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Participation arrangements in Ghent: 'searching for the underlying story: a dynamic approach'

Karolien Dezeure (UGent) and Filip De Rynck (UGent)
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Abstract
There are two dominant but seemingly contradictory narratives about the reasons for the dynamics of local participation arrangements. On the one hand, we have the traditional perspective focusing on the link between psychological characteristics and participation on the one side and on the other side on the barriers to participation (Hooghe 1999; Verba, Scholzman & Brady 1995). On the other hand we have the studies that examine participation arrangements from a sociological point of view: they point out that institutions have an impact on the participation arrangements (see for example Lowndes et al. 2001, 2006). This paper wants to detect the relevant variables that influence participation arrangements over time. In how far are these two stories compatible at the Flemish local level? If not, which one is more correct? The paper starts by reviewing the international literature on local participation in order to detect a list of relevant influencing variables. By means of a historical longitudinal analysis in the Flemish city Ghent a number of participation arrangements are identified over six legislative periods. With participation arrangement we refer to the tools and trajectories initiated and implemented by local government in order to organize citizen participation On the basis of an extensive documentary analysis and on interviews we come a set of factors that are influencing the functioning of Flemish local participation arrangements. The importance of this kind of research is twofold. First, a dynamic and longitudinal analysis on local participation is rather innovating. Most researches have a rather static view. The impact of variables on one instrument is researched at a certain point in time. However, participation arrangements evolve over time and a dynamic approach is more fitting. Second, it may provide some insight in the factors stimulating people to participate. Understanding what drives people’s participation at the local level is an important issue, especially in the light of the declining levels of engagement as well as current political commitments to promote active citizenship (Lowndes et al. 2006).
Keywords
local, participation

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Chicago
Dezeure, Karolien, and Filip De Rynck. 2010. “Participation Arrangements in Ghent: ‘Searching for the Underlying Story: a Dynamic Approach’.” In IRSPM Conference, 14th, Papers. International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM).
APA
Dezeure, K., & De Rynck, F. (2010). Participation arrangements in Ghent: “searching for the underlying story: a dynamic approach.” IRSPM conference, 14th, Papers. Presented at the 14th IRSPM conference : The Crisis : challenges for public management, International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM).
Vancouver
1.
Dezeure K, De Rynck F. Participation arrangements in Ghent: “searching for the underlying story: a dynamic approach.”IRSPM conference, 14th, Papers. International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM); 2010.
MLA
Dezeure, Karolien, and Filip De Rynck. “Participation Arrangements in Ghent: ‘Searching for the Underlying Story: a Dynamic Approach’.” IRSPM Conference, 14th, Papers. International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM), 2010. Print.
@inproceedings{935050,
  abstract     = {There are two dominant but seemingly contradictory narratives about the reasons for the dynamics of local participation arrangements. On the one hand, we have the traditional perspective focusing on the link between psychological characteristics and participation on the one side and on the other side on the barriers to participation (Hooghe 1999; Verba, Scholzman \& Brady 1995). On the other hand we have the studies that examine participation arrangements from a sociological point of view: they point out that institutions have an impact on the participation arrangements (see for example Lowndes et al. 2001, 2006). This paper wants to detect the relevant variables that influence participation arrangements over time. In how far are these two stories compatible at the Flemish local level? If not, which one is more correct?
The paper starts by reviewing the international literature on local participation in order to detect a list of relevant influencing variables. By means of a historical longitudinal analysis in the Flemish city Ghent a number of participation arrangements are identified over six legislative periods. With participation arrangement we refer to the tools and trajectories initiated and implemented by local government in order to organize citizen participation On the basis of an extensive documentary analysis and on interviews we come a set of factors that are influencing the functioning of Flemish local participation arrangements.
The importance of this kind of research is twofold. First, a dynamic and longitudinal analysis on local participation is rather innovating. Most researches have a rather static view. The impact of variables on one instrument is researched at a certain point in time. However, participation arrangements evolve over time and a dynamic approach is more fitting. Second, it may provide some insight in the factors stimulating people to participate. Understanding what drives people{\textquoteright}s participation at the local level is an important issue, especially in the light of the declining levels of engagement as well as current political commitments to promote active citizenship (Lowndes et al. 2006).},
  author       = {Dezeure, Karolien and De Rynck, Filip},
  booktitle    = {IRSPM conference, 14th, Papers},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Bern, Switzerland},
  pages        = {17},
  publisher    = {International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM)},
  title        = {Participation arrangements in Ghent: 'searching for the underlying story: a dynamic approach'},
  url          = {http://www.irspm2010.com/workshops/papers/8\_participationarrangements.pdf},
  year         = {2010},
}