Perspectives, Measurement and Empirical Investigation
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Robert Stimson, Roger R. Stough and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 4: Endogenous Rural Development from a Sociological Perspective
Frank Vanclay DEFINING ERD SOCIOLOGICALLY For many sociologists and some social geographers1 endogenous regional development is synonymously ‘endogenous rural development’ (both abbreviated ‘ERD’). It is a multidimensional concept, ‘a multi-level, multi-actor and multi-faceted process’ (Van der Ploeg et al., 2000, p. 391). Much more than a statement about the origin of development initiatives, in the sociological perspective ERD has layers of meaning. Above all, ERD is a new paradigm, worldview and philosophy about appropriate development, rural renewal and a multifunctional, post-productivist countryside (Slee, 1994; Van Broekhuizen et al., 1997; Ray, 1997; Van der Ploeg et al., 2000; Marsden, 2003; OECD, 2006). At a very basic level, if exogenous development is development that is initiated outside a local region (i.e., externally) then endogenous development is the opposite. In other words, ERD is development that is initiated and controlled by the local community. However, from a sociological perspective, ERD implies much more than this. Whereas exogenous development is seen as modernist, Fordist and top-down, ERD is seen as bottom-up and a reaction to modernization, or as resistance to it (Bassand et al., 1986). To some extent, post-modernism and post-Fordism are characteristics of ERD in that it accommodates niche-marketing of value-added product and flexible specialization, while at the same time valorizing local culture, tradition, artisanal production and regional typical food. In general, ERD refers to the utilization and celebration of local and place-based dimensions of a region as the basis of its economic activity and livelihood. The emphasis in most sociological approaches to...