Rural regions and rural imaginaries have currently become subject to different and partly divergent political negotiations and transformations. The panel highlights how discourses, policies, and actors transform everyday lifeworlds in rural regions under conditions of complex political regimes.
Rural regions as well as rural imaginaries have currently become subject to different and partly divergent political negotiations and transformations. For example, the return of wolves has fuelled contentious negotiations of ideas of rural nature and rural everyday lifeworlds in different European countries. Right-wing and conservative politics in Germany or Austria have built their ideas of "Heimat" (affective dimension of "homeland") fundamentally on nostalgic ideas of the rural. At the same time, rural regions and their inhabitants are subjected to EU structural and development policies such as LEADER, which aim to readjust rural economies implementing new forms of political and cultural participation. The panel aspires to track these different political processes. By which material and discursive practices are rural imaginations and materialities transformed in the process of political negotiation? How should we link local everyday negotiations of the rural to transregional political dynamics? How do these political negotiations reformulate the dichotomy between the "rural" and the "urban"? How do right-wing politics reshape the ideas and imaginations of the rural? How do rural development policies transform subjectivities, everyday practices, and imaginations as well as materialities on the local level? Which perspectives are opened up for studying the transformation of political regimes by focusing on the everyday life implications of policies? We invite papers presenting ethnographic research and/or theoretical thoughts, as well as historical research, on how to grasp these political negotiations and transformations of the rural. Contributions focusing on processes in eastern and southern European countries are especially welcome.