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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

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.

    In recent years, there has been a strong diffusion of the concept of the G1000 in the Low countries. Yet, empirical research that concerns the democratic value of these mini-publics is sparse. This raises the question as to how democratic the G1000 initiatives in Belgium and the Netherlands are. To answer this question, we compare the Belgian and the Dutch G1000’s and assess these against a set of deliberative democratic criteria. We conclude that the G1000’s to a large extent meet the process criteria of deliberation. At the same time, the connection with the formal decision-making process appears to be weak. Another lesson to be drawn is that deliberative democratic criteria often seem to conflict with each other, which points to continuing tensions within the ideal of deliberative democracy.


Ank Michels
Ank Michels is politicoloog en als universitair docent verbonden aan het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. In haar onderzoek houdt zij zich bezig met nieuwe vormen van besturen en democratie, burgerparticipatie en deliberatie. Ze is mede-auteur van het boek G1000. Ervaringen met burgertoppen (2016) en auteur van onder meer ‘Innovations in democratic governance. How does citizen participation contribute to a better democracy’ (2011) en ‘Participation in citizens’ summits and public engagement’ (2017), beide in International Review of Administrative Sciences.

Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is als docent verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zijn onderzoek handelt over democratische innovatie, met een specifieke focus op deliberatieve democratie. In 2011 was hij mede-organisator van de G1000 Burgertop in België. Hij is ook mede-auteur van Democratic deliberation in deeply divided societies: From conflict to common ground (Palgrave, 2014) en publiceerde onlangs ‘Generating democratic legitimacy through deliberative innovations: The role of embeddedness and disruptiveness (2016, Representation) en ‘Coproduction in health planning: Challenging the need for “open” policy-making processes’ (2016, International Journal of Public Administration).
Research Note

Effecten van de kiesdrempel op het Belgische partijlandschap

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2015
Authors Min Reuchamps, François Onclin, Didier Caluwaerts e.a.
Author's information

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is professor in de politieke wetenschappen aan de Université catholique de Louvain. Zijn onderzoeksinteresse omvat federalisme en multilevel governance, Belgische politiek en democratische innovaties.

François Onclin
François Onclin is onderzoeker van het Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRS en doctoraatsstudent in de rechten aan de Université de Liège. Hij publiceerde meerdere artikels in het domein van politieke wetenschappen en rechten. Zijn huidige onderzoeksinteresse gaat uit naar de relatie tussen administratief recht en contracten.

Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is postdoctoraal onderzoeker van het Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zijn onderzoek concentreert zich op sociale en democratische innovatie, met bijzondere aandacht voor deliberatieve democratie.

Pierre Baudewyns
Pierre Baudewyns is professor aan de Université catholique de Louvain. Zijn onderzoeksinteresse gaat uit naar politiek gedrag tussen massa en elites in België en Europa.

Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is postdoctoraal onderzoeker van het Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zijn onderzoek concentreert zich op sociale en democratische innovatie, met bijzondere aandacht voor deliberatieve democratie.

Kris Deschouwer
Kris Deschouwer is als onderzoeksprofessor verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zijn werk spitst zich toe op partijen en verkiezingen, en op het democratisch besturen van complexe en verdeelde samenlevingen.
Article

Hoe parlementsleden denken over de legitimiteit van quota: een Europese vergelijking

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2013
Keywords gender quotas, affirmative action, political representation, Members of Parliament, comparative research
Authors Silvia Erzeel and Didier Caluwaerts
AbstractAuthor's information

    Even though gender quotas are increasingly adopted, the legitimacy of such measures remains an issue of controversy. In this contribution, we ask how MPs, i.e. the key players in the implementation and adoption of quotas, think about affirmative action, and under which conditions they find quotas to be legitimate measures for improving gender equality. Our results reveal that much variation exists as to how MPs perceive the legitimacy of quotas. This variation plays out at both the individual and the macro level. Women and left-wing MPs consider quotas to be more legitimate than men and right-wing MPs. The openness of the parliamentary arena towards women’s movement proves to be an important condition for the positive evaluation of quotas. The broader electoral and parliamentary context only has a conditional effect: it influences female MPs’ assessment of quotas but not that of male legislators.


Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is F.R.S.-FNRS postdoctoraal onderzoekster (chargée de recherche) aan het Institut de sciences politiques Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE) van de Université catholique de Louvain. Haar onderzoek handelt over politieke vertegenwoordiging, politieke partijen en gender.

Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is als postdoctoraal onderzoeker van het FWO verbonden aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel, en als Fulbright Frank Boas Fellow aan het Ash Center for Democracy van Harvard University. Zijn onderzoek gaat over participatieve en deliberatieve democratie.
Symposium

Tussen representatie en deliberatie

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2012
Authors Kris Deschouwer, Didier Caluwaerts, Henk van der Kolk e.a.
Author's information

Kris Deschouwer
Kris Deschouwer is als onderzoeksprofessor verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Hij verricht onderzoek over politieke partijen, verkiezingen en politieke vertegenwoordiging.

Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is postdoctoraal onderzoeker in de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zijn onderzoek gaat over deliberatie in diep verdeelde samenlevingen.

Henk van der Kolk
Henk van der Kolk is als universitair hoofddocent verbonden aan de Faculteit Management en Bestuur van de Universiteit Twente. Hij geeft onderwijs in methoden en technieken en politicologie. Hij was als deskundige betrokken bij het Burgerforum Kiesstelsel en deed onderzoek naar de besluitvorming binnen het Burgerforum.

Kristof Jacobs
Kristof Jacobs is universitair docent in het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zijn onderzoek spitst zich toe op democratische vernieuwing en verkiezingen.

Jean-Pierre Rondas
Jean-Pierre Rondas was producer en journalist bij het culturele radionet Klara van de VRT, waar hij de interviewprogramma’s Wereldbeeld en Rondas maakte. Hij is stichtend lid van de Gravensteengroep, een burgerinitiatief dat vanuit progressieve ideologische posities pleit voor Vlaamse soevereiniteit. Hij publiceerde Rondas’ Wereldbeeldenboek (2006) en Land op de Tweesprong. Manifesten ter ontgrendeling van Vlaanderen (2012).
Article

Waar en wanneer spreken mannen en vrouwen over politiek?

De sekseverschillen in politieke discussie in hun sociale en politieke context

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2012
Keywords deliberative democracy, political talk, gender differences, Belgium
Authors Didier Caluwaerts
AbstractAuthor's information

    Deliberative democrats claim that political deliberation among citizens increases the legitimacy of and support for democratic decision-making. The question is, however, whether deliberative democracy can realize its added value in the real world of politics where political discussion is characterized by persisting inequalities. This paper tries to contextualize the gender gap in political talk by taking into account the social (i.e., discussion networks) and political context (i.e., campaign effects) in which political debate takes place. Based on previous research we argue that women prefer to discuss politics in relatively like-minded, cohesive networks, while men prefer more confrontational networks. Moreover, we expect the gender gap to depend on the electoral context, in that the gender gap disappears in later campaign phases. These two arguments were tested and confirmed using data gathered in the Partirep Regional Election Survey in 2009.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is postdoctoraal onderzoeker in de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de VUB. Zijn onderzoek gaat over deliberatieve democratie in diep verdeelde samenlevingen.
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