Rural community development through competitions, prizes, and campaigns: The villagers’ perspective

Helle Nørgaard, Annette Aagaard Thuesen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Withdrawal of strategies and universal welfare ideals in relation to rural community development in Denmark has given more weight to initiatives such as competitions, campaigns, and prizes aimed at villages and awarded to villagers by public authorities, philanthropic foundations, and interest groups. For rural communities and villagers to obtain funding or win prizes, demonstration of villagers’ skills is required, for example, using private funds and volunteer work. Also required are positive outcomes, such as upgrading physical environments and increases in the number of inhabitants. This article analyses whether the criteria and qualifications required to secure funding or win prizes match theoretical understandings and recommendations for rural community development. Based on interviews with villagers and field observations from a prize ceremony, the article addresses how the competitive aspect affects the people involved in rural community development. It thereby provides a novel contribution by giving voice to the villagers on the opportunities and constraints related to competitions, campaigns, and prizes. The article concludes by discussing these initiatives as a new type of steering or metagovernance for rural community development in Denmark.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28. Mar 2020


  • Rural community development
  • Competitions
  • Villagers perspective
  • Metagovernance


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