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P37


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Rethinking Rural Development in an Urban Age 
Convenor:
Kerilyn Schewel (Duke University)
Chair:
Sina Rahmanian (Leeds University)
Stream:
Rural & agrarian spaces
Format:
Panel
Sessions:
Friday 8 July, 15:00-16:00 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

This panel invites contributions on new ways of thinking about rural development, and the opportunities and challenges entailed in realizing sustainable rural transformation. Case studies of rural development initiatives are particularly welcome.

Long Abstract

There are two dominant logics animating existing models of rural development. The first agro-industrial logic approaches rural places as sites of intensive food production for urban consumption. A second post-industrial logic sees rural places as sites for the extension of urban markets, services, and goods. Development efforts following the first logic focus on increasing the productive efficiency of farmers, whereas those following the second encourage the scaled urbanization of rural places. By focusing narrowly on increasing economic output and/or heightened consumption, both approaches tend to hasten the disintegration of traditional rural livelihoods and ways of life in ways that tend to stimulate rural out-migration.

There is, however, an emerging third way of conceptualizing rural development that does not subsume rural spaces to urban processes and priorities. To date, development initiatives that employ this third logic, which is often expressed through terms such as 'rural reconstruction' and 'rural transformation,' focus mainly on cultivating shorter food supply chains over large-scale industrialized models. Although alternative food systems are an important factor to consider, it is becoming increasingly clear that attention must also be given to other dimensions of rural transformation, including the nature of education, rural livelihood diversification, governance and decision-making, the sociocultural and spiritual dynamics of rural communities, and the participation of rural communities in development processes. This panel invites contributions on new ways of thinking about rural development, and the opportunities and challenges entailed in realizing sustainable rural transformation. Contributions may be theoretical or empirical; case studies of rural development initiatives are particularly encouraged.

Accepted papers: