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Autonomy and LEADER: a comparative study of three local action groups

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Katalin Kovacs, Dr Elizabeth BrooksORCiD, Emeritus Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In this chapter we consider three case studies based on rural LEADER local action groups in relation to the question of autonomy. Based in three very different nations, Hungary, England and Romania (Kovacs and Nemes, 2019; Brooks et al., 2019; Zamfir, 2019), the case studies derive from a total of 33 carried out for the RELOCAL project, where the case study approach was a key method of enquiry. The question of autonomy in these case studies is explored in four main sections: the first presents a brief history of the LEADER programme since its inception in 1991; in the second section the concepts of Spatial Justice and Autonomy are explored in the context of the LEADER approach; the third section outlines the broader institutional and policy context for LEADER in each country, followed by consideration of each LEADER action's autonomy broken down into subtopics of Participation, Powers of Initiation and Powers of Immunity. The fourth and final section brings together the theoretical framework and empirical evidence to clarify what degree of autonomy might be expected of a LEADER action, its impacts on spatial justice and the flaws in the programme design that make it vulnerable to cooption by more powerful players at local and national levels.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kovacs K, Brooks E, Zamfir GJ, Shucksmith M, Nemes G

Editor(s): Fritsch, M; Kahila, P; Nemeth, S; Scott, JW;

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Spatial Justice and Cohesion: The Role of Place-Based Action in Community Development

Year: 2023

Pages: 247-269

Print publication date: 01/09/2023

Online publication date: 31/08/2023

Acceptance date: 31/03/2023

Series Title: Regions and Cities

Publisher: Routledge

Place Published: London and New York


DOI: 10.4324/9781003229681-18

Notes: 9781003229681 ebook ISBN.

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781032135236