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Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

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Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

There have often been high hopes for the contribution of interactive governance to the realization of normative goals. In this chapter we investigate whether these normative goals are actually met in real life governance processes. In the literature one can distinguish three main normative goals: interactive governance strives for enhancing efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy. However, these goals are not realized without problems and tensions. Interactive governance needs a great deal of capacity and resources and is therefore costly and time-consuming. Moreover, there is the danger of symbolic stakeholder involvement in which real dialogue and results are not achieved. Finally, valuable input is often neglected, and there are issues with vertical accountability. Whether the high hopes are met depends on how the main three issues of inclusiveness, throughput legitimacy and accountability are resolved.
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Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

In Chapter 22 Van Meerkerk and Edelenbos go deeper into the concept of boundary-spanning leadership to reflect on how tensions between civic initiatives and existing political and governmental institutions can be managed. They argue that to make civic-induced interactive governance work, boundary-spanning activities on both sides of the state–society boundary are needed. By using the insights from a longitudinal in-depth case study on community self-organization in the Netherlands, they delve deeper into the boundary-spanning profiles and boundary-spanning practices of the key figures in this case. Their reflective case study seeks to ‘put a face’ on boundary-spanning leadership and to contextualize it within the research on civic initiatives. They specifically examine how the different boundary spanners, positioned in diverse institutional and organizational settings, contributed to the organizational and democratic anchorage of this community self-organization in which citizens take the initiative in developing and maintaining a specific area.
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Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

In Chapter 23 the editors, Edelenbos and Van Meerkerk, discuss the recurring and prominent issues raised by the contributors in the book. In this chapter the contributions are synthesized along the distinction between civic-induced and government-induced interactive governance and the instrumental, cultural and democratic perspectives, leading to an agenda for research and debate on interactive governance. They also introduce the concept of cooperative democracy in order to sketch a new form and approach to civic-induced interactive governance that stresses the emergence of civic initiatives and the challenge for governments to find their (new) positions and roles in making interactive governance meaningful, legitimate and effective.
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Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance

Self-organization and Participation in Public Governance

Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

In many countries, government and society have undergone a major shift in recent years, now tending toward ‘smaller government’ and ‘bigger society’. This development has lent increased meaning to the notion of interactive governance, a concept that this book takes not as a normative ideal but as an empirical phenomenon that needs constant critical scrutiny, reflection and embedding in modern societies.
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Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

This chapter introduces the phrase “vitality mechanisms” which support interactive and collaborative governance and discusses the challenges associated with applying them in practice. Vitality mechanisms refer to the procedural and relational capacity among actors in a network, which the authors suggest is strongly related to governance capacity and relational capacity. Vitality is supported by informal structures or settings that promote interaction among actors, boundary spanning activities that build and activate relationships among actors, constructive dialogue and deliberation among actors, trust to enhance the performance of networks, and institutionalization of relationships that allow ongoing interaction. However, the conditions necessary for supporting vitality also confront challenges related to the interplay between the conditions, the impacts of the evolution of networks over time, and the contextual effects on these conditions.
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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos