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Comparing rural development with agricultural modernisation, there are fundamental differences. Industrial development of agriculture more and more segregates agriculture…
Comparing rural development with agricultural modernisation, there are fundamental differences. Industrial development of agriculture more and more segregates agriculture from other functions and is based on an ‘individualised transaction model’ in which the world consists of loose particles that are linked by markets (atomistic world view). Conversely rural development can be perceived as a form of re-socialisation of agriculture and is based on a ‘relational cooperation model’ in which new relations characterise business development.
This chapter is a second level type of analysis of many research findings of these common traits or features and gives a picture of the distinctiveness of rural development practices. Nine different features that characterize rural development practices are described and discussed: (1) novelty production, (2) relative autonomy, (3) synergy, (4) clashes and competing claims, (5) coalitions and new relations; the construction of rural webs, (6) common pool resources, (7) new division of labour, (8) the distinctive different impact and (9) resilience. The more these features are present and intertwined, the better the specific practice can face and withstand adverse conditions. These features and the associated practices have to be understood as part of a wider transitional process that might co-evolve with or run counter to competing transitional processes.
Rural development is, above all, constructed by actors operating at grass-root level. These actors are increasingly facilitated by specific policy programmes, but these…
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.