The Countryside, Planning, and Civil Society in Britain, 1926–1947
Many recent theorists of civil society have assumed that the associational, participatory, and ‘communicative’ activities associated with civil society are quintessentially urban, and dependent upon the intimate geographical concentration of city life. This chapter argues that the part played by rural affairs in the political culture of Britain during the earlier and mid-20th century belies this exclusively urban outlook. In the transition from pre-war aspirations to a post-war legislative programme, a major role in shaping the outlook of central authorities was played by a group of fast-growing organizations and pressure groups concerned with a wide range of ‘countryside’ issues, ranging from leisure access and preservation of natural beauty to economic regeneration and town and country planning.
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