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LEADER and Spatial Justice

Mark Shucksmith | Elizabeth Brooks | Ali Madanipour

Recent papers have argued that spatial justice should be pursued through a place- based approach, which enables local people to assert their own capacity to act and to pursue their own positive visions: an approach fundamental to LEADER. This paper considers the extent to which LEADER constitutes local action addressing spatial justice through a case study in England. Analysis of this case leads to questions about the extent to which apparent localism is constrained by ‘government at a distance’ and how this can affect the ability of LAGs to pursue spatial justice. It is suggested that LEADER displays a tension between network and hierarchy modes of governance, increasingly under
control of hierarchy in this instance despite its origins as networked CLLD. The paper concludes that LEADER has potential to contribute to spatial justice – both distributive and procedural – but that this may be frustrated by the imposition of different priorities and controls at local or from higher levels. Further case studies will be required to investigate how widely this potential is realised or frustrated across Europe’s varying national and local political contexts.
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