Rural Cohesion: Collective Efficacy and Leadership in the Territorial Governance of Inclusion

Anja Jørgensen, Mia Arp Fallov, Maria Casado-Diaz, Robert Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article is a comparative study of the contextual conditions for collective efficacy and territorial governance of social cohesion in two different rural localities, namely West Dorset in England and Lemvig in Denmark. The objective is to understand the conditions for and relations between neo-endogenous development and social cohesion in two different national contexts. Common to both cases are problems of demographic change, particularly loss of young people, depopulation, economic challenges and their peripheral location vis-à-vis the rest of the country. However, in West Dorset, community identity is fragmented compared to Lemvig, and this has consequences on how well local collective efficacy (Sampson 2012) underpins strategic local development. Differences include not only variations in welfare settings and governance structure, but also variations in settlement structure and place identity (Jørgensen et al 2016), collective efficacy, and the role of local leadership (Beer & Clower 2014), which structure the conditions for rural development. While Lemvig is characterized by close interlocking relations between local government, business and civil society, this is less the case in England where centralization of powers in tandem with a dramatic restructuring of service delivery forms (e.g. contracting out, privatisation) have had damaging effects on these types of interlocking relations. Comparing these cases through the lens of the combined concepts of collective efficacy and place based leadership contribute to the understanding of rural development as not only relations between intra- and extra local connections but also formal and informal forms of collective action and leadership.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Inclusion
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Cite this