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Title: Power and exclusion in rural community development : the case of LEADER II in Wales
Author: Ellis, A.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2001
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In Britain (and beyond), participation within community development is currently being heralded as the solution to rural problems. The EU's LEADER programme embodies this trend. Participation is seen as a good in and of itself, almost irrespective of traditional indicators such as job creation. The view of participation adhered to within rural policy discourses assume homogeneous communities, with each of which all members participate equally, share common goals for development and, subsequently, all members benefit equally. Further, within such discourses, the role of development agencies in shaping such processes remains unproblematised. However, this thesis argues, through in-depth qualitative research within selected LEADER groups in Wales, that it is becoming increasingly apparent that all enrolment efforts are achieving only limited and selective participation. People participate in these initiatives for different reasons and to different degrees and, indeed, their participatory practices and experiences are influenced greatly by their personal characteristics, circumstances and other community activities. Beyond the contextual characteristics of the individual and the wider community, with the power relations that saturate both, participation is also greatly shaped by the development agencies themselves (in this case LEADER groups). Indeed, the way in which a community is defined, and to some extent (re)created, is dependent upon the guidelines established by the LEADER group, as is the community's subsequent development path. What emerges through this thesis is a picture of a participatory system that is inherently political, operating within heterogeneous communities within which the (unequal) power relations of the whole of society are embedded. As such, the benefits derived from enrolling participants in these grassroots initiatives are limited to further the empowerment of those already in a dominant social position, both locally and regionally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available