Public Governance & Civil Society
With the research programme Public Governance & Civil Society I address the engagement of civil society with the state as well as the organizational and political capacities of civil society itself. As such, this research programme offers unique expertise within the field of public administration both in the Netherlands and in an international context. Several research lines offer complementary insights into how civil society engages with the administrative state as well as how civil society organizations manage to aggregate and represent constituent interests. Click here for a short explainer video about my research programme.
Organizing Civic Engagement
Civil society – consisting of a wide variety of organizations, including business associations, NGOs, citizen groups, firms, semi-public institutions, think tanks and expert bodies – constitute a vital counterpart of public institutions for effectively coping with societal challenges. Inclusive involvement of civil society is considered by many public institutions as a crucial condition for effective decision-making, better regulation and legitimate public governance. For that reason, national governments and (supra)national organizations have experimented with a variety of consultation and participation mechanisms, Such arrangements, however, also raise fundamental questions about the legitimacy and effectiveness of policymaking. A long-standing research theme in my research agenda therefore considers both the conditions under which such civic engagements is successful as well as the challenges faced by public officials to reach out to and engage with civil society. This research often results from collaborations with public officials as well as via workshops and masterclasses
Civil Society & the Regulatory State
Civil Society Engagement in the regulatory state has become an increasingly relevant phenomenon over the past decades. On the one hand, civil society engagement is salient because it can tilt regulatory decision-making away from the public interest to only address narrow and specialized interests. And in doing so result in regulatory capture. On the other hand, civil society engagement is often considered a vital element of responsive regulation. Two research projects (2-Capture; funded by NWO Vidi 2016-2022) and (Reconnect; funded by NWO Norface scheme (2020-2023) were designed to uncover multiple dimensions of civil society engagement in the regulatory state. Together, these projects offer more comprehensive insights into civil society engagement in the regulatory state.
If Civil Society, a wide variety of societal organizations ranging from firms, business associations, to NGOs and (ad hoc) citizen groups, is to perform as a legitimate complement to representative democracy, it should function as a linking pin between public governance, their constituents and individual citizens. A major part of the Public Governance & Civil Society research programme therefore involves the study of organizational dynamics of civil society ( i.e. the mobilization, organization, and political influence of civil society). Much research within this theme takes place via (inter)national collaboration. See for more information: the Comparative Interest Group Survey and INTEREURO website.