Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance
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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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Chapter 13: Interactive governance and the social construction of citizens as co-creators

William Voorberg and Victor Bekkers


Voorberg and Bekkers argue in Chapter 13 that Western governments are retreating from the public domain and are actively seeking alternative forms of public service delivery. These forms are increasingly interactive and reliant on the competences and expertise of citizens. Citizens are no longer considered as (just) end-users of public services, but are expected to be co-creators. Using the conceptual framework of Schneider and Ingram, Voorberg and Bekkers explore what such a social construction of citizens implies for citizens who can be considered as co-creators, but also for citizens who initially do not belong to the group of co-creators. They argue that mainstreaming citizens as such might strengthen certain democratic values such as responsiveness and equal consideration, but at the same time, endangers others such as equal access to public service delivery and service diversity.

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