The Sociology of Rural Development

The Sociology of Rural Development

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    • 00:11

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY: Hi.My name is Michael L. Doherty.[Michael L. Dougherty, Ph.D, Assistant Professorof Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University]I'm a professor of sociology at Illinois State University.And today I'm going to tell you a little bitabout the sociology of rural development.Before we get started with the specifics of the sociologyof rural development, I think it's importantthat we talk a little bit about what development actually is.

    • 00:32

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: And this is important because developmentis a bit of a slippery term.It means a lot of different thingsto a lot of different people.And, in fact, we hear this word developmentso often in public discourse preciselybecause of this ambiguity.This ambiguity is part of its appeal.

    • 00:52

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: So people can use the word developmentto mean really whatever they wantand that's why it's used so often.So in this context, in the contextof the sociology of rural development,I like to define development as improvements in quality of lifefor residents of rural areas.[Rural Development-- Improvements in quality of lifefor residents of rural areas.]

    • 01:13

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: And the key here is this concept of qualityof life, which granted, is a bit of a vague termin and of itself.But development is often used as a shorthandfor economic growth.The terms development and growth are oftenconflated with one another.And so the reason why I like to use the phrase quality of life

    • 01:36

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: is to distinguish between developmentand economic growth.Development is generally more broad than economic growth.So, for example, the economist Herman Dalyonce wrote in a rather simple way, "when something grows,it gets bigger.When something develops, it gets different."["When something grows, it gets bigger.When something develops, it gets different."

    • 01:56

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: Herman Daly, economist.][Factors That Improve Quality of Life-- Present and distributedeconomic gains]Quality of life improves when economic gainsare present in a place but are equitablydistributed across the people in a community.And quality of life further improveswhen public health is strong.[Strong public health]When social networks are thick and robust.[Robust social networks]When the natural environment is clean and healthy.

    • 02:18

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: [Clean, healthy, natural environment]And when people's emotional needs are met.[Met emotional needs]In addition to defining development,I also think it's important that we define rural, whichon its surface is not quite as ambiguous a termas development.But rural can also be defined in a variety of different ways.So the US census, for example, defines rural as a functionof population density. [Defining Rural] [Population density:

    • 02:40

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: US Census considers any place with fewer than 2,500 residentsrural] So places are rural according to the census if theyhave fewer than 2,500 residents.But there are other ways that we might define or classify ruralas well. [A function of the predominant economic sectorsin an area: Agriculture, mining, logging]One such way would be as a functionof the dominant economic sectors in a particular communityof place.So, for example, a place that's characterized

    • 03:02

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: by agricultural production might be considered rural,because agriculture is considereda rural economic sector or a place that has a lot of miningmight be considered rural by that same token.We can also define rural sometimesas a function of the culture of an area.So if a particular place has a sort of a slow paced lifestyle,

    • 03:23

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: or an agrarian, or more intimate kind of culture,we might consider it rural on that basis.[A function of the culture of an area: Agrarian, intimate, slowpaced]And it's important for us to think criticallyabout what rural actually means becausethis nice, neat typology that we often go tobetween urban, suburban and rural areas

    • 03:46

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: is becoming increasingly less useful as citiessprawl further and further outwardand certain rural communities experienceeconomic booms around tourism and natural amenities.It becomes less immediately intelligible what constitutesrural and what doesn't.[Why be Concerned with Rural Development?]

    • 04:11

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: So we live in an urbanizing world.We live in a place, in the United Statesin particular, where 80% of the populationlives either in cities or suburbs.And that leaves a small 20% [Only about 20%of the US population lives in rural areas today]of our population living in rural areas.And so we might ask ourselves, well,

    • 04:32

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: why should we be particularly concernedwith rural development.And even in the developing world and other partsof the world where the majority of the populationstill lives in rural areas, these placesare urbanizing very rapidly.And in another few decades the majorityof the population across the worldwill be living in cities and suburbs.

    • 04:54

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: So it's a legitimate question to raisewhy we should be concerned with rural development.The answer is that rural residents are stillthe majority of residents across the world.And not only that, but they have lower development indicatorsacross the board than residents of suburbs and cities.So rural folks are more isolated than urban folks.

    • 05:17

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: They have lower educational attainment than urban folksand lower incomes in many cases. [Rural residents aremore isolated.Rural residents have lower educational attainment.Rural residents have lower incomes.]Further, rural residents are oftenstewards of our biological diversityand our natural ecosystems. [Rural residents are oftenstewards of our biological diversityand natural ecosystems] And so for these reasons,even in an urbanizing world, it's particularly important

    • 05:38

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: that we pay attention to and be concernedwith rural development.[The Economics of Rural Development]I want to discuss briefly the economics of rural developmentthere are essentially four sectors of the rural economy.And one of the things that distinguishes a rural economy

    • 06:01

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: from an urban economy is the relative simplicityof a rural economy versus the relative complexityof an urban economy.So rural economies have essentially foureconomic sectors, give or take.And these would be agriculture, farming, extraction, mining,and fossil fuel production, tourism,

    • 06:21

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: and also the service industry. [Sectors of the Rural Economy][Agriculture, Farming, Extraction (mining and fossilfuel production), Tourism]And what I want to argue here is that mostof these sectors of the economy don't reallyoffer a meaningful path out of povertyor a meaningful path out of under developmentfor residents of rural areas.Agriculture, for example, doesn't really

    • 06:42

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: offer a meaningful path out of povertybecause the returns on agricultural productionare so low and because the mechanization of agricultureis such that agriculture produces fewer and fewer jobsas time goes forward.And so an economy that is predicatedon agricultural production is an economy

    • 07:04

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: where there aren't going to be a lot of jobs in agricultureand where, as technology continuesto advance and replace human labor,those jobs increasingly disappear.The extractive industries, mining, fossil fuel production,fishing, and lumber, arguably, as well,also fail to offer a path out of poverty

    • 07:27

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: for residents of rural areas.In the first place, this is the casebecause these industries are determinedby the stocks of resources, the natural environment.And these aren't the same in all places.So certain places might have great depositsof ores, and metals, and fossil fuelsunderground and other places can't capitalize on these.

    • 07:50

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: Extractive industries also offer a challengeto rural development because extractingnonrenewable resources inevitablyleads to a boom and bust cycle.And finally, extractive industriestend to be dirty, and unsafe, and theytend to generate conflict in host communities.Tourism is a growing economic sector in many rural areas.

    • 08:15

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: Tourism has increased since the 1990sand it tends to offer a more sustainable, viable solutionto rural under development than do agriculture and extraction.Although, I would argue, that tourismstill warrants some caution.So there are three main types of rural tourism

    • 08:37

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: that I'd like to discuss.The first of which, this is a term that many of us areprobably familiar with, is ecotourism.[Types of Tourism] [Ecotourism] And ecotourism refersto enjoying nature while still protecting the environmentand contributing to economic development.The second type of rural tourism I want to highlightis agricultural tourism or Agritourism.

    • 08:59

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: [Agritourism] And this has to do with whenvisitors to rural places visit in orderto appreciate the agricultural landscapeor what we might call the farm scapes of a particular areaand also contribute to the income of small farms.And the third and final type of rural tourism I want to mention

    • 09:20

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: is culinary tourism. [Culinary tourism]Culinary tourism refers to the consumptionof culturally specific cuisine or food items in rural places.So as I said, tourism as an alternative to agricultureand mining, or as a complement to agriculture and mining,may offer a more meaningful path out of poverty

    • 09:43

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: for residents of rural areas.But it still warrants caution.And this is such because the benefits of tourismoften accrue to locally elites. [Cautions of Tourism.The benefits or tourism often acrue to local elites]And so when we promote a tourist industry in a rural place,we have to be particularly aware of putting mechanisms in place

    • 10:03

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: to distribute the benefits of tourismmore evenly throughout the community.A second caution is that tourism, understandably,[Tourism implies an influx of outsiders]implies an influx of outsiders to a rural place.And so we have to be particularlycareful to make sure that this influx of outsiders

    • 10:24

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: doesn't weaken local culture and doesn't threatenthe biophysical environment, the ecosystems, and that sortof thing in local areas.There's a phenomenon called remittances,which in many parts of the world contribute meaningfullyto economic development in rural areas.

    • 10:49

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: Particularly in Latin America, many individualsmigrate from Meso-America, Central America, and Mexicointo the United States, and to a lesser extent into Canada,in search of work.In so doing, they often remit, or send back,to the source country a portion of their income.

    • 11:10

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: This is known as remittance incomeand in many parts of the world thishas become, in recent decades, an important pillarof the rural economy, in addition to agriculture,extraction, and tourism.[Social Considerations in Rural Development]

    • 11:31

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: Social networks are an essential partof substantive, equitable, meaningful, rural development.Social networks are really a function of essentiallyhow many people you know and how well you know those people.And it matters for rural developmenthow many people you know and how well you know them.

    • 11:53

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: The denser and thicker our social networks become,the more democratic our communities become,and the more evenly and equitably distributedare the gains from rural development.There are essentially two chief waysthat we can conceptualize or operationalize

    • 12:14

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: this idea of social networks in the context of rural communitydevelopment.The first of these is the concept of social capital.The second of these is the idea of the asset-based approachto community development. [Social Capital] [The valueembedded in social networks] Social capital we canunderstand as the value embedded in our social networks,

    • 12:36

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: both economic, material value, but also the emotional valueof our social networks.Social capital is comprised of things like social obligationsand expectations, as well as social sanctions,and particularly, trust between individuals and normsaround reciprocity.

    • 12:57

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: In other words, norms around this ideathat if I scratch your back you scratch mine.[Benefits of Social Capital] [Social capital can generatefinancial and material returns to both individuals and wholecommunities] Social capital can generate financial and materialreturns to both individuals and to whole communities.Individuals benefit from the transmissionof information regarding economic opportunities.And communities can benefit because strong social networks

    • 13:20

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: insulate places from the challengesof economic downturns.When commodity prices plunge, or the factory leaves town,for example, individuals with dense social networkscan rely on one another to weather the storm.[High levels of social capital can reinforcecollective identity] Incidentally, high levelsof social capital can also reinforce collective identity,

    • 13:43

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: and this can boost self-esteem, and canprovide a basis for collective actionon behalf of rural development.[Social capital can improve democratic institutionsand promote equity] And finally, social capital because itpromotes more involvement and engagement in the communitycan actually improve democratic institutionsand promote equity in communities of place.Another way of sort of conceptualizing

    • 14:05

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: operationalizing the value of social networks in ruralcommunities is the idea of the asset-based approachto community development. [asset-based communitydevelopment (ABCD)] Asset-based community development,which is often referred to by its acronym, ABCD,developed in the 1990s as an alternative to the needs

    • 14:26

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: assessment or needs inventory as a way to approach communitydevelopment.And the logic behind this model holdsthat inventorying or assessing a community's needsreally only serves to reinforce a sense of inadequacyon the part of the community.Whereas, if we focus on a community's assets,

    • 14:49

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: this reinforces their capacities, talents, and gifts.It builds self esteem within the members of the community.It makes them feel powerful.It gives them agency to then take on development initiativesfor themselves, rather than relying on outside expertise.

    • 15:11

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: Building on this idea, sociologists Cornelia and JanFlora [Cornelia and Jan Flora] introducedthe community capital's framework laying outseven types of community assets thatare essential for sustainable community development.These seven community capitals are social capital,[Seven Types of Community Assets] [Social] culturalcapital, [Cultural] political capital,

    • 15:32

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: [Political] financial capital, [Financial] human capital,[Human] natural capital, [Natural] and built capital.[Built]And the idea of the community capital's frameworkis that where the stocks of one of these capitals increases,the stocks of others increases wellin a beneficent upward spiral.

    • 15:55

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: [Conclusion] I want to now sum up and concludea little bit of what we've discussed todayaround rural development.[Summary] [Rural develpment is improvement in quality of lifefor rural people] Rural development we can defineas improvement in the quality of life for rural peopleor residents of rural communities.And this is a pretty easy definition to apprehend.But in practice, it's often easier said than done.

    • 16:17

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: [There are limited economic opportunites in rural areas,and the amenity-led experiential toursimthat offers some promise is not equallyavailable in all rural areas] There are generallyvery limited economic opportunitiesin rural areas because of the simplicity of rural economies.And the amenity led experiential tourism that we discussed,agritourism, ecotourism, and culinary tourismoffers some promise as a path out of poverty

    • 16:38

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: and into sustainable development for rural areas.But, this kind of opportunity is not equallyavailable in all rural areas.[Social networks and social capitalare crucial to building strong, resilient rural communities]Social networks and social capital, finally,are crucial factors in building strong, resilient, sustainable

    • 16:59

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: rural communities.[Rural areas must continue to diversify their industry mixby encouraging tourism, developing nicheagricultural markets, and developing small-scale industryto process and add value to agricultural products] Sorural communities must continue to diversify their industrymix, to not have all their eggs in one basket, so to speak,to not rely just on mining, or just on agriculture,which do not represent meaningful ways out of poverty.And they must continue to encourage tourism, but not

    • 17:20

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: depend on tourism.Also, developing niche agricultural markets,like fair trade organic products,and developing small scale industryto process and add value to agricultural productsis a good way to get started diversifying a rural economy.[Rural areas must focus on developing systems thatdistribute gains from economic growthevenly and capitalize on the rich social assetsand social networks of their regions]Additionally, rural areas need to focuson developing systems that distribute

    • 17:42

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: the gains from economic growth more evenlyand that capitalize on the rich social assetsand social networks of these regions.And I'd like to conclude there.And I'd like to leave you with some suggestionsfor further reading.[Further Reading] [Flora, Flora, & Gasteyer (2016).Rural communities: Legacy and change (5th ed.).]So the book Rural Communities: Legacy and Change

    • 18:03

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: is in its fifth edition as of 2016.And this edition was written by Cornelia Flora, Jan Flora,and Steven Gasteyer.[McMichael (2011).Development and social change: A global perspective.] Alsoa book by Philip McMichael called Development and socialchange is a good text for further reading in this area.[Kretzmann & McKnight (1993).Building communities from the inside out.] And finally,

    • 18:23

      MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [continued]: the book by Jodi Kretzmann and John McKnight from 1993 calledBuilding communities from the inside out is the book thatlays out the asset-based community development modeland is also essential reading.

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The Sociology of Rural Development

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Dr. Michael Dougherty defines rural development as improving the quality of life for people in rural areas. He explains the unique challenges facing rural communities, and he describes the four main rural economic sectors. Dougherty also discusses the asset-based community development model, which emphasizes a community's strengths instead of its weaknesses.

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The Sociology of Rural Development

Dr. Michael Dougherty defines rural development as improving the quality of life for people in rural areas. He explains the unique challenges facing rural communities, and he describes the four main rural economic sectors. Dougherty also discusses the asset-based community development model, which emphasizes a community's strengths instead of its weaknesses.

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