Comparing rural livelihood transitions in the Catalan and Sardinian regions of Europe and the Appalachian region of the United States
Ann Kingsolver (University of Kentucky)
Ismael Vaccaro (McGill University)
Domenica Farinella (University of Cagliari)
Paper short abstract:
A comparison based on long-term ethnography of rural economic transitions in Sardinia, Italy, the Catalan/Pyrenees region of Spain, and Appalachian USA describes collective strategies, including agricultural and heritage tourism, to mediate precarity.
Paper long abstract:
The collaborators are engaged in comparative research on economic transition discussions in rural regions in Spain, Italy, and the U.S. The very different roles of the state, and the effects of those differences, are among the factors compared in this discussion of regional rural livelihood transitions from waning dominant industries in three contexts. The Catalan/Pyrenees region of Spain, Sardinia in Italy, and the Appalachian region of the U.S. (particularly Appalachian Kentucky) will be introduced briefly through the lens of fifty years of modernist development policies and neoliberal restructuring leaving a postindustrial landscape in which residents of each region have been engaged recently in transition strategies for sustainable livelihoods. In some of the cases being presented, regional development initiatives have been quite strong and supported by the state; in others, rural residents have been doing this work largely without the engagement of the state. Examples of attempts to connect communities through regional strategies to support livelihoods and identities will be compared between the three contexts, and the potential for sharing strategies across rural regions in different national contexts will be discussed. Economic precarity of individual rural households is mediated by collective economic development strategies, particularly through agricultural and heritage tourism, with varying success across these three regions.