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Title: The re-design of rural governance : new institutions for old?
Author: Elton, Christopher John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 7114
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2011
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For 40 years after the war, government in the UK supported, subsidised and promoted the expansion of agricultural production, to the exclusion of almost all other rural issues. Similar expansion of food production was encouraged across Western Europe. This 'productivist' era came to an end during the 1980s provoking a reassessment of the role of agriculture and of rural areas. Rural geographers have identified a post-productivist transition but have sought to explain the causes of change through the framework of regulation theory. The study rejects this approach as focusing its explanation on changes in accumulation imperatives within some agent-less process. It adopts a constructivist/discursive institutionalist framework which endogenizes agency and seeks to explain institutional change through exploring the role of ideas in responding to crises and critical junctures. The study proceeds through the construction of structured policy narratives over the period from the war to the present. The study contrasts the development of productivist regimes in the UK and the European Community and reveals significant differences in the policy institutions which have strongly influenced UK relations with the Community and the integration of UK agriculture within the Common Agricultural Policy. It is argued that responses to the crisis created by the end of the productivist regime reflected the contrast in rural policy institutions. The study identifies a paradigm shift in the Common Agricultural Policy enabling reform to be constructed within the context of the normative values which shaped its original design. The Thatcher government by contrast introduced a neo-liberal rural policy. Recently, New Labour has introduced a re-design of rural governance. It is argued that the Treasury was influential in its role as meta-governor in advocating alternative cognitive assumptions which denied the distinctiveness of rural economic and social needs. The outcome has been the disintegration of rural policy in England.
Supervisor: Wells, Peter ; Gore, Tony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available