Category: Rural Sociology

Social innovation in crisis-shaken villages

Villages are rarely seen as centers for innovation. However, empirical research shows evidence of innovative activities taking place even in crisis-shaken rural regions. Anika Noack and Tobias Federwisch consider three initiatives, which aim to overcome local problems with socially innovative ideas. In doing so, the authors reveal external impulses by intermediates as crucial for social innovation. The rural municipality of ‘Kremmen’ (an anonymised name for the municipality involved in the study) was once a flourishing tourist destination in the Eifel...

Assembling wool and grounding globalization

In our recently published paper in Sociologia Ruralis, ‘Unravelling the global wool assemblage: researching place and production networks in the global countryside’ [1] we demonstrated the utility of assemblage thinking for revealing how globalization works through specific grounded relations and connections between places; remaking those places in the process. Despite being the subject of critique from various theoretical angles for decades, globalization is still frequently deployed as a top-down metaconcept to describe many of the processes and tendencies seen in the...

Looking after farmers as well as the land: research with farmers in North Yorkshire’s Cornfield Flowers Project

Do farmers derive any personal benefit and well-being from their Agricultural Environmental Schemes (AES) work? Being a volunteer grower and seed guardian for North Yorkshire’s Cornfield Flowers Project (CFP) made me aware of how this project functioned differently from other, mainstream AES. The CFP capitalises upon farmers’ personal interest in arable flowers [1] Participating farmers are not paid for the work, do not sign contracts, and are not obliged to adhere to prescriptive cultivations methods imposed by an external agency. Unlike...

Interview: Ruth McAreavey on Rural Sociology

Dr Ruth McAreavey is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Newcastle University. Ruth’s research focuses on migration, particularly to regional and rural areas, and inequalities faced by migrants in the labour market and in other parts of everyday life. Ruth has published extensively on rural development, and her most recent book on New Immigration Destinations was published by Routledge in July 2017. Ruth will Chair the Scientific Committee at the next European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS) Congress in Trondheim, Norway,...

Interview: Lisa Garforth on Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature

Lisa Garforth is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Newcastle University. Her work explores green future visions, especially in fiction. Her recent book Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature (Polity 2018) examines the changing content and socio-cultural contexts of green utopias from post-war environmentalism to the challenge of the Anthropocene. What lead you to write your book, Green Utopias, and what are the major themes? I wanted to rethink environmental utopianism, not so much from the perspective of practical...

True cowmen and commercial farmers: differing opinions on what it means to be a ‘good’ dairy farmer

Farming is both an art and a science. Dairy farming in the UK is poised between being a traditional backbone of the rural economy and a high-tech industry. We need to understand what farmers and other stakeholders value within this sector in order to understand how they make decisions. The idea of the ‘good farmer’ is a useful concept within rural sociology for understanding farmer decision making12. Farmers make decisions that are in line with the ideal of being a...

Smart Farming: Wither Do It Yourself (DIY) Farmers

We have data coming out of our ears.  Between 2015 and 2016, the world generated more of it than what had been created in the previous 5,000 years.  The same holds true in agriculture—data related to soil characteristics, water quality (and quantity), weather, yield, market trends, and the like. The global market for precision farming technologies is estimated to reach approximately US$6 billion by 2021, which translates to an annual growth rate of 12.4 per cent. Adoption rates of precision...

Advertisement for new Sociologia Ruralis Editor-in-Chief

The European Society for Rural Sociology invites individuals to apply for the position of Editor-in-Chief Sociologia Ruralis We are looking for an Editor-in-Chief to succeed Bettina Bock in the position from 2020 Sociologia Ruralis reflects the diversity of European social-science research on rural areas and related issues. Over the past 40 years Sociologia Ruralis has been an international forum for social scientists engaged in social, political and cultural aspects of primary industries such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries and rural...

Just Existing is Resisting: a paper-video pairing strategy to talk about the everyday struggle against GM crops in Spain

  GM crops have created (and still create) socio-political storms around the globe. These conflicts illustrate a clash of visions, values and paradigms enacted by different forms of agriculture. While the EU has put considerable weight on the concept of co-existence to manage these conflicts, the nature of GM crops and the social conditions around them pose significant challenges for achieving this aim. Both the biological agency of GM crops and the social infrastructure around these crops facilitate an unintentional...

Rethinking Agrarian Transitions and Left Politics in India: 50 years since Naxalbari

It is now half a century since the small uprising in the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal led to the spread of a Maoist inspired revolutionary armed struggle in India, that is still ongoing. But with the Indian state now bent on crushing these Naxalites, and with the more general challenges faced by parliamentary communist parties across India, the question of how to analyse the agrarian economy – the basis of left strategy for a communist society in many...