What makes peripheral places matter? Applying the concept of political capital within a multiple capital framework

Jens Fyhn Lykke Sørensen*, Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Present research focusses on how urbanization has led to ‘territorial inequality’ that marginalizes ‘places that don’t matter’, understood as places neglected by politicians. In this strand of literature, rural areas are consequently singled out as belonging to the unfortunate group of ‘left behind places’ and ‘places that don’t matter’. However, to what extent can this be supported empirically? Based on a Danish national survey we conducted 2011/2012, and applying the concept of political capital within a multiple capital framework, we attempt to answer three questions: Do rural areas per se have little political power and influence? What makes some rural areas have more political capital than others? Does local political capital influence the local development in rural areas? We measure political capital by asking respondents in 476 rural parishes to assess how much influence local citizens exert on political decisions that concern their own, local area. The results show a significant variation in political capital across the sample. Further, regression analyses show that the local stocks of five forms of capital (physical, economic, human, social, symbolic) are positively related to the level of local political capital. Finally, regression analyses show that the initial level of political capital in 2012 has a positive and long-term effect on rural population growth throughout the period 2012-2023, while controlling for various exogenous factors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103136
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume103
Number of pages10
ISSN0743-0167
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Political capital
  • Left behind places
  • Places that don't matter
  • Rural development
  • Multiple capital framework
  • Survey
  • Denmark

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