The dark side of community

Clientelism, corruption and legitimacy in rural planning

Authored by: Linda Fox-Rogers

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:


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The term ‘community’ is synonymous with the very essence of planning. However, making planning decisions in line with perceived local or community interests can often revolve around informal processes, clientelist politics and the domination of farming, local capital and landowning interests. This chapter explores these themes by questioning the uneven power dynamics that exist within rural communities that give rise to opaque planning practices within the shadows of the planning system’s formal structures. In doing so, lessons from the Republic of Ireland are drawn upon where issues of corruption and clientelism were found to be widely known and tolerated. The chapter critically examines how the uneven distribution of power within rural communities can play out in a myriad of ways during the planning process to produce substantive social, economic and environmental outcomes that not only negate sound planning practice, but undermine the democratic nature of planning itself.

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