Task 3

Content Analysis of Documents regarding Rural Development Policies and Strategies and Key-actors Interviewing to Assess Representations of the Rural

Starting date: August 2012

Duration: 8 months


The third task of the project is devoted to the analysis of the rural development policies and strategies implemented in Portugal since 1986, using both content analysis and semi-structured interviews directed at key-actors in the political rural development scene.

Hence one of the main aims of this task is to assess the measures implemented as well as the representations, symbols and data used and conveyed in the policies regarding the rural. As mentioned in the description of the second task, the option in analysing the last 25 years is closely related to the adhesion to EEC in 1986 and to the consequent implementation of the principles and regulations of the PAC and its impacts on rural territories. In parallel it can be affirmed that it was only after 1992, following the implementation of the agro-environmental measures in Portugal and the more recent (after 1997) European policy orientations in direction towards a more territorial than sectorial approach that a rural development policy emerged in the country.

The analysis of the rural development policies and strategies implemented in Portugal since 1986 will be supported by literature review on previous policy actions and measures towards the rural. In parallel the European documents sustaining the Portuguese rural policy orientations will also be analysed in order to contextualize the national official performance and discourse.

Additionally, semi-structured interviews will be applied to key-actors regarding the Portuguese rural development policies since 1986. Particularly, interviews will be applied to former Ministers and Secretaries of State of Agriculture and Rural Development to reconstruct the history of rural development in Portugal and the main orientations and motivations which have guided them. The interviews also aim to assess the main representations and images associated with rural and rurality in different time periods and under different governments and political ideologies. The data obtained from the interviews will be also subjected to content analysis and compared with the data obtained from the content analysis of documents.

The previous procedures, together with the important literature on transformations of Portuguese society and economy during the last two and a half decades, will permit the understanding of the presuppositions underlying those same policies and the dominant representations, strategies and instruments regarding rural areas’ development. Both the 2nd and 3rd tasks will be developed during the same time period, in an interactive manner. A working document will be produced at the end of the task that encompasses the results achieved from both the content analysis of documents and interviews.Together with the working documents from the two previous tasks, this report will be of fundamental relevance for developing the 4th  and 5th tasks, particularly for the questionnaire and interview design and data analysis. As in the previous task, the results produced in this 3rd task, will be extremely relevant to perform the compared analysis of the empirical evidence obtained and global integration of results, to be held in the 6th task, together with the cartographical representation of the Portuguese symbolic geographies of the rural.