The Rural : Critical Essays in Human Geography book cover
1st Edition

The Rural
Critical Essays in Human Geography

Edited By

Richard Munton

ISBN 9780754627210
Published October 28, 2008 by Routledge
562 Pages

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Book Description

The rural has long been regarded as an important site of geographical inquiry even if our understanding of it has not always been treated as conceptually different from the urban. That said, rural research has pursued a number of distinct empirical agendas ranging from the operation and impacts of agribusiness, to local resistance to global food supply chains, to differing representations of the rural. In doing so, rural geographers have critically examined the relevance and significance of ideas drawn from numerous traditions including political economy, ecological modernization and cultural theory, amending them as appropriate, in their search to understand the nature and trajectory of rural areas. Up until the 1980s, attention remained largely focused upon agriculture as the primary land-use but increasingly new forms of rural consumption - housing, recreation, nature conservation - have taken centre stage as the primacy of local agricultures has been undermined by reduced state protection and 'new' rural populations which have migrated out from the city. More recently, research has been dominated by the 'cultural turn' with particular emphases upon society-nature relations, interpretations of landscape, marginalised others, and analyses of the relations between representation and practice. In the last decade, a more holistic view of the rural, bringing together different aspects of the two previous themes, has emerged through more politically-oriented studies of rural governance concerned with the functioning of interest groups, participation, protest and the allocation and management of resources. The volume is thus structured into three sections concerned with agriculture and food, the rural, and rural governance. The great majority of the selected papers combine both empirical material - often highly informative case studies - and important conceptual arguments about change in the rural condition that can be linked to ideas being employed elsewhere in Geography and the Social Sciences more generally. These critical reflections have been drawn very largely from research conducted in advanced economies which at least provide some commonality of experience allowing the transfer of ideas between what otherwise might be seen as very differing geographical contexts.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I Agriculture and Food: The new industrial agriculture: the regional integration of speciality crop production, Margaret FitzSimmons; Towards a political economy of capitalist agriculture: a British perspective, Terry Marsden, Richard Munton, Sarah Whatmore and Jo Little; Food and fibre production under capitalism: a conceptual agenda, Richard Le Heron; Recasting the 'agrarian question' the reproduction of family farming in the Southern High Plains, Rebecca Roberts; The social construction of international food: a new research agenda, A. Arce and T.K. Marsden; Quality, nature and embeddedness: some theoretical considerations in the context of the food sector, Jonathan Murdoch, Terry Marsden and Jo Banks; Agro-food studies in the 'age of ecology': nature corporeality, bio-politics, David Goodman; Shifting plates in the agrifood landscape: the tectonics of alternative agrifood initiatives in California, Patricia Allen, Margaret FitzSimmons, Michael Goodman and Keith Warner; Making re-connections in agro-food geography: alternative systems of food provision, D. Watts, B. Ilbery and D. Maye; Post-productivism and rural land use: cul de sac or challenge for theorization?, Alexander S. Mather, Gary Hill and Maria Nijnik; Rural development: from practices and policies towards theory, Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, Henk Renting, Gianluca Brunori, Karlheinz Knickel, Joe Mannion, Terry Marsden, Kees de Roest, Eduardo Sevilla-Guzmán and Flaminia Ventura. Part II The Rural: Locality and rurality: the restructuring of rural social relations, Howard Newby; An index of rurality for England and Wales, Paul J. Cloke; Locality and social representation: space discourse and alternative definitions of the rural, K.H. Halfacree; Conceptualizing countryside change: from post-Fordism to rural structured coherence, Paul Cloke and Mark Goodwin; Neglected rural geographies: a review, Chris Philo; Rural studies: modernism, post-modernism and the 'post-rural', Jonathan Murdoch and Andy C. Pratt; Country backwater to virtual village? Rural studies and 'the cultural turn', Paul Cloke; Agricultural turns, geographical turns: retrospect and prospect, Carol Morris and Nick Evans; Making sense of counterurbanization, Clare J.A. Mitchell; Middle-class territory? Some remarks on the use of class analysis in rural studies, J. Murdoch; New energies for an old idea: reworking approaches to 'community' in contemporary rural studies, Ruth Liepins. Part III Regulation, Rural Governance and Development: Policy, planning and the state in rural localities, Paul Cloke and Jo Little; The governance of rural areas: some emerging research issues and agendas, Mark Goodwin; Deconstructing rural protest: the emergence of a new social movement, Michael Woods; Family farmers, real regulation and the experience of food regimes, Warren Moran, Greg Blunden, Martin Workman and Adrian Bradly; The state, rural environments and globalisation: 'action at a distance' via the Australian landcare program, S. Lockie; Roll-out neo-liberalism and hybrid practices of regulation in Australian agri-environmental governance, Stewart Lockie and Vaughan Higgins; 'Power in place': viticultural spatialities of globalization and community empowerment in the Languedoc, Alun Jones; Keeping matter in its place: pollution regulation and the reconfiguring of farmers and farming, N. Ward, J. Clark, P. Lowe and S. Seymour; The quest for ecological modernisation: re-spacing rural development and agri-food studies, Terry Marsden; Name Index.

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Richard Munton is Professor of Geography and Head of Department, University College London, UK.


' is handy to have a collection of useful papers in one place, in easy reach for quick reference.' Area (Journal of RGS with Institute of British Geographers)