How policy institutions filter conflict: The (de)escalation of policy conflict through closing down or opening up the space for contestation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This article argues that in situations of policy conflict, policymaking institutions that act as de facto conflict arbiters may escalate the conflict they are trying to settle. The role of institutions in policy conflicts is studied in the lengthy and highly contested policymaking process of the multibillion-euro 'Oosterweelconnection' highway in Antwerp (Belgium). The article concludes that while narrowing the scope of conflict through standardized institutional procedures initially disciplined the Oosterweel conflict, it ultimately drove further escalation, as residual topics of conflict remained and sought new institutional outlets. At the same time, more flexible institutions, while being able to finally settle the Oosterweel conflict, produced an agreement that remained institutionally unembedded and therefore more vulnerable to exploitation because it was not formally enforceable
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-74
Number of pages19
JournalBuilt Environment
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Antwerp
  • CONFLICT
  • EIA
  • Referendum
  • Oosterweel
  • policymaking
  • policy conflict

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