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Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij x Jaar 2006 x
Artikel

De diplomademocratie

Over de spanning tussen meritocratie en democratie

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2006
Auteurs Mark Bovens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Contemporary western democracies, such the United States, Great Britain, and The Netherlands have become diploma democracies. They are ruled by the well educated, whereas the least educated, even though they still comprise about half of the population, have virtually vanished from most political arenas. Of course, the well educated have always been more politically active than the less educated, but in the past decades this gap has widened substantially. Well-educated citizens are more inclined to vote, to write letters to the editor, or to visit consultative or deliberative meetings than citizens with a low level of education; and most, if not all, members of parliament, all the political officials, and almost all of the political advocates and lobbyists, have college or graduate degrees. The paper substantiates the rise of diploma democracy in The Netherlands, discusses what is problematic about such an educational meritocracy in the context of democracy, and looks at what could be done to mitigate or remedy some of its negative effects.


Mark Bovens
Prof. dr. Mark Bovens is als hoogleraar Bestuurskunde verbonden aan de Utrechtse School voor Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht, Bijlhouwerstraat 6, 3511 ZC Utrecht. Zijn meest recente boek is De digitale republiek: Democratie en rechtsstaat in de informatiemaatschappij (AUP 2003). Correspondentiegegevens: m.a.p.bovens@uu.nl www.usg.uu.nl/research/m.bovens

Hans Blokland
Hans Blokland studeerde politieke wetenschappen en promoveerde in de sociale en politieke filosofie. Hij was fellow van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen en onder meer verbonden aan Yale University, Department of Political Science. Tot zijn recente publicaties behoren Pluralisme, Democratie & Politieke Kennis (Van Gorcum 2005) en Modernization and its Political Consequences (Yale University Press 2006). Zie voor informatie over zijn werk: www.hans-blokland.nl.

    Demand-steering policies in healthcare are understandable but problematic answers to the desire for democratization that dates from the seventies of the former century. Prominent critics such as Achterhuis and Illich were very critical of the undemocratic character of health care. Yet their romantic idea of society excused them from the need to articulate democratic alternatives. The empty space that they left was filled by the concept of demand-steering. Demand-steering, however, rather than strengthening democratic practices, merely undermines them, by preferring exit above voice, by putting up new bureaucratic barriers between clients and professionals and by undermining the quality of the relationship between clients and professionals.

    Doing more justice to the democratic impulse is possible and desirable. A new step towards this aim is being taken by a fourth logic of steering, (next to the familiar logics of the market, bureaucracy and professionalism) that centers on improving the dialogue between clients and professionals. The one variant, democratic professionalism, starts from the position of the professional and aims at intensifying democratic control, while the other variant, collaboration, starts from the client and aims at providing him with more influence and responsibility for the health care process. This fourth logic however can only provide a new impulse to democratization when the vague notion of the dialogue is elaborated more thoroughly.


Evelien Tonkens
Evelien Tonkens is bijzonder hoogleraar actief burgerschap bij de afdeling sociologie en antropologie van de Universiteit van Amsterdam en opleidingsdirecteur/docent van de masteropleiding social policy and social work in urban areas van de Uva. Correspondentieadres: UvA – afdeling sociologie en antropologie, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam, e-mail: e.h.tonkens@uva.nl

    This article identifies institutions and arrangements concerning the reconciliation of working life and family life for various European countries. These institutions and arrangements concern time (flexible working hours and leave arrangements), money (tax systems) and facilities (childcare facilities). A fairer distribution of all work and care tasks requires proper facilities at national level in respect of childcare, parental leave, so-called leave savings schemes, the right to work part-time, etc. Such facilities are of particular importance while taking the first steps towards a fairer distribution: they will enable men to take on more tasks at home, while making it easier for women to work outside the home. The article concludes that with regard to reconciliation facilities, the differences between the several welfare states within the European Union are fading away. This is interesting, because as a result the EU countries are increasingly finding common ground in terms of solutions for reconciliation and more specifically the role of men.


Ivy Koopmans
Ivy Koopmans is als onderzoeker verbonden aan de Utrecht School of Economics van de Universiteit Utrecht. Adres: Utrecht School of Economics, Vredenburg 138, 3511 BG Utrecht, I.Koopmans@econ.uu.nl

Joop Schippers
Joop Schippers is hoogleraar Arbeids- en Emancipatie-economie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en tevens is hij als programmahoogleraar verbonden aan de Organisatie voor Strategisch Arbeidsmarktonderzoek (OSA). Adres: Utrecht School of Economics, Vredenburg 138, 3511 BG Utrecht
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