The disempowerment of empowerment: How stakeholding clogs up rural decision-making
Curry, N. (2009) The disempowerment of empowerment: How stakeholding clogs up rural decision-making. Space and Polity, 13 (3). pp. 213-232. ISSN 1356-2576
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13562570903454309
In the context of a growth in both participatory democracy and responsible participation, rural decision-making in England has become increasingly complex over the past 30 years, fuelled by national polices relating to regionalism, citizenship and relocalisation. A survey of ‘agents of rural governance’ (ARGs) in the county of Gloucestershire, England, charts their recent growth, reasons for formation and perceived jurisdiction as well as examining complexities of decision-making relating to partnerships, networks and finance. The survey suggests that policies designed to ‘empower’ rural people can be seen to have clogged up rural decision-making processes sufficiently to have, effectively, disempowered many of them. The paper identifies and exemplifies six different types of ‘clogging up’ that impact upon rural decision-making: crowding, knotting, clouding, meandering, subverting and impoverishing. Whilst governmental proposals have been introduced in an attempt to rationalise this decision-making complexity, particularly through the Haskins Review and the English National Rural Strategy, other policy strands have conspired to make such decision-making essentially laissez faire.
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