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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 1 2021
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 is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the interplay between interest groups, public opinion and public policy.

Jan Beyers
Jan Beyers is Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Antwerp. His current research projects focus on how interest groups represent citizens interests and to what extent the politicization of public opinion affects processes of organized interest representation in public policymaking.

Frederik Heylen
Frederik Heylen holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Antwerp. His doctoral dissertation addresses the organizational development of civil society organizations and its internal and external consequences for interest representation. He is co-founder and CEO of Datamarinier.

    La présente contribution vise à analyser les développements jurisprudentiels de la Commission européenne des droits de l’homme et de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme en matière d’interruption de grossesse. Nous formulons une réponse à la question suivante: vu de l’évolution de la jurisprudence, quelles conclusions pouvons-nous tirer sur la position actuelle de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme sur la question du droit et de l’accès à l’avortement? À travers une analyse des décisions et arrêts rendus par la Commission et la Cour, nous étudions la façon dont les différents intérêts et droits s’articulent, à savoir ceux de la femme enceinte, du père potentiel, de l’enfant à naître et de la société. Au terme de cette étude, nous déterminons la marge d’appréciation dont jouissent les états membres en la matière, ainsi que la manière dont la Cour réalise une balance des différents intérêts en présence.

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    This contribution aims to analyze the case-law developments of the European Commission of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights in matters of termination of pregnancy. We formulate an answer to the following question: regarding the case-law developments, what can we conclude on the European Court of Human Rights’ current position on the right and access to abortion? Through an analysis of the Commission and the Court’s decisions and judgments, we study how the different interests and rights are articulated, namely those of the pregnant woman, the potential father, the unborn child, and the society. At the end of this study, we determine the member states’ margin of appreciation regarding abortion and how the Court finds a balance between the various concerned interests.


A. Cassiers
Aurélie Cassiers est assistante - doctorante à l'UHasselt. L’auteure souhaite remercier la relecture attentive et les remarques pertinentes de sa promotrice et sa co-promotrice, prof. dr. Charlotte Declerck (UHasselt) et prof. dr. Géraldine Mathieu (UNamur).
Article

Populism as a Visual Communication Style

An Exploratory Study of Populist Image Usage of Flemish Block/Interest in Belgium (1991-2018)

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Populism, image use, visual style, campaign, posters, visual, Flanders, populist right, Belgium
Authors Kevin Straetemans
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article analyses the visual communication of the Flemish populist right-wing party Vlaams Blok/Vlaams Belang, and investigates whether or not the party uses a specific populist communication style in its campaign posters, whether or not its visual style evolves over time and how the party distinguishes itself from other (right-wing) parties in its use of images. To do this, the image use will be compared with the CVP/CD&V and the Volksunie/N-VA. This use of images will be investigated by analysing election posters from 1991 to 2018. The analysis shows that there is indeed a ‘populist visual style’. These items consist mainly of (negative) metaphors, false dilemmas, caricatures and the use of so-called ‘agonic’ visual techniques.


Kevin Straetemans
Kevin Straetemans attained a Master’s degree in Political Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2018. He is currently pursuing an Educational Master in Social Sciences at the same university. His research interests are political parties, elections, extremism, propaganda and political communication.
Article

Twee handen op één buik?

Hoe en waarom de mediatisering van de Vlaamse politiek en particratie hand in hand gaan

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2018
Keywords mediatisation, particracy, media logic
Authors Peter Van Aelst
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is a growing consensus that politics have become mediatised. News media have become more independent and are more guided by their own routines and standards and less by what political actors deem important. However, this paper argues that this has not led to a decrease of the power of political parties. In Belgium, particracy and mediatisation seem to go hand in hand. There are mainly two reasons for this. Firstly, media attention focuses heavily on politicians with power and in that sense, media logic and party logic overlap. Secondly, parties have adjusted well to the media and their logic, among others by integrating journalists in the party organisation. We expect that social media will gradually become more important for politicians, but that this evolution too will change little to the central position of political parties in our democracy.


Peter Van Aelst
Peter Van Aelst is onderzoeksprofessor aan het departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Antwerpen en lid van de onderzoeksgroep Media, Middenveld en Politiek. Hij doet onderzoek naar de oorzaken en gevolgen van de mediatisering van de politiek, verkiezingscampagnes, nieuwe media en politiek nieuws. Zijn onderzoek verschijnt in toonaangevende internationale tijdschriften, maar ook in publicaties voor een breder publiek.

Göran Sluiter
Professor in the Law of International Criminal Procedure, University of Amsterdam.
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