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Research article2006Peer reviewed

Policies in the polder: How institutions mediate between norms and practices of rural governance

Boonstra, WJ


Matching rural policy and practice has become increasingly difficult. Despite a shift from government to governance, a void is often perceived to exist between policy and practice. This article discusses two hypotheses on the emergence of such a void. The first argues that the void is a result of a process of value differentiation. The second explains the void as a result of a process of depoliticisation. This article examines whether these hypotheses hold true for Dutch rural policy. The analysis shows that though both hypotheses are true for a limited extent, neither succeeds in explaining the changes in Dutch (rural) policy on its own. Instead, it is argued that both are needed for a comprehensive analysis


rural governance; institutions; norms; practices

Published in

Sociologia Ruralis
2006, Volume: 46, number: 4, pages: 299-317

      SLU Authors

    • Boonstra, Wiebren

      • Department of Rural Development and Agroecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Economics and Business
    Social Sciences

    Publication identifier


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