Futures analysis, public policy and rural studies

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  2. Professor Neil Ward
  3. Dr Chris Ray
Author(s)Ward N, Ray C
Publication type Report
Series TitleWorking Paper Series
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Futures analysis through scenario building has become a common tool in framing debates around the strategic planning of rural policy and rural development in Europe and elsewhere. This paper examines the take up of such techniques in rural policy-making in Britain. It begins by developing a sociology of scenario-building by government. In Britain, this concerns not only the generalities of contemporary political culture but also the specificity of New Labour politics (and, by implication, the influence on central government of discourses of rurality). It briefly reviews recently commissioned rural futures studies, with particular emphasis on the Strategic Futures exercise, prepared for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Tomorrow Project’s State of the Countryside 2020 prepared for the Countryside Agency – the statutory agency responsible for advising the Government on rural affairs. The paper then concludes by considering the dilemmas around knowledge production in rural scenario-building.
InstitutionNewcastle University
Place Publishedunpublished
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