On speaking terms: About the meaning of conversations for the course of a local participatory processes.


HU researcher Christine Bleijenberg will defend her dissertation on speaking terms: about the meaning of conversations for the course of a local participatory processes in an open academic setting at the Radboud University on Wednesday 9 of June.


Conversations, face-to-face interactions between citizens and civil servants, are virtually always a part of local participatory processes. Although conversations are widely acknowledged as crucial for participatory processes, there is still little insight into how conversations play a role in the course of participation processes. For this thesis research was conducted into the course of conversations, and into the expectations and experiences of participating citizens.

The results show that conversations contribute to the goals of citizen participation, if there is room and appreciation for divergent perspectives of both participating and critical citizens who manifest themselves outside the participation process. Secondly, the results show that citizens in a participatory process expect to be taken seriously by the municipality. Thirdly, if citizens experience a participatory process as fair, participating can contribute to trust in the municipality.

For civil servants this thesis provides concrete recommendations for preparing and engaging in conversations as part of a participatory process.

The defense will take place at 12.30 in the aula of the Academiegebouw of Radboud University in Nijmegen. You are welcome to follow the defense online via a livestream. The link to this livestream will be shared later.

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