About me

  • How do media campaigns influence decisions on individual asylum seekers?
  • When are mediated protests able to obstruct opening of new asylum centres?
  • How do police officers act when they are being filmed by bystanders?
  • And why are citizens increasingly using social media to solve crime themselves?

As a sociologist focusing on public administration, I study modern forms of social pressure related to two grand societal challenges: (1) migration and integration and (2) public security. My work demonstrates how new forms of publicity created by social media in interaction with traditional news media radically reshape public governance.

I work as assistant professor at the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG/USBO). I use co-design methods, including the living lab methodology as an engaged research practice. Besides, I am program director of the master ‘Public Governance and Policy’ and I teach several courses.


Academic publications

Book chapters

Korthagen, I., Dekker, R. & Breman, B. (Forthcoming). De gemediatiseerde strijd om natuurbeleid in de Oostvaardersplassen. In: Buijs, A., Boonstra, F. & Mattijssen, T. (Eds.). Natuurbeleid betwist. Visies op legitimiteit en natuurbeleid. Zeist: KNNV Uitgeverij.

Dekker, R. & Meijer, A.J. (Forthcoming). Citizens as aides or adversaries? Police responses to digital vigilantism. In: Trottier, D. (Eds.) Vigilant Audiences: Justice Seeking through Global Digital Media. Open book publishers.

Journal articles

Dekker, R., Franco Contreras, J., & Meijer, A. (2019). The Living Lab as a Methodology for Public Administration Research: a Systematic Literature Review of its Applications in the Social Sciences. International Journal of Public Administration, early view online.

Dekker, R., Engbersen, G., Klaver, J., & Vonk, H. (2018). Smart Refugees: How Syrian Asylum Migrants Use Social Media Information in Migration Decision-Making. Social Media+ Society, 4(1), 1-11.



Organization of workshops and events

Public workshop for children ‘Design to play: a shared space for children at the asylum centre (‘Speel mee bij het AZC’)’. Weekend of Science, 6 October 2019, Utrecht, The Netherlands (30 participants).

Academic seminar ‘Innovation in city-level reception of asylum seekers and refugees: Neighbourhood connections, wellbeing and skills’. Co-chaired with Caroline Oliver and Karin Geuijen. Utrecht Refugee Launchpad Project. 28 June 2018, Utrecht, The Netherlands. (27 participants)

Conference panel ‘Local Innovation in asylum seeker and refugee reception’ Co-chaired with Caroline Oliver, Jacqueline Broadhead and Karin Geuijen. IMISCOE Conference. 2-4 July 2018, Barcelona, Spain. (20 participants).



9/2019-current: Program director of the master’s program ‘Public Governance and Policy’

Together with Prof. Dr. Thomas Schillemans, I coordinate this master’s track at the Utrecht University School of Governance. This involves development of the course program, selection and coaching of students, and coordination of the thesis trajectory and internships.

9/2016-current: Course coordinator, Lecturer and tutor Public Administration and Organization Science

I am teaching various BSc. and MSc. courses at the Utrecht University School of Governance. This includes coordinating the course ‘Governance and Policy (Bestuur en Beleid)’ and supervising master thesis projects on various topics.


In the media

Privacy Nieuws Politie (2020). Privacy en slimme camera’s: Kennis van gisteren voor toepassingen van morgen. 24 september 2020.

Sociale Vraagstukken (2018). Social media framen de crisis: Neem de boodschap serieus! 9 October 2018.

Waag Society (2018). Do worry, be happy: DIY police, DIY justice? 9 August 2018.

Medi@4Sec.eu (2018). Digital Vigilantism: Every superhero needs a sidekick. 4 July 2018.

Medi@4Sec.eu (2017). ‘Watching the Detectives: Why are citizens filming the police?’ 12 December 2017.

Stuk Rood Vlees (2017). ‘Zullen Lili en Howick hun stempel op het Kinderpardon drukken?’ 24 August 2017.




Utrecht University
Utrecht School of Governance
Office -115a
Bijlhouwerstraat 6
3511 ZC Utrecht


r.dekker1 [at] uu.nl


+31 (0) 30 253 93 95