Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE
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What is the role of the state in promoting sustainable rural communities? Only a few years ago, any discussion of this question would have alluded to the concept of Integrated Rural Development. Changing economic functions and a diversity of rural experiences across Europe have been a catalyst for re-thinking and re-theorising rural development at both European and national political levels. Many commentators, including the OECD, have argued that for policies to meet diverse needs and circumstances there has to be a mobilisation of local actors, supported by partnership structures and arrangements. Today the concept of governance is internationally used to address such questions, reflecting a recognition of the changing role of the state (at all levels) and the greater propensity for public, private and voluntary sectors to interact at multiple scales in diffused power contexts. This paper asks whether the concept of Integrated Rural Development still has any meaning in the context of the new rural governance, and begins to link this to re-theorisations of concepts of spatial planning, place-shaping, capacity-building and neo-endogenous development, and offers illustrations from the north of Scotland. The paper concludes by suggesting that initiatives such as the EU’s LEADER programme might be recast explicitly as a trans-national experiment in doing ‘disintegrated rural development’, addressing the challenges of neo-endogenous rural development, multi-scalar governance, an enabling, generative state, and the transformation of mainstream policies.
Author(s): Shucksmith M
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Sociologia Ruralis
ISSN (print): 0038-0199
ISSN (electronic): 1467-9523
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