The energy transition is one of the biggest and most urgent challenges the Netherlands is facing. In order to switch to renewable energy sources, a combination of public and private actors is involved to tackle the diversity of challenges related to this process. Besides technological alterations of energy infrastructures, transitions form a social challenge that lay bare, and possibly even strengthen, the present social inequalities inherent to urban environments. This thesis focusses on a local project revolving around taalmilieucoaches, that are migrant women who voluntarily participate in a sustainability intervention that is part of the energy transition in the neighbourhood Bospolder-Tussendijken. The goal of this research is to explore how governance actors cooperate in social challenges in the Dutch energy transition, and to find out how citizens with a migration background position themselves as civil society actors. The results indicate that the complexity of the energy transition creates a governance process in which private market actors and the decentralized government complicate participatory parternships, due to which civil society is not gaining the autonomy it is seeking. Simultaneously, the taalmilieucoaches gain autonomy due to their new position in the public sphere, which allows them to mediate between their ethnic community and the energy transition. This research therefore shows that their experience of ecological citizenship leads to a sense of responsibility and advocacy, that allows them to overcome the governmentality. Instead, the taalmilieucoaches strengthen the position of civil society vis-à-vis in the energy transition.

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Wenda Doff, Gijs Custers
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Drijfhout, Y. (2021, June 20). Bringing the Migrant Community to the Governance Table - A qualitative case-study on governance of the taalmilieucoach-project in Bospolder-Tussendijken. Sociology. Retrieved from