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Annual lecture

Access_open The indecent demands of accountability: trauma, marginalisation, and moral agency in youth restorative conferencing

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Restorative justice, youth offenders, trauma, marginalisation, offender accountability
Authors William R. Wood
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article I explore the concept of accountability for young people in youth restorative conferencing. Definitions of accountability in research and programme literature demonstrate significant variation between expectations of young people to admit harms, make amends, address the causes of their offending, and desist from future offending. Such variation is problematic in terms of aligning conferencing goals with accountability expectations. I first draw from research that suggests appeals to normative frameworks such as accountability may not be useful for some young people with significant histories of victimisation, abuse, neglect, and trauma. I then examine problems in accountability for young people that are highly marginalised or ‘redundant’ in terms of systemic exclusion from economic and social forms of capital. These two issues – trauma on the micro level and social marginalisation on the macro level – suggest problems of getting to accountability for some young people. I also argue trauma and social marginalisation present specific problems for thinking about young offenders as ‘moral subjects’ and conferencing as an effective mechanism of moralising social control. I conclude by suggesting a clear distinction between accountability and responsibility is necessary to disentangle the conflation of misdeeds from the acute social, psychological, and developmental needs of some young offenders.


William R. Wood
William R. Wood is a Senior Lecturer, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. The manuscript is a revision of the author’s presentation of the Annual Lecture for the International Journal of Restorative Justice, Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference (ANZSOC), Perth, Australia, 14 December 2019. Contact author: w.wood@griffith.edu.au.
Article

The Role of the Seat in Smart Contract Disputes

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords smart contracts, international commercial arbitration, blockchain technology, online arbitration
Authors Diana Itzel Santana Galindo
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the past few decades, international commercial arbitration has experienced major developments in various fields. A major recent development that will spread widely in the years to come relates to technology and the necessity of international commercial arbitration to adapt to the new needs of the market. The path of technological development in commerce is determined by forces other than the needs of legal practitioners. Moreover, the lack of real connection to a sole place, in disputes where the multi-parties have not selected the seat, can create serious obstacles for the arbitral proceedings in blockchain technology disputes. In this regard, smart contracts, however, appear to have identifiable parties with an identified physical point of connection that ultimately can be adapted to the existing place of the arbitration theory within the international arbitration legal framework.


Diana Itzel Santana Galindo
LL.M. graduate in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution at Queen Mary University of London. Legal internship experiences at the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB International), Beijing Arbitration Commission (BAC/BIAC), and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC).
Article

Getting Party Activists on Local Lists

How Dutch Local Party Branches Perform Their Recruitment Function

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Keywords municipal politics, political parties, candidate lists, local party branches, recruitment
Authors Simon Otjes, Marcel Boogers and Gerrit Voerman
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines what explains the performance of Dutch local party branches in the recruitment of candidates for municipal councils. Fielding a list of candidates is the most basic function of political parties. In the Netherlands, party branches are under pressure from the low number of party members. To analyse how branches fulfil their role in recruitment, we employ our own survey of the secretaries of party branches held in the run-up to the 2018 municipal election. We find that party membership drives the successful fulfilment of the recruitment function but that, more than the absolute number of members, the crucial factors are how these party members cooperate, the number of active members and the development of this number.


Simon Otjes
Simon Otjes is Assistant Professor of Dutch Politics at Leiden University and researcher at the Documentation Centre Dutch Political Parties of Groningen University. His research focuses on political parties, parliaments and public opinion. His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science and in the European Journal of Political Research, among others.

Marcel Boogers
Marcel Boogers is Professor of Innovation and Regional governance at Twente University. His research focuses on the structure of and dynamics within networks of local and regional governments. Boogers combines his position at Twente University with a position as senior advisor at consultancy firm BMC.

Gerrit Voerman
Gerrit Voerman is Professor of the Development and Function of the Dutch and European Party System at Groningen University and Director of its Centre Dutch Political Parties. His research focuses on political parties, their history and their organisation. He is editor of a long-running series of books on Dutch political parties.
PhD Review

‘Between party and parliament: The roles of parliamentary party group leaders in partitocratic Belgium’

PhD by Benjamin de Vet (Ghent University), supervisors: Bram Wauters & Carl Devos

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Authors Tom Louwerse
Author's information

Tom Louwerse
Tom Louwerse is Associate Professor of Political Science at Leiden University, the Netherlands. He was a member of Benjamin de Vet’s dissertation committee.
Article

Between Party Democracy and Citizen Democracy

Explaining Attitudes of Flemish Local Chairs Towards Democratic Innovations

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Keywords democratic innovations, citizen participation, local politics, Flanders, Belgium
Authors Didier Caluwaerts, Anna Kern, Min Reuchamps e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a response to the perceived legitimacy crisis that threatens modern democracies, local government has increasingly become a laboratory for democratic renewal and citizen participation. This article studies whether and why local party chairs support democratic innovations fostering more citizen participation. More specifically, we analyse the relative weight of ideas, interests and institutions in explaining their support for citizen-centred democracy. Based on the Belgian Local Chairs Survey in 2018 (albeit restricting our analysis to Flanders), the central finding is that ideas matter more than interests and institutions. Ideology is alive and kicking with regard to democratic innovation, with socialist and ecologist parties and populist parties being most supportive of participatory arrangements. By contrast, interests and institutions play, at this stage, a minor role in explaining support for participatory innovations.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research and teaching deal with Belgian and comparative politics and democratic governance in deeply divided societies. His work has been published in various journals, including European Political Science Review, West European Politics, the Journal of Legislative Studies and Acta Politica.

Anna Kern
Anna Kern is Assistant Professor at research group GASPAR at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. Her main research interests include political participation, political equality and political legitimacy. Her work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as West European Politics, Local Government Studies, Social Science Research and Political Behavior.

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is Professor of Political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multilevel governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and, in particular, the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.

Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University. He is a member of the Centre for Local Politics (CLP) and coordinator of the Teacher Training Department. His research, publications and educational activities focus on elections and democratic participation/innovation, citizenship (education), (the history of) political institutions and (local) government reform, political elites and leadership.
Article

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

Linkage Between Local Branches and Their National Party Headquarters in Belgium

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Keywords local branches, national party headquarters, linkage, integration, multilevel parties
Authors Kristof Steyvers
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article scrutinises local-national linkage in Belgium to better understand territorial power relations in multilevel parties. Drawing on a survey of local chairs of national parties, it adopts an innovative, informal and bottom-up approach. The descriptive analysis reveals two central axes in the morphology of linkage: scope (downward support and upward influence) and surplus (benefits versus costs). However, (the valuation of) this interdependence appears as a matter of degree. The explanatory analysis therefore probes into the effect of macro- (between environments), meso- (between parties) and micro- (within parties) level factors. It demonstrates that variance is explained by different parameters. For scope, differences between parties trump those within them. For surplus, specific differences between parties as well as within them matter. The answer to our guiding question is therefore variegated: it depends on for what and for whom.


Kristof Steyvers
Kristof Steyvers is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science of Ghent University (Belgium). His research is conducted in the Centre for Local Politics, where he focuses on topics such as local political leadership, parties and elections at the local level, local government in multilevel governance and local government reforms (often from a comparative perspective).
Title

Parliamentary Follow-up of Law Commission Bills

An Irish Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform, legislation, Ireland, drafting, parliament
Authors Ciarán Burke
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to present a brief outline of the various means through which the draft bills and recommendations drafted by the Law Reform Commission of Ireland and published in its reports are followed up by the Irish Parliament, the Oireachtas. The Commission’s position within the Irish legislative architecture is explained, as is the process through which bills become laws in Ireland. The Commission, it is noted, occupies an unusual role. Although there is no requirement for its publications to result in legislation, ultimately the lion’s share of its output is followed up on in the legislative process in one form or another, with its publications attracting the attention of both the government and opposition parties. The challenges and advantages presented by operating within a small jurisdiction are also outlined, while some thoughts are offered on the Commission’s future.


Ciarán Burke
Professor of International Law, Friedrich Schiller Universität, Jena, and former Director of Research at the Law Reform Commission of Ireland. The author would like to thank Alexandra Molitorisovà for her help in preparing this article.
Article

Access_open The Effectiveness Paradigm in Financial Legislation – Is Effectiveness Measurable?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2020
Keywords effectiveness, effectiveness measurement methodologies, financial legislation, legislative objective, product approval governance
Authors Jeroen Koomans
AbstractAuthor's information

    How can you determine if financial legislation is effective? This article seeks to identify three characteristics that make up the basis for an effectiveness review, being the determination what the legislative objective is, who is it aimed at and what approach is taken to achieve this objective. Determining the legislative objective may prove to be a challenging undertaking, and the uncertainties that come with that affect the other two characteristics as well. And even if a clear legislative objective can be established, how can you be sure that its achievement was in fact attributable to the legislation under review? What do you compare your results to absent a baseline measurement and how can the vast number of variables that affect the effectiveness of the legislation under review be accounted for, if at all? Is effectiveness in financial legislation at all measurable and, when measured, what is its value in practice?


Jeroen Koomans
Jeroen Koomans is affiliated to the University of Amsterdam FEB Academy for Banking and Insurance and employed by ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

    While many empirical studies on restorative justice conferencing have been conducted in the context of ‘what works’, research on ‘how it works’ is scarce. Little is known about how, in what conditions and for whom restorative justice conferencing ‘works’. In this article, I aim to fill this gap in the literature by developing a concept of readiness. It refers to participants’ attitudes and emotional dispositions towards, and knowledge about, restorative justice conferencing and the other parties prior to the face-to-face dialogue process. I suggest that the concept of readiness may be a key independent variable to understand how restorative justice conferencing works because it reminds us that a restorative journey may begin before a face-to-face dialogue between participants take places. This article concludes by offering how it can be used in research on restorative justice conferencing.


Masahiro Suzuki PhD
Masahiro Suzuki is a Lecturer in Criminology at the Central Queensland University in Queensland, Australia. Contact author: m.suzuki@cqu.edu.au.
Article

Access_open Age Limits in Youth Justice: A Comparative and Conceptual Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords youth justice, age limits, minimum age of criminal responsibility, age of criminal majority, legal comparison
Authors Jantien Leenknecht, Johan Put and Katrijn Veeckmans
AbstractAuthor's information

    In each youth justice system, several age limits exist that indicate what type of reaction can and may be connected to the degree of responsibility that a person can already bear. Civil liability, criminal responsibility and criminal majority are examples of concepts on which age limits are based, but whose definition and impact is not always clear. Especially as far as the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) is concerned, confusion exists in legal doctrine. This is apparent from the fact that international comparison tables often show different MACRs for the same country. Moreover, the international literature often seems to define youth justice systems by means of a lower and upper limit, whereas such a dual distinction is too basic to comprehend the complex multilayer nature of the systems. This contribution therefore maps out and conceptually clarifies the different interpretations and consequences of the several age limits that exist within youth justice systems. To that extent, the age limits of six countries are analysed: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Northern Ireland. This legal comparison ultimately leads to a proposal to establish a coherent conceptual framework on age limits in youth justice.


Jantien Leenknecht
Jantien Leenknecht is PhD Fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.

Johan Put
Johan Put is Full Professor at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.

Katrijn Veeckmans
Katrijn Veeckmans is PhD Fellow at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.
Article

Access_open Giving Children a Voice in Court?

Age Boundaries for Involvement of Children in Civil Proceedings and the Relevance of Neuropsychological Insights

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords age boundaries, right to be heard, child’s autonomy, civil proceedings, neuropsychology
Authors Mariëlle Bruning and Jiska Peper
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the last decade neuropsychological insights have gained influence with regard to age boundaries in legal procedures, however, in Dutch civil law no such influence can be distinguished. Recently, voices have been raised to improve children’s legal position in civil law: to reflect upon the minimum age limit of twelve years for children to be invited to be heard in court and the need for children to have a stronger procedural position.
    In this article, first the current legal position of children in Dutch law and practice will be analysed. Second, development of psychological constructs relevant for family law will be discussed in relation to underlying brain developmental processes and contextual effects. These constructs encompass cognitive capacity, autonomy, stress responsiveness and (peer) pressure.
    From the first part it becomes clear that in Dutch family law, there is a tortuous jungle of age limits, exceptions and limitations regarding children’s procedural rights. Until recently, the Dutch government has been reluctant to improve the child’s procedural position in family law. Over the last two years, however, there has been an inclination towards further reflecting on improvements to the child’s procedural rights, which, from a children’s rights perspective, is an important step forward. Relevant neuropsychological insights support improvements for a better realisation of the child’s right to be heard, such as hearing children younger than twelve years of age in civil court proceedings.


Mariëlle Bruning
Mariëlle Bruning is Professor of Child Law at Leiden Law Faculty, Leiden University.

Jiska Peper
Jiska Peper is Assistant professor in the Developmental and Educational Psychology unit of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University.
Article

Access_open Safeguarding the Dynamic Legal Position of Children: A Matter of Age Limits?

Reflections on the Fundamental Principles and Practical Application of Age Limits in Light of International Children’s Rights Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords age limits, dynamic legal position, children’s rights, maturity, evolving capacities
Authors Stephanie Rap, Eva Schmidt and Ton Liefaard
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article a critical reflection upon age limits applied in the law is provided, in light of the tension that exists in international children’s rights law between the protection of children and the recognition of their evolving autonomy. The main research question that will be addressed is to what extent the use of (certain) age limits is justified under international children’s rights law. The complexity of applying open norms and theoretically underdeveloped concepts as laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, related to the development and evolving capacities of children as rights holders, will be demonstrated. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child struggles to provide comprehensive guidance to states regarding the manner in which the dynamic legal position of children should be applied in practice. The inconsistent application of age limits that govern the involvement of children in judicial procedures provides states leeway in granting children autonomy, potentially leading to the establishment of age limits based on inappropriate – practically, politically or ideologically motivated – grounds.


Stephanie Rap
Stephanie Rap is assistant professor in children’s rights at the Department of Child Law, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.

Eva Schmidt
Eva Schmidt is PhD candidate at the Department of Child Law, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.

Ton Liefaard
Ton Liefaard is Vice-Dean of Leiden Law School and holds the UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Is the CJEU Discriminating in Age Discrimination Cases?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords age discrimination, old people, young people, complete life view, fair innings argument
Authors Beryl ter Haar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Claims have been made that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is more lenient in accepting age discriminating measures affecting older people than in those affecting younger people. This claim is scrutinised in this article, first, by making a quantitative analysis of the outcomes of the CJEU’s case law on age discrimination cases, followed by a qualitative analysis of the line of reasoning of the CJEU in these cases and concluding with an evaluation of the Court’s reasoning against three theoretical approaches that set the context for the assessment of the justifications of age discrimination: complete life view, fair innings argument and typical anti-discrimination approach. The analysis shows that the CJEU relies more on the complete life view approach to assess measures discriminating old people and the fair innings argument approach to assess measures discriminating young people. This results in old people often having to accept disadvantageous measures and young workers often being treated more favourably.


Beryl ter Haar
Beryl ter Haar is assistant professor and academic coordinator of the Advanced LL.M. Global and European Labour Law at Leiden University and visiting professor at the University of Warsaw.
Article

Access_open Age Limits in Law: Between Behavioural Science and Human Rights

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords age limits, behavioural science, human rights, age, juvenile justice
Authors Frank Weerman and Jolande uit Beijerse
Author's information

Frank Weerman
Frank Weerman is endowed professor Youth Criminology at the Erasmus School of Law and senior researcher at the NSCR (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement).

Jolande uit Beijerse
Jolande uit Beijerse is associate professor Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the Erasmus School of Law.
Article

From victimisation to restorative justice: developing the offer of restorative justice

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Restorative policing, restorative justice, offer to victims, policing, action research
Authors Joanna Shapland, Daniel Burn, Adam Crawford e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice services have expanded in England and Wales since the Victim’s Code 2015. Yet evidence from the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that in 2016-2017 only 4.1 per cent of victims recall being offered such a service. This article presents the evidence from an action research project set in three police forces in England and Wales, which sought to develop the delivery of restorative justice interventions with victims of adult and youth crime. We depict the complexity intrinsic to making an offer of restorative justice and the difficulties forces experienced in practice, given the cultural, practical and administrative challenges encountered during the course of three distinct pilot projects. Points of good practice, such as institutional buy-in, uncomplicated referral processes and adopting a victim-focused mindset are highlighted. Finally, we draw the results from the different projects together to suggest a seven-point set of requirements that need to be in place for the offer of restorative practice to become an effective and familiar process in policing.


Joanna Shapland
Joanna Shapland is Edward Bramley Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Daniel Burn
Daniel Burn is a former Research Officer at the University of Leeds, UK.

Adam Crawford
Adam Crawford is the Director of the Leeds Social Sciences Institute and Director of the N8 Policing Research Partnership at the University of Leeds, UK.

Emily Gray
Emily Gray is Senior Lecturer in Criminology, The School of Business, Law and the Social Sciences at the University of Derby, UK. Contact author: j.m.shapland@sheffield.ac.uk.
Article

Access_open Legal and Political Concepts as Contextures

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Concepts, Contextualism, Essentially Contested Concepts, Legal Theory, Freedom
Authors Dora Kostakopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    Socio-political concepts are not singularities. They are, instead, complex and evolving contextures. An awareness of the latter and of what we need to do when we handle concepts opens up space for the resolution of political disagreements and multiplies opportunities for constructive dialogue and understanding. In this article, I argue that the concepts-as-contextures perspective can unravel conceptual connectivity and interweaving, and I substantiate this by examining the ‘contexture’ of liberty. I show that the different, and seemingly contested, definitions of liberty are the product of mixed articulations and the development of associative discursive links within a contexture.


Dora Kostakopoulou
Dora Kostakopoulou is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU and Professor of European Union Law, European Integration and Public Policy at Warwick University.
Case Law

2020/1 EELC’s review of the year 2019

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2020
Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Peter Schöffmann e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Peter Schöffmann

Attila Kun

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Anthony Kerr

Petr Hůrka

Michal Vrajík

Miranda Forsyth
Miranda Forsyth is an Associate Professor at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Valerie Braithwaite
Valerie Braithwaite is Professor at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

    This article engages in a comparison of the regulation of PR in the Netherlands and the UK (specifically England and Wales). The latter is a good comparator as it operates a similar regulatory approach to the Netherlands, that of conditional acceptance of PR, the condition being (prior) consent. Furthermore, the UK boasts a more detailed and mature legal framework that continues to be tested through caselaw, and thus offers insight into how a regulatory approach conditional upon the (prior) consent of the deceased can fare.
    The article starts with a brief exposition of the new Dutch guidelines and the current legislative position in the Netherlands vis-à-vis posthumous reproduction (part II). Likewise, the relevant UK guidelines and legislative position are summarized (part III). This article draws out the similarities and differences between the two regimes, as well as engaging in a critical analysis of the regulations themselves. It then looks at how the UK regime has been challenged in recent years through caselaw in anticipation of the issues that might confront the Netherlands in future (part IV). The article concludes (part V) that the key lesson to be drawn from the UK experience is that clarity and consistency is crucial in navigating this ethically, emotionally, and time sensitive area. Further, that both the UK and the Netherlands can expect demand for more detailed and precise regulatory guidance as requests for the procedure increase, and within evermore novel circumstances.

    ---

    Dit artikel vergelijkt de regulering van postume reproductie (PR) in Nederland en het Verenigd Koninkrijk (in het bijzonder Engeland en Wales). Laatstgenoemde is daarvoor zeer geschikt, aangezien het VK een vergelijkbare reguleringsbenadering heeft als Nederland, namelijk de voorwaardelijke acceptatie van PR, waarbij (voorafgaande) toestemming de voorwaarde is. Bovendien beschikt het VK over een gedetailleerder en volwassener juridisch kader dat continu wordt getoetst door middel van rechtspraak. Dit kader biedt daarmee inzicht in hoe een regulerende benadering met als voorwaarde (voorafgaande) toestemming van de overledene kan verlopen.
    Het artikel vangt aan met een korte uiteenzetting van de nieuwe Nederlandse richtlijnen en de huidige positie van de Nederlandse wetgever ten opzichte van postume reproductie (deel II). De relevante Britse richtlijnen en het wetgevende standpunt worden eveneens samengevat (deel III). Vervolgens worden de overeenkomsten en verschillen tussen de twee regimes naar voren gebracht, met daarbij een kritische analyse van de regelgeving. Hierop volgt een beschrijving van hoe het VK de afgelopen jaren is uitgedaagd in de rechtspraak, daarmee anticiperend op vraagstukken waarmee Nederland in de toekomst te maken kan krijgen (deel IV). Tot slot volgt een conclusie (deel V) waarin wordt aangetoond dat de belangrijkste les die uit de Britse ervaring kan worden getrokken, is dat duidelijkheid en consistentie cruciaal zijn bij het navigeren door dit ethische, emotionele en tijdgevoelige gebied. En daarnaast, at zowel het VK als Nederland een vraag naar meer gedetailleerde en precieze regelgeving kunnen verwachten naarmate verzoeken om deze procedure toenemen, met daarbij steeds weer nieuwe omstandigheden.


Dr. N. Hyder-Rahman
Nishat Hyder-Rahman is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, Utrecht University.
Article

Still Consociational? Belgian Democracy, 50 Years After ‘The Politics of Accommodation’

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Belgium, consociational democracy, Lijphart, federalism, ethnolinguistic conflict
Authors Didier Caluwaerts and Min Reuchamps
AbstractAuthor's information

    Despite the enduring importance of Lijphart’s work for understanding democracy in Belgium, the consociational model has come under increasing threat. Owing to deep political crises, decreasing levels of trust in elites, increasing levels of ethnic outbidding and rising demands for democratic reform, it seems as if Lijphart’s model is under siege. Even though the consociational solution proved to be very capable of transforming conflict into cooperation in Belgian politics in the past, the question we raise in this article is whether and to what extent the ‘politics of accommodation’ is still applicable to Belgian democracy. Based on an in-depth analysis of the four institutional (grand coalition, proportionality, mutual veto rights and segmental autonomy) and one cultural (public passivity) criteria, we argue that consociational democracy’s very nature and institutional set-up has largely hollowed out its potential for future conflict management.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is professor of political science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research deals with democratic governance and innovation in deeply divided societies. With Min Reuchamps, he has recently published “The Legitimacy of Citizen-led Deliberative Democracy: The G1000 in Belgium” (Routledge, 2018).

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is professor of political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multi-level governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and in particular the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.
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