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Of vines and policy vignettes: sectoral evolution and institutional thickness in the Languedoc

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We argue that the search for rural regimes in particular localities can be usefully advanced through the deployment of a sensitive and suitably nuanced conceptualization of institutional thickness. Empirical validation of this theoretical framework with reference to Languedoc viticulture offers substantial evidence of the interdependency between regime building maintenance and stability, and local institutional integrity. The theoretical framework developed here, based on the notions of consensus and concrete institutions, also provides an analytically rigorous approach for understanding the complex rescaling of the political economy of rural governance, not least by offering some indication of the scalar rationale for consensus compatibility and partnership building between elites situated at different politico-geographic scales. We contend that an understanding of this shared logic of action among local and extra-local administrative and political elites is crucial to the restructuring process unfolding in European rural regions.

Keywords: Languedoc; institutional thickness; policy elites; regime building; rural governance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK e-mails: ajones@geog.ucl.ac.uk; julian.clark@geog.ucl.ac.uk

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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