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Municipality Amsterdam and NIAS Select Three Scholars to Study Citizenship in Amsterdam

Verloo, Nanke

Urban Citizen Fellow

(Re)politicizing Participation. Making Amsterdam’s democracy more inclusive through protest and dissent

Democratization is high on Amsterdam’s political agenda. Various democratization projects were implemented that engage citizens in communal activities. Although highly valuable, the post-political nature of these projects shifts the attention away from more politically sensitive issues, favoring one type of participatory activity and citizenship over others. Protest and dissent seem to have no place in the democratization agenda. Post-political theory warns for a democratic deficit that gives rise to populism when policy making avoids ‘the political’. Although public officials have the intention to listen to citizens, their repertoire is restricted to highly regulated public meetings that provide limited space for dissent. When citizens protest outside predefined ‘governance’ arrangements, their acts are rarely understood as ‘participation’. This project seeks to (re)politicize participation. In close collaboration with public officials, I will ethnographically study how protest and dissent can be treated as necessary elements of an inclusive democratization agenda for Amsterdam.