Participating in the 'participation society': Differences between natives and ethnic minorities

Bickel, E.A. (2016) Participating in the 'participation society': Differences between natives and ethnic minorities.

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Abstract:The Netherlands have seen a shift from a ‘welfare state’ to a ‘participation society’ during the past years. The dominant goal of this participation society is to get citizens more involved in their neighborhood or municipality. This means that citizens are asked to take on more activities to increase the livability of their neighborhood or to assist the municipality in making important decisions. To optimize the outcomes of this participation society, it is important that as many citizens participate as possible. However, research has shown that ethnic minorities are much less likely to take part in neighborhood projects than native Dutch citizens, but it is not clear why. This is, however, highly important to know if one wants to increase their participation rate. This study therefore aimed to find out why ethnic minorities are relatively underrepresented in neighborhood projects. This study focused on whether ethnic minorities have other motives than native citizens and whether they prefer to do other activities than native citizens. The respondents were also presented with a case of a project for the maintenance of public green spaces after which their intention, attitude, and perceived inhibiting factors were measured. These five sub-questions were examined by comparing a group of Turkish respondents with a group of Dutch respondents. Both groups existed of ten respondents who were recruited with the help of snowball sampling and who all lived in Deppenbroek, Enschede. They were questioned in face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Contrary to what was found in literature, the findings in this study indicated that the Turkish respondents were more positive and more motivated to participate in neighborhood projects than the Dutch respondents. Although both groups differed in their motives to participate in neighborhood projects, they would like to do similar activities in which they want to take care of others. The intention to truly participate in a project in the future seemed to be more positive for the Turkish respondents than for the Dutch respondents. This was mainly because the Dutch respondents perceived more limitations of participation, such as a lack of time. The findings also indicated that both groups had a positive attitude towards neighborhood projects but still perceived some drawbacks; time commitment and a compulsory nature of a project would be reasons for both groups not to participate. The fact that the groups differed in their demographic composition – the Turkish respondents were on average younger and higher educated than the Dutch respondents – could offer an alternative explanation for the results that were found. The fact that younger or higher educated people might be more positive and more willing to participate in neighborhood projects than elder people could have influenced the differences that were found between both groups. Future research can examine whether the results found in this study can truly be attributed to cultural differences and that they were not influenced by differences in age or educational level.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/69688
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