Defining ‘success’ of local citizens’ initiatives in maintaining public services in rural areas: a professional’s perspective

Erzsi de Haan, Sabine Meier, Tialda Haartsen, Dirk Strijker

Abstract

In the shift towards the Big Society, it is widely proclaimed that citizen participation and citizens’ initiatives are indispensable to maintaining services that used to be run by local or regional governments. Despite the increased interest in citizens’ initiatives, research has scarcely debated what actually defines the success of such initiatives. Using focus group discussions, this study examined the meanings and norms collectively constructed by government officials and professionals regarding the success and failure of citizens’ initiatives in rural areas. Remarkably, we found that the professional perspective
of successful citizens’ initiatives was not dominated by the achievement of actual
policy targets or project goals, such as maintaining public services. Rather, an initiative was perceived as successful as long as citizens are continuously active and in charge. Arguably, this somewhat paternalistic professional view of successful citizens’ initiatives could be challenged by the volunteers in those initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociologia Ruralis
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2017

Fingerprint

citizens' action committee
success
public service
rural area
government
citizens' participation
group discussion
failure
achievement
citizen
meaning
interest
project
society
service
perspective
research

Keywords

  • society
  • citizen initiatives
  • public services

Cite this

de Haan, Erzsi; Meier, Sabine; Haartsen, Tialda; Strijker, Dirk / Defining ‘success’ of local citizens’ initiatives in maintaining public services in rural areas : a professional’s perspective.

In: Sociologia Ruralis, 30.06.2017.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

@article{2838668d75ca45428777b90f0fd786a1,
title = "Defining ‘success’ of local citizens’ initiatives in maintaining public services in rural areas: a professional’s perspective",
keywords = "society, citizen initiatives, public services, maatschappij, burgerinitiatieven, publieke diensten",
author = "{de Haan}, Erzsi and Sabine Meier and Tialda Haartsen and Dirk Strijker",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
journal = "Sociologia Ruralis",
issn = "1467-9523",
publisher = "Wiley",

}

Defining ‘success’ of local citizens’ initiatives in maintaining public services in rural areas : a professional’s perspective. / de Haan, Erzsi; Meier, Sabine; Haartsen, Tialda; Strijker, Dirk.

In: Sociologia Ruralis, 30.06.2017.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Defining ‘success’ of local citizens’ initiatives in maintaining public services in rural areas

T2 - Sociologia Ruralis

AU - de Haan,Erzsi

AU - Meier,Sabine

AU - Haartsen,Tialda

AU - Strijker,Dirk

PY - 2017/6/30

Y1 - 2017/6/30

N2 - In the shift towards the Big Society, it is widely proclaimed that citizen participation and citizens’ initiatives are indispensable to maintaining services that used to be run by local or regional governments. Despite the increased interest in citizens’ initiatives, research has scarcely debated what actually defines the success of such initiatives. Using focus group discussions, this study examined the meanings and norms collectively constructed by government officials and professionals regarding the success and failure of citizens’ initiatives in rural areas. Remarkably, we found that the professional perspectiveof successful citizens’ initiatives was not dominated by the achievement of actualpolicy targets or project goals, such as maintaining public services. Rather, an initiative was perceived as successful as long as citizens are continuously active and in charge. Arguably, this somewhat paternalistic professional view of successful citizens’ initiatives could be challenged by the volunteers in those initiatives.

AB - In the shift towards the Big Society, it is widely proclaimed that citizen participation and citizens’ initiatives are indispensable to maintaining services that used to be run by local or regional governments. Despite the increased interest in citizens’ initiatives, research has scarcely debated what actually defines the success of such initiatives. Using focus group discussions, this study examined the meanings and norms collectively constructed by government officials and professionals regarding the success and failure of citizens’ initiatives in rural areas. Remarkably, we found that the professional perspectiveof successful citizens’ initiatives was not dominated by the achievement of actualpolicy targets or project goals, such as maintaining public services. Rather, an initiative was perceived as successful as long as citizens are continuously active and in charge. Arguably, this somewhat paternalistic professional view of successful citizens’ initiatives could be challenged by the volunteers in those initiatives.

KW - society

KW - citizen initiatives

KW - public services

KW - maatschappij

KW - burgerinitiatieven

KW - publieke diensten

M3 - Article

JO - Sociologia Ruralis

JF - Sociologia Ruralis

SN - 1467-9523

ER -