In the Netherlands, citizens have the formal opportunity to put issues – under certain conditions – on the political agenda. This has been possible since May 2006 at the national level and at the local level since March 2002. In addition, people increasingly engage in an informal way, on their own initiative, to draw from their expertise, experience and knowledge to formulate ideas for policy that they may offer to government. Such ‘citizens’ initiatives’ can be seen, in addition to interactive policy making, as a form of citizens’ participation (Edelenbos et al. 2008). Citizen participation is often initiated by government; it is a bottom-up development started by citizens themselves (Edelenbos et al. 2008). In this chapter, we elaborate on the institutional implications of the ‘citizens’ initiatives’ within local democracy. These initiatives could be described as forms of selfgovernance, leading to the emergence of ‘proto-institutions’ (Lawrence et al. 2002). These proto-institutions interact with established institutions of representative democracy. This interaction is a co-evolving process in which both types of institutions react to each other in certain ways. In this contribution, we describe this institutional evolution and try to find determining factors in this process. We want to provide explanatory factors of processes of institutional co-evolution. We argue that these factors are of major importance with regard to processes of citizen participation and co-operating mechanisms between proto-institutions developed by citizens’ initiatives and established institutions of representative democracy.

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ISBN 978-1-907301-13-1
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/50959
Note Published in: Edelenbos, J., and I. van Meerkerk (Eds), Institutional Evolution Within Local Democracy – Local Self-Governance Meets Local Government. In: J. Torfing and P. Triantafillou (ed.). Interactive policymaking, metagovernance and democracy. Pp. 169-186. Essex, ECPR Press, 2011
Edelenbos, J, & van Meerkerk, I.F. (2011). Institutional Evolution within Local Democracy - Local Self-Governance Meets Local Government. In Interactive policy making, metagovernance and democracy (pp. 169–186). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/50959