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Article

Interest Representation in Belgium

Mapping the Size and Diversity of an Interest Group Population in a Multi-layered Neo-corporatist Polity

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue Online First 2020
Keywords interest groups, advocacy, access, advisory councils, media attention
Authors Evelien Willems, Jan Beyers and Frederik Heylen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article assesses the size and diversity of Belgium’s interest group population by triangulating four data sources. Combining various sources allows us to describe which societal interests get mobilised, which interest organisations become politically active and who gains access to the policy process and obtains news media attention. Unique about the project is the systematic data collection, enabling us to compare interest representation at the national, Flemish and Francophone-Walloon government levels. We find that: (1) the national government level remains an important venue for interest groups, despite the continuous transfer of competences to the subnational and European levels, (2) neo-corporatist mobilisation patterns are a persistent feature of interest representation, despite substantial interest group diversity and (3) interest mobilisation substantially varies across government levels and political-administrative arenas.


Evelien Willems
Evelien Willems, Departement Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium.

Jan Beyers
Jan Beyers, Departement Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium.

Frederik Heylen
Frederik Heylen, Departement Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium.

Annemieke Wolthuis
Annemieke Wolthuis (PhD) is an independent researcher, trainer and mediator in the field of human rights, children’s rights and restorative justice.

Jacques Claessen
Jacques Claessen (PhD) is an Associate Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology of the Faculty of Law at Maastricht University.

Gert Jan Slump
Gert Jan Slump (MA) is an independent criminologist, restorative justice consultant and social entrepreneur.

Anneke van Hoek
Anneke van Hoek (MA) is an independent criminologist.
Article

Consensus Democracy and Bureaucracy in the Low Countries

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2019
Keywords consensus democracy, bureaucracy, governance system, Lijphart, policymaking
Authors Frits van der Meer, Caspar van den Berg, Charlotte van Dijck e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Taking Lijphart’s work on consensus democracies as our point of departure, we signal a major shortcoming in Lijphart’s focus being almost exclusively on the political hardware of the state structure, leaving little attention for the administrative and bureaucratic characteristics of governance systems. We propose to expand the Lijphart’s model which overviews structural aspects of the executive and the state with seven additional features of the bureaucratic system. We argue that these features are critical for understanding the processes of policymaking and service delivery. Next, in order to better understand the functioning of the Netherlands and Belgium as consensus democracies, we provide a short analysis of the historical context and current characteristics of the political-administrative systems in both countries.


Frits van der Meer
Frits van der Meer, Professor Institute Public Administration, Leiden University.

Caspar van den Berg
Caspar van den Berg, Campus Fryslân, University of Groningen.

Charlotte van Dijck
Charlotte van Dijck, PhD Fellow Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), KU Leuven Public Governance Institute.

Gerrit Dijkstra
Gerrit Dijkstra, Senior Lecturer, Leiden University.

Trui Steen
Trui Steen, Professor, KU Leuven Public Governance Institute.
Article

Verticale politieke cumul in de Lage Landen: evolutie en verklaringen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Cumul des mandats, Multiple office-holding, Members of parliament, Local representatives, Central-local relations
Authors Nicolas Van de Voorde
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies have shown that multiple office-holding, a practice that denotes the simultaneous exercise of any directly elected municipal mandate and parliamentary seat, is more commonplace in European national parliaments than expected. However, research in Belgium, and especially in the Netherlands, is scarce and extremely fragmented. Therefore, our analysis provides a systematic comparison between the Low Countries with a longitudinal focus. In the first part of the paper, the frequency of the practice is described and its evolution in the last two decades tracked. In the second part, we provide aggregated explanations for the identified discrepancy. Indeed, our results show that after the most recent elections, more than 80% of all Belgian members of parliament held a local mandate, and this percentage increased by 10% during our reference period. In contrast, 9 out of 150 members of the Dutch Second Chamber were combining several offices at the beginning of their national mandate, while the degree of cumulards remained stable. Unexpectedly, the legislative framework and the party regulations are not the source of this deviation, as they are almost identical in both countries. We argue that the difference can be attributed to the role and position of the local government, the political culture and the electoral system.


Nicolas Van de Voorde
Nicolas Van de Voorde is als FWO-aspirant verbonden aan het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek aan de Universiteit Gent. Zijn onderzoek is gericht op het fenomeen cumul des mandats in de Belgische context.
Article

De impact van digitale campagnemiddelen op de personalisering van politieke partijen in Nederland (2010-2014)

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2015
Keywords personalization, social media, election campaigns, party politics
Authors Kristof Jacobs and Niels Spierings
AbstractAuthor's information

    Politicians have started to use social media more often. As such media induce personal campaigning, one might expect more personalization to follow. We explore what type of personalization social media stimulate, whether this is different for Twitter and Facebook and analyze the role of parties. We make use of quantitative and qualitative data about the Netherlands (2010-2014). We find that while theoretically the impact of social media may be big, in practice it is fairly limited: more presidentialization but not more individualization (though Twitter might increase the focus on other candidates slightly). The difference between theory and practice seems largely due to the parties. They adopt a very ambiguous stance: though they often stimulate candidates to use social media, they want to keep control nonetheless.


Kristof Jacobs
Kristof Jacobs is als universitair docent verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op politieke partijen, sociale media, kiesstelsels en uitdagingen van de democratie.

Niels Spierings
Niels Spierings is universitair docent bij de Afdeling Sociologie aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zijn specialismen zijn politieke en gendersociologie en onderzoeksmethoden. Thematisch focust hij op sociale media, politieke participatie en democratisering, genderongelijkheid, de politieke en economische positie van vrouwen, migratie, islam, en intersectionaliteit. Samen met Kristof Jacobs coördineert hij het project VIRAL (www.ru.nl/VIRAL).
Article

De Europese Commissie en het EU-Raadssecretariaat in het GBVB

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 2008
Keywords European Commission, Council Secretariat, Common Foreign and Security Policy, Actorness, Treaty of Lisbon
Authors Hylke Dijkstra
AbstractAuthor's information

    For the European Union to exhibit some ‘actorness’ in the world of international relations requires it to have a certain amount of autonomy from its constituent members. This article analyses, in this respect, the degrees of freedom the Council Secretariat and the European Commission enjoy in the context of the CFSP. While this EU policy is generally known to be intergovernmental, both institutions arguably do have some political influence over the substantive outcomes. This is not the result of formal competencies institutionalized in the Treaties, but rather of an accumulated process and content expertise in these institutions, which can be transformed into political influence via informal means.


Hylke Dijkstra
Hylke Dijkstra is promovendus aan de Faculteit der Cultuur- en Maatschappijwetenschappen van de Universiteit Maastricht.
Article

Europa en de wereld: de eeuwige machtsvraag

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 2008
Keywords European Union, EU External Policies, Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Principal-Agent, Normative Power Europe
Authors Jan Orbie and Sophie Vanhoonacker
AbstractAuthor's information

    This introductory article situates the three contributions to this special issue on ‘Europe and the world’ within the broader academic discussion on the European Union’s (EU) international role. It expands on the two central questions that run as a red line through this issue: what is the role and power of EU level players in the external policymaking process; what kind of power is Europe in the world? The fi rst part focuses on the explanatory power of rational choice theories and more particularly the principal-agent model when trying to understand the power struggle between the European and national level. The second part addresses the question whether the EU constitutes a sui generis type of international actor, as suggested by the Normative Power Europe hypothesis. With the articles in this special issue as a starting point, it points to the promises and pitfalls of the particular approaches for researching Europe’s international role and makes suggestions for future research.


Jan Orbie
Jan Orbie is docent aan het Centrum voor EU-Studies van de Universiteit Gent.

Sophie Vanhoonacker
Sophie Vanhoonacker is bijzonder hoogleraar ‘Administrative Governance’ aan de Universiteit Maastricht.
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