Lithuanian local action groups: spatial initiatives or mobilized potential for rural development?

Rita Vilkė, Ligita Šarkutė


The new paradigm of innovative, sustainable and inclusive rural development calls for the search of new forms and approaches that might be applicable to explain the on-going transformations in the knowledge age. New rural policy stresses the focus on bottom-up approach, self-organization and cooperation between territorial government and local community. This highlights the need to align innovative approaches with available policy instruments to accelerate rural development. Currently rural development initiators might vitalize their innovative ideas and mobilize followers by accessing the EU support scheme using LEADER programme through local action groups (LAGs). However, the geographical distribution and activeness of Lithuanian LAGs vary from region to region in terms of activeness and absorption of EU support and there are reasons behind. This study aims to explain the role of local action groups in innovative bottom-up rural development from a new social movement theory approach. It is argued in the study that LAGs hold a potential to drive innovative rural development in a form of a new social movement, which might specifically emerge in particular field due to the idea proposed by particular local community actors and their ability to mobilize resources. Finally, this study proposes insights for scientific discussion regarding the possibility to explain the reasons of LAGs disparities in the absorption of EU support from a new social movement approach.


rural development, new social movements, innovative initiatives, „bottom- up“ approach, local action groups (LAGs).

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