Negotiating Differences: The Role of Social Identity in the Emergence of Institutions for Local Governance

J.R. de Vries, A. Aalvanger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Local governance gained wide attention over the last decades. These processes are embedded in existing institutional contexts, and as such create new actors, rules and identities or change existing ones. In this chapter we focus on the co-construction of institutions and identities in two cases: Nieuw-Dordrecht (the Netherlands) and the Baviaanskloof (South Africa). Both cases show how identities and institutions evolve through the constant (re-)interpretation and (re-)construction of identities and institutions. Identity and institutional changes may result in dynamic or more stable situations, showing that even a stabilized governance situation requires an active and constant reconstruction of identities, actors and rules. Stability can therefore never be assumed, neither in practice nor in research. Behind the veil of stability and silence active processes are at work, processes that allow a situation to be stable. Exploring these processes through an evolutionary perspective gives promising insights for grasping mechanisms underlying local governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolutionary Governance Theory : Theory and Applications
EditorsR. Beunen, K. van Assche, M. Duineveld
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages348
ISBN (Print)9783319122731
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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