Since the early 1990s, new public and private actors, emphasizing issues such as landscape, nature, environment and food safety, have challenged EU rural development policies. This book looks at this innovative framework and, in particular, the impacts of the interactions between established interests and newcomers in local power relations. Specific attention has been given to the gendered nature of these processes. Case studies from throughout Western Europe analyze local rural power relations and present overviews of the significance of rural gender relations. The book demonstrates that traditional and new forms of social organization in rural areas create new forms of political participation. Changing forms of social capital and political participation not only influence the relation between state and civil society, but also male-female relationships. The book argues that the dynamics of these gendered power relations produce competing discourses, which can often hinder policy making and implementation.