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 22: Complementary boundary-spanning leadership: making civic-induced interactive governance work

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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