1st Edition

Evaluating the European Approach to Rural Development
Grass-roots Experiences of the LEADER Programme

ISBN 9781138547285
Published February 12, 2018 by Routledge
258 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

The LEADER programme, initiated in 1991, aims to improve the development potential of rural areas in the European Union by drawing on local initiatives and skills. Highlighting this unique policy approach, this book presents up-to-date research results on LEADER’s achievements and restrictions at the local level in a comparative way in order to discuss its merits and problems. What makes LEADER important is not only that it has a major role in rural development efforts, but also that it has a pioneering role in the new type of governance, participatory democracy. Asking whether LEADER strengthens local democracy or not, this book also looks at how it affects the power balance among stakeholders, between national and local actors and between genders. It questions whether LEADER projects are genuinely grass-root level activities, reflecting local needs and ideals; and if the approach brings local know-how back onto the development agenda in innovations and development activities. Finally, the authors examine the success of dissemination of knowledge within the LEADER programme to other regions.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: LEADER as an experiment in grass-roots democracy, Leo Granberg, Kjell Andersson and Imre Kovach; LEADER and local democracy: a comparison between Finland and the United Kingdom, Johan Munck af Rosenschold and Johanna Loyhko; A perspective of LEADER method in Spain based on the analysis of local action groups, Javier Esparcia, Jaime Escribano and Almudena Buciega; The LEADER program in Hungary - bottom-up development with top-down control?, Bernadett Csurgo and Imre Kovach; The democratic capabilities of and rhetoric on LEADER LAGs in the EU - the Danish case, Annette Aagaard Thuesen; A political perspective on LEADER in Finland - democracy and the problem of 'troublemakers', Marko Nousiainen; LEADER and possibilities of local development in the Russian countryside, Leo Granberg, Jouko Nikula and Inna Kopoteva; Questioning the gender distribution in Danish LEADER LAGs, Annette Aagaard Thuesen and Petra Derkzen; LEADER LAGs: neocorporatist local regimes or examples of economic democracy?, Giorgio Osti; Bottom-up initiatives and competing interests in Transylvania, Denes Kiss and EnikA' Veress; Can renewable energy contribute to poverty reduction? A case study on Romafa, a Hungarian LEADER, Ildiko Asztalos Morell; Developing or creating instability? Development management, scale and representativeness in Tunisia, Aude-Annabelle Canesse; Conclusion: the LEADER colours on the democracy palette, Leo Granberg, Kjell Andersson and Imre Kovach; Index.

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Leo Granberg is Professor of Rural Studies in Social Sciences, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland. Kjell Andersson is Professor at Åbo Akademi University, Finland and Imre Kovách is Scientific Advisor, Institute for Sociology, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary, and Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Policy at Debrecen University, Hungary.


’One of the most important and systematic investments in rural development, the LEADER programme in the EU has many lessons for the entire world. By looking at single country applications of the programme, the premise, promise and perils of this grass-roots approach to rural development are cogently addressed. The resilience and sustainability of the approach is brilliantly examined and assessed through combining comparative case studies and focusing on the key issue of social and political processes, rather than material outputs.’ Cornelia Butler Flora, Kansas State University, USA ’LEADER programmes, born to support bottom-up development in marginal areas, have promoted a new way of thinking about agriculture and rural development policies. Now that the transition to a sustainable agriculture has become a policy priority, the experience gained with LEADER programmes represents a precious reservoir of ideas and tools for change. The book, giving a broad overview and analysis of the application of the programme in countries relatively unknown in English language literature, is an excellent outcome of a timely, well documented and rigorous work.’ Gianluca Brunori, University of Pisa, Italy