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Conference paper2007

Local Practices of Rural Policy: : Interrelationships between Social Effects of the Rural Development Programme and Economic and Environmental Effects

Waldenström Cecilia, Gunnarsdotter Yvonne, larsson lars, Stenbacka Susanne, Arora Jonsson Seema


Local Practices of Rural Policy – Interrelationships between the Social Effects of the Rural Development Programme and Economic and Environmental Effects The importance of contextual understanding of social practices for economic development and environmental sustainability is increasingly recognised. At the same time, there is insufficient knowledge about the relationships between the social aspects of sustainability and the economic and environmental aspects. The social aspects of EU’s coming Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP) and how these may be related to economic and environmental aspects are therefore focal in this paper, which presents the outline of a research programme for a longitudinal and research-based evaluation of the RDP. The research programme has been developed by a group of seven Swedish researchers with backgrounds in rural development, human geography, economy, anthropology and learning theory. We are currently applying for funding for the programme. By presenting it at the ESRS conference we hope both to get feed back on the approach, and contribute to the establishment of a network for programmes in which similar issues are explored. Our approach builds on comparative studies following the implementation of the RDP in four municipalities in different parts of Sweden during the entire programme period. Concurrent in-depth studies in one sub-municipal locality in each municipality are crucial parts of the design. This allows for quantitative as well as qualitative studies. The overarching research questions concern the RDP’s encounter with local practices:  In what ways are local processes and local practices shaped by the political interventions, and vice versa; how are these interventions re-shaped by local practices?  How does the implementation of the RDP at the local level affect the local preconditions for long term rural development?  Can policy indicators and evaluations be developed so that they better capture the effects of the policy interventions on local practices and thereby better contribute to promote rural development? More concrete research questions to explore the local contexts and practices are developed in the paper. Local business development and local economy, and the management of natural

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XXII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress