Pulling the strings: an analysis of informal local power structures in three Dutch cities

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Abstract

The study of local power structures is highly relevant for a better understanding of local governance networks. Not only does it draw attention to the power dimension of local governance, it also brings to focus the individuals who play a role on and behind the scenes of governance networks. This article gives a comparative analysis of informal local power structures in three Dutch cities. Drawing on the classical reputational method of Hunter, it presents the 25 most influential persons of each city, their organisational backgrounds and influence resources. The results show that local power structures mainly consist of government executives (mayors, aldermen), entrepreneurs and directors of third sector organisations; local councillors and local civil servants are virtually absent on the lists of influential persons. Comparative analyses demonstrate that the composition of a local power structure is linked with the strategic policy objectives of the city. The article concludes with a brief summary of the findings and points to the value of local power studies for local governance research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-355
Number of pages17
JournalLocal government studies
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • METIS-301013
  • IR-88699

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