From exemplary practitioners to urban chameleons? The role of the citizen in the redistribution of tasks in local governance

Zsuzsa Kovács*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article further theorizes exemplary practitioners’ roles in neighborhood governance by building on the framework of the four ideal types of practitioners—frontline worker, everyday fixer, social entrepreneur and boundary spanner. An actor-focused approach was applied which delivered data to reconstruct processes in which a single citizen practitioner engaged in an Amsterdam neighborhood. Data were collected through shadowing and interviewing him for 2 months. It is shown how this exemplary practitioner combined and switched between the role characteristics of the four generic types, just like chameleon, during his interactions with other actors in various situations and contexts. During this dynamic role switching, he took on the tasks of a community developer, previously delivered by civil servants. He also facilitated stakeholder collaboration leading to more inclusive and democratic local governance. However, role switching caused him to loose the trust of some citizens on the long term. These findings gain relevance in the context of the reorganization of the Dutch welfare state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-155
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Policy Studies
Volume14
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Exemplary practitioner
  • urban chameleon
  • shadowing
  • neighborhood
  • governance
  • community development

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