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Author(s): Anette Forsberg

Journal: Utbildning & Demokrati : Tidsskrift för Didaktik och Utbildningspolitik
ISSN 1102-6472

Volume: 18;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 49;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: rural community (local) development | struggle for community survival | bureaucracy | power structures | power techniques | life politics | holistic perspective | relation-based approach to community

ABSTRACT
Community vs. bureaucracy. The struggle for local perspectives andvalues. In this article, collective action for the community is interpreted as a possibility for rural inhabitants to reclaim their community as important and valuable. Research has shown that community development in rural Sweden is about such different matters as services, employment, infrastructure, upholding local identity and developing new forms of local democracy. Politically, local development activities are often understood in terms of growth, development and economics. An economic approach is also stressed in the EU programmes that support local development groups and projects. Here, the author argues that an economic, bureaucratic understanding tends to make invisible a holistic, relation-based approach to community that is expressed in the struggle for community. Giddens’ (1991) theory of life politics is used to show how community development is about questions that have been removed from the political agenda, questions concerning the value of self and others and a holistic perspective of life. To understand what the concept of community struggle expresses, the author argues, it needs to be acknowledged as actions that have the potential to challenge established bureaucratic and political definitions, something which, in practice, proves to be difficult.
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