Rural development is, above all, constructed by actors operating at grass-root level. These actors are increasingly facilitated by specific policy programmes, but these programmes often follow the initiatives and practices already developed by the grass-root actors themselves. Policies follow, they do not trigger nor drive. This chapter is a second-level analysis of available European and national research material and focuses on the role of agricultural actors as crucial co-constitutors of RD processes. Some distinctive elements and characteristics of RD-practitioners are identified, described and discussed. Taken together these characteristics underscore that RD-actors may reflect distinctive features. It is finally argued that RD-actors will develop especially distinctive personal attributes through iterative learning by doing processes and unfolding agency. Both are thought to be key components of the resilience of RD-actors to withstand adverse conditions and to grasp new opportunities for alternative, more promising agricultural pathways.
Oostindie, H., van Broekhuizen, R., Soldaat, B. and van der Ploeg, J.D. (2015), "Towards the Characterization of Actors Engaged in Rural Development Processes in the North West of Europe", Constructing a New Framework for Rural Development (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 239-254. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1057-192220150000022009
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