Trust, knowledge, and democracy. The public debate about Dutch mega-stables

C.J.A.M. Termeer, W.D. Pot, G.E. Breeman, M. van Lieshout

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This paper focuses on the relationship between trust, knowledge and democracy. Using the public debate about a mega-stable in a small town in the Netherlands, we demonstrate the role of the media, and communication of research in establishing and loosing trust. We ask the following: how can local governments maintain, or regain trust amongst citizens when they deal with sensitive and knowledge intensive issues which trigger a lot of resistance and thus increase the risks of declining trust? In this town, citizens protested against the arrival of a mega-stable in their backyard, where politicians and researchers strongly supported the concept because of its alleged sustainable character. Mass media coverage was to the advantage of the opponents, because their message could more easily be dramatised. The more information and knowledge by means of research reports and media attention became available, the more people began to mistrust their administrators and vice versa. We argue that governments should be aware of the different configurations in which stakeholders operate, and that it should use arguments which relate to these configurations or perceptions of actors Keywords Agriculture, media, trust, configurations, knowledge, democratic government
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-20
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventThe International Conference 'Towards Knowledge Democracy. Consequences for Science, Politics and Media'. RMNO Conference 2009 -
Duration: 25 Aug 200927 Aug 2009

Conference

ConferenceThe International Conference 'Towards Knowledge Democracy. Consequences for Science, Politics and Media'. RMNO Conference 2009
Period25/08/0927/08/09

Keywords

  • agriculture
  • knowledge
  • democracy
  • intensive livestock farming
  • stalls
  • cow housing
  • animal welfare

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