Local policies addressing poverty and social exclusion in rural Spain during the recession

Authored by: Diana E. Valero

The Routledge handbook of comparative rural policy

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138594111
eBook ISBN: 9780429489075
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429489075-44

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Abstract

Local governments are usually the only governmental authority physically present in rural areas. Among other issues, they address some aspects of social welfare paying attention in particular to problems of poverty and social exclusion. In recent years, while poverty and social exclusion rates were rising during the recession, local authorities have faced a reduction of their capability of action as a result of austerity policies, local reforms, and budgetary cuts. This chapter explores the policies addressing social exclusion and poverty implemented by municipalities in rural areas of Spain during the recession. It presents results from qualitative research with rural mayors in rural areas of the Valencia region. Findings show that, despite the above-mentioned limitations, local authorities in rural areas put into play a significant range of actions addressing explicit and urgent social needs. They sought to offset the development of social exclusion processes through welfare services, private markets, and civil society engagement. The chapter suggests that rural councils still have a clear voice in deciding what to do in their villages although their actions are shaped by the availability of resources and the politics of public policies.

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