The rural areas of Britain and the developed world are currently undergoing massive changes. Over-production of food is forcing governments to reconsider agricultural subsidies; after years of population decline rural areas are now showing a remarkable population turnaround; there has been a tremendous increase in demand for recreational facilities in rural areas; and there is continuing and increased environmental concern. Rural Politics focusses on the key issues affecting rural areas today and examines them in the light of the current agricultural crisis. Issues such as water pollution, forestry, the greening of agricultural policy, as well as mainstream agricultural policy, are of increasing importance in the development of the countryside. Examining the history of agricultural policies and environmental concerns, the book looks in particular at the political parameters to these issues and how concern for the countryside is essentially part of a wider set of political processes.
The author discusses rural problems in the context of the political history of the modern urban-industrial state, and by employing a critical political science approach shows how the content and impact of policy cannot be understood solely by studying legislative provision. Rural Politics is an important study of the evolution and content of policies affecting the countryside, both in terms of the major land uses, and economic and social development.
Michael Winter is Professor of Rural Economy and Society in the Countryside and Community Research Unit at Cheltenham and Gloucester College. Preview books include The Voluntary Principle in Conservation (with Philip Lowe and Graham Cox) and Church and Religion in Rural England (with Douglas Davies and Charles Watkins). He has conducted many research contracts for government agencies concerned with the British countryside.