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Title: Regionalisation and rural development in England
Author: Hewitt, Sally
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 117X
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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This is a study of the discourses of regionalisation and rural development in England. The thesis examines the impact of New Labour's period of regionalisation from 1997 to 2008 on the policy and practice of rural development. A Foucauldian inspired discourse analysis reveals the patterns of power relations between national, regional and local actors, networks and governance structures, contributing to our understanding of political change. Regionalisation has resulted in changes both to rural policy and the practices of governing. Previous studies have emphasised the contrast between the rhetoric of devolution and the extent to which the state retains control by extending its power to the devolved scale. A framework of four discourses combines these contrasting notions to form four discourses of the region – 'participatory development', 'administrative regionalism', 'participatory regionalism' and 'regional autonomy'. Non-government actors express their choices, captured in three discourses of response – 'buying into regionalism', 'reluctant regionalism' and 'local autonomy' – highlighting the complexity of regional/local power relations. The discourses illustrate regional difference and shed light on how and why divergence has taken place. The research was conducted through documentary analysis, and interviews in two case study regions of the North West and East of England. The discourses are drawn from the language of rural actors in each region. Employment as a rural development practitioner gave the researcher 'insider' knowledge and understanding, whilst the discipline of an academic and reflexive approach aided an 'outsider' view, with both identities contributing to the research. The research found some differences between English regions and between regional government agencies, as a consequence of devolution. Nevertheless, the discursive practices centre on realising state plans. Furthermore, regionalisation restricts the choices available to the local level, compromising capacity building and participation in rural development, long recognised by researchers as critical aspects of successful rural development. Local plans were formulated on the basis of a generic, homogenous territory, marking a fundamental change from previous territorial rural programmes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Lincolnshire County Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available