Grassroot Transition Research (GTR)


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Title Grassroot Transition Research (GTR)
Period 01 / 2008 - 01 / 2012
Status Completed
Research number OND1335898


The modern-day world faces many problems that have both social and spatial dimensions. Think of issues such as climate change, poverty, migration and immigration; and the conflicts over natural resources and energy sources. These are global problems that appear on a local scale in various degrees and forms. Structural changes are necessary in order to face these problems. These transitions can be partly technical in nature (e.g. reinforcement of dikes, land irrigation) and partly social (new laws and regulations, spatial planning). The question of how these transition processes work, and if and how they can be steered, is studied within the social sciences, but also within the more applied disciplines such as governance studies and political science. These disciplines have traditionally been focused on the state and other centralized powers. They looked to the state for the responsibilities, the facilities and the initiatives for directing these processes on the short term as well as the long term. The state was regarded as the authorized body to achieve certain social objectives, and to instigate or stop changes. Even now, the idea of the state as a central actor for directing transitions is very much alive. It is not surprising that many studies within the political, public administration and organisational sciences are aimed at improving the functioning of the state. These disciplines have traditionally been affiliated with the state and sometimes have close ties to it (Fischer 1990). They predominantly produce descriptive and prescriptive studies aimed at guiding the changes and objectives as set by the government. A turn is noticeable, however. In recent years there has been a growing attention to the role of actors other than the state in these problems, and the ideas on the possibilities for control by the state have become evermore realistic and thus more modest. There are various reasons for this, which for a large part entwined. The decentralisation of the authorities plays an important role here. But more fundamentally, the incongruity between well-planned initiatives `from above¿ and their actual implementations in concrete social settings have revealed, time and again, the limited power of centralized forces to regulate such processes. and the side effects of the modernistic tendency of (totalitarian) regimes to direct and control. The GTR project is in keeping with this changing role of the state and the growing awareness of its restricted power to generate and control these processes. The GTR project is aimed predominantly at the roles (the influences, the meanings) organised groups of citizens and non-organised groups play in socio-spatial changes.

Abstract (NL)

Het ontwikkelen van een systeemtheoretisch perspectief op transities die uitgaan van burgerinitiatieven gericht op verandering en op weerstand bieden tegen verandering (grassroot initiatives and resistance).

Lokaal/regionaal onderzoek naar praktijken van burgerinitiatieven en burgerverzet, verrichten van international vergelijkend onderzoek en het initiëren van wetenschappelijke polemieken die bijdragen aan theoretische reflectie.

Januari 2010: Ibn Battuta Symposium met als doel experts hun reflectie te laten geven op regionale planning in de Donau Delta.

Wetenschappelijk artikel over veranderingen in actief burgerschap in Twisk. Een vlotte rapportage voor de bewoners van Twisk. Een opiniërend artikel, door A. Kempenaar, over innovatief landgoedbeheer. Een opiniërend artikel over het vraagstuk van multiculturaliteit en erfgoed door T. Weijschedé. Manuscript van een boek 'heritage in a changing world' in samenwerking met Tisbi Universiteit, Kazan, Tatarstan. Diverse artikelen en theoretische verkenningen door M. Duineveld, R.I. van Dam en R. During.

Publicaties bij dit project zijn beschikbaar via deze Link

Related organisations

Related people

Researcher R. Beunen
Researcher Drs. R. During

Related research (upper level)


D15500 Atmospheric sciences
D18100 Exploitation and management physical environment

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