Rural issues have gained national prominence in Britain in recent years. The future of hunting, the Foot and Mouth outbreak, farm income and agricultural reform and housing development have all claimed political and media attention, promoted by a vocal rural lobby and headline-grabbing protests and demonstrations. Combining detailed empirical research and case studies with theoretically informed critical analysis, this book provides an overview of the contemporary politics of the British countryside. It explores how and why rural issues have suddenly achieved such political prominence, by examining the changing politics and governance of rural Britain from the local to the national scale over the past century. It investigates the social, economic and institutional restructuring of rural communities and argues that we are witnessing not so much a rural politics, but a 'politics of the rural' in which the definition and representation of rurality itself has become the key focus of conflict.
’This book is a very useful addition to Ashgate’s series on Perspectives on Rural Policy and Planning�…th[e] book is notable for the breadth of issues drawn together and the clarity with which it explores a range of important themes…Although it introduces a range of important theoretical considerations, it does so with a light touch rendering the book highly readable…should prove valuable to anyone with a professional or lay interest in rural issues…highly recommended.’ Local Government Studies ’Woods has supplied a useful addition to the literature…this is a good book and would make a valuable addition to any library. It will have a permanent place in mine.’ Political Studies Review ’…a valuable addition to Ashgate’s series on Perspectives on Rural Policy and Planning�. Anyone wishing to understand the way in which some of the apparent certainties of British rural life have changed beyond recognition in the last two decades in a maelstrom of political debate and high national public interest can do no better than to start by reading this book.’ Geographical Research
Contents: The strange awakening of rural Britain; The changing balance of local power in the countryside; Contemporary rural elites; National politics and rural representation; The Countryside Alliance and rural protest; Agricultural politics; Developing the countryside: discourses and dissent; Bibliography; Index.