Citizens’ initiatives in depopulating rural areas: Understanding success, failure and continuity from multiple perspectives

de Haan, E. M., 2019, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 165 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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The shift from the welfare state to a 'participation society' has resulted in much attention for various forms of participation nowadays. Citizens are increasingly taking on responsibilities for their living environment, for example by participating in citizens' initiatives. This dissertation focuses on citizens' initiatives in depopulating areas in the Netherlands. Especially in such depopulating areas, where facilities are under pressure, citizens' initiatives could be an alternative to maintaining facilities.
The chapters examine the success, failure and continuity of citizens' initiatives from the perspective of various stakeholders. It appears that professionals and initiators have a different view of what a successful citizens' initiative means. The analyses have also shown that achieving initial results increases the chance of continuation. Finally, examples of failed citizens' initiatives illustrate how not one factor leads to failure but that a combination of different factors contributes to the failure of an initiative. A recurring theme in this dissertation is the relationship between governments and citizens' initiatives and how this can complicate a successful outcome. The new roles and responsibilities that belong to a 'participation society' are not yet part of daily practice everywhere. This will require adaptability in the future, particularly from the government.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Haartsen, Tialda, Supervisor
  • Meier, S.O., Supervisor, External person
  • Strijker, Derk, Supervisor
  • Bock, Bettina, Assessment committee
  • Skerratt, S., Assessment committee, External person
  • Tonkens, E, Assessment committee, External person
Award date28-Mar-2019
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-1465-2
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1464-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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