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  • 1.
    Amnå, Erik
    Örebro University, Department of Social and Political Sciences.
    Autonomous arenas of pluralism or contracted coordinators of governance?: Responses to Lorentzen's & Wijkström's commentaries on my article "Still a trustworthy ally? Civil society and the transformation of Scandinavian democracy"2006In: Journal of Civil Society, ISSN 1744-8689, E-ISSN 1744-8697, Vol. 2, no 3, p. 267-270Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 2.
    Hustinx, Lesley
    et al.
    Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation—Flanders, Centre for Sociological Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
    Denk, Thomas
    Department of Political Science, Åbo Akademi University, Finland.
    The "black box" problem in the study of participation2009In: Journal of Civil Society, ISSN 1744-8689, E-ISSN 1744-8697, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 209-226Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research on citizen participation has been guided by two core issues: first, the observation of a widening repertory of modes of participation, and second, the argument that participation is not an undifferentiated phenomenon, but must be conceived as an inherently multidimensional reality. In this article, we argue that conventional participation research has focused too one-sidedly on quantitatively expanding the range of types of activities, while the complex dimensionality is not reflected in the measures used. We formulate a methodological critique by using the metaphor of the ‘black box’, which refers to the implicit and unquestioned assumption that distinct types of activities and associations represent homogeneous and consistent realities that do not warrant further analytical decomposition. Surveys of participation allocate individuals to different ‘participation boxes’ by means of a binary logic, leaving a void of what is actually happening inside the boxes. To conclude, we reflect upon the fundamental dilemmas the black box of participation raises for theory and research, and offer conceptual and methodological keys to unlock the participation box.

  • 3.
    Lundberg, Erik
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Does the government selection process promote or hinder pluralism?: exploring the characteristics of voluntary organizations invited to public consultations2013In: Journal of Civil Society, ISSN 1744-8689, E-ISSN 1744-8697, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 58-77Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    To what extent does the government selection process practised in public consultations promote or hinder pluralism in the policy-making process? This article addresses this question by exploring and analysing the characteristics of voluntary organizations invited to public consultations. Evidence is drawn from the formerly corporatist Scandinavian country of Sweden and the policy-making process referred to as the ‘remiss procedure’. The article shows that the government selection process encourages a multitude of organizations to participate. Consistent with recent studies on Scandinavian corporatism, this study provides weak support of corporatist practices in the Swedish policy process. However, and without challenging the seemingly pluralistic nature of the remiss procedure, voluntary organizations with ‘insider status’ in the policy process are more frequently invited to formal decision-making arenas such as the remiss procedure. It is argued that the policy network literature and the theory of political opportunity structures may further the understanding of the government selection process practised in public consultations.

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