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Citizenship and Humanisation of the Public Sector

Democratic legitimation and sustainability of citizens’ initiatives

  • Duration: November 2019 - October 2023
  • Status: ongoing

PhD research by Kors Visscher into the democratic legitimation of citizens’ initiatives. Can the gap between citizens and politics be reduced by stimulating citizens’ initiatives?

Description

This project examines the democratic legitimation of citizens’ initiatives based on a multi-annual questionnaire and a series of interviews with people involved in such initiatives. The study looks into the relationship between the democratic legitimation of citizens’ initiatives and representative institutions; can the gap between citizens and politics be reduced by stimulating citizens’ initiatives?


The study furthermore examines the factors that might predict the sustainability of citizens’ initiatives:

  • How can the municipal authority act or respond to improve the sustainability?
  • What problems do participants in citizens’ initiatives encounter?
  • To what extent are the conditions imposed on citizens’ initiatives by the municipal authority compatible with the hoped-for result?

The third segment of the study concerns the diversity of both initiatives and their participants. Is it at all helpful to talk about citizens’ initiatives and participants in general? Would it increase our understanding to specify the type of initiative talked about? The diversity of participants is also a strong factor in the issue of democratic legitimation: do citizens’ initiatives offer an alternative for citizens who do not feel adequately represented by representative institutes, or do they provide extra resources to people who are anyway well represented?

Researchers

Partners

  • City of Apeldoorn
  • City of Nijmegen

(Co-)financing

  • City of Apeldoorn
  • City of Nijmegen
  • Province of Gelderland 

Anticipated results

The research project should result in a PhD bestowal. Additionally, a report will be drawn up with practical tools for public authorities.

Contact

Kors Visscher (k.w.visscher@uvh.nl

PhD research by Kors Visscher into the democratic legitimation of citizens’ initiatives. Can the gap between citizens and politics be reduced by stimulating citizens’ initiatives?