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Stakeholder participation groups within the context of sustainability

By Bronia Hall


Rights of access to the countryside for leisure have been the subject of ongoing disputes in England throughout the twentieth century. The Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW 2000) was intended to resolve the disputes, as it was broad ranging in its attempt to pacify a variety of interested groups. The legislation included in its objectives, the formation of Local Access Forums (LAFs) that would advise the access authorities (Highways authorities or National Park authorities) on implementation at local level. The structure of forum membership was intended to be ‘balanced’ and draw upon both landowners and users for members; although this research indicates that these groups are not homogeneous.\ud \ud Participation in decision-making by affected stakeholders is one of the notions addressed by principles of sustainability. However within the growing body of research into participatory exercises, there is concern that power is not equally distributed between participants. This research aimed to arrive at a deeper understanding of the effects of power upon and within the stakeholder participatory process, from the perspective of participants. This was achieved through inductive research into four LAFs which included observing public meetings and conducting semi structured interviews with participants over a period of two years. The longitudinal study of the LAFs indicated that a complex series of power relationships exist throughout the stakeholder participation process. However, the research brought about the development of a framework of ‘depotentia’ based upon the adaptation of Lukes’ (1974; 2005) views of power. This framework made it possible to consider a range of sources of power within a single study, as the subject has been considered both difficult to understand and difficult to investigate empirically

Topics: N840 International Tourism, N800 Tourism, Transport and Travel, N830 UK Tourism
Year: 2010
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  1. (1998). Qualitative Methods and Analysis in Organizational Research: A Practical Guide, Sage Publications Ltd, London Riessman, C.K.
  2. (1962). Two Faces of Power’ doi

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