Citizen Participation in a Mediated Age: Neighbourhood Governance in The Netherlands


Two developments — the fragmentation of governance and the mediatization of politics — lead governmental organizations to engage in discursive and institutional competition. These new circumstances also drastically change the relationship of governmental organizations to clients, target groups and the citizenry as a whole. We empirically investigate these changes through a study of a privately funded community development organization in the Netherlands, the Neighbourhood Alliance. In this case, it is no longer the citizenry that articulates a public discourse, but a public discourse that, through the mediation of an institutional entrepreneur like the Neighbourhood Alliance, stipulates what type of participation is appropriate. This development raises the critical issue of the nature and mechanisms of democratic engagement in a fragmented, mediatized polity.