- On inclusion and network governance: the democratic disconnect of Dutch energy transitions
- Public Administration
- Volume | Issue number
- 86 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The coordination of policy networks, or network governance, poses threats and opportunities for democracy. Against the norms of liberal democracy, multi-actor partnerships do not fare well: they appear to lack responsiveness, public accountability and democratic legitimacy. But in terms of promoting deliberation and participation, networks could potentially deepen democracy. This paper injects some empirical insights into this debate by exploring network governance from the perspective of inclusion. It argues that any account of ‘democratic’ network governance must look beyond outputs, and consider the extent to which network arrangements include both ‘functional’ and ‘descriptive’ representatives of those potentially affected by decisions. An analysis of the inclusivity of network governance in recent Dutch energy reforms finds that partnerships are dominated by industry and government elites, at the expense of broader democratic engagement. A series of strategies are proposed for how to make network governance more accessible and accountable to affected publics.
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