This volume represents the result of almost two decades of trans-Atlantic collaborative development of a policy research paradigm, the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies program. Over this period dozens of scientists from different disciplines but with a common interest in rural issues and policy have collaboratively studied the policies in North America, Europe, and other parts of the world.
A core element of the book is the idea and practice of comparative research and analysis - what can be learned from comparisons, how and why policies vary in different contexts, and what lessons might or might not be "transferable" across borders. It provides skills for the use of comparative methods as important tools to analyze the functioning of strategies and specific policy interventions in different contexts and a holistic approach for the management of resources in rural regions. It promotes innovation as a tool to valorize endogenous resources and empower local communities and offers case studies of rural policy in specific contexts. The book largely adopts a territorial approach to rural policy. This means the book is more interested in rural regions, their people and economies, and in the policies that affect them, than in rural sectors, and sectoral policies per se.
The audience of the book is by definition international and includes students attending courses in agricultural and rural policy, rural and regional studies, and natural resource management; lecturers seeking course material and case studies to present to their students in any of the courses listed above; professionals working in the field of rural policy; policy-makers and civil servants at different levels seeking tools to better understand rural policy both at the local and global scale and to better recognize and comprehend how to transfer best practices.