Delineating active citizenship: The subjectification of citizens' initiatives

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Based on three case studies on citizens' initiatives in their local governance contexts, we analyse the process of subjectification as a performative effect of the dialectical relationship between governmental organizations and citizens' initiatives. We argue that discourses produced by governmental organizations on what it entails to be an active citizen have a performative effect on citizens' initiatives, which adapt themselves, anticipate on what is expected from them and act strategically towards these discourses. As a consequence, some people become ‘good’ citizens meeting the expectations of the governmental discourse. The process of subjectification shows that this not a unilateral act, but mutually activated by both governmental organizations and citizens' initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-179
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • big society
  • power
  • netherlands
  • governance
  • implementation
  • community
  • systems
  • policy
  • nimby

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