be stronger than the often gloomy analyses suggest.


Dr. Hester van de Bovenkamp
Dr. H.M. van de Bovenkamp is universitair hoofddocent aan het instituut Beleid & Management Gezondheidszorg (iBMG) aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Dr. Hans Vollaard
Dr. J.P. Vollaard is universitair docent Nederlandse en Europese politiek binnen het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.
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