Addressing fragmentation and social exclusion through community involvement in rural regeneration partnerships: evidence from the Northern Ireland experience

Arthur Williamson, Rona Beattie, Stephen Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article considers the role of community and voluntary organisations in promoting rural social inclusion against a backdrop of social exclusion and the fragmentation of community life into 'territories' arising from sectarian politics. It reviews the evolution of the European Union's (EU's) policy to support local community development work and examines aspects of three local partnerships, two of which were initiated and funded by the EU and had strong involvement by voluntary and community sector representatives. The third is a locally based community body that has been remarkably successful in making links across the political and sectarian divide and in obtaining development funding from the EU. The article concludes by considering the contribution that local partnerships may make in promoting better coordinated and integrated local policy action against poverty and social exclusion and their effectiveness in promoting proto-democratic patterns of behaviour and developing a collaborative culture that will enable people with diverse and sometimes hostile interests to mediate and negotiate shared perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy and Politics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004

Keywords

  • social exclusion
  • Northern Ireland
  • rural regeneration

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