The Handbook of Rural Studies represents the vitality and theoretical innovation at work in rural studies. It shows how political economy and the "cultural turn" have led to very significant new thinking in the cultural representations of: rurality; nature; sustainability; new economies; power and rurality; new consumerism; and exclusion and rurality.It is organized in three sections: approaches to rural studies; rural research: key theoretical co-ordinates and new rural relations.In a rich and textured discussion, the Handbook of Rural Studies explains the key moments in which the theorization of culture, nature, politics, agency, and space in rural contexts have transmitted ideas back into wider social science.
Chapter 1: Pathways in the Sociology of Rural Knowledge
Pathways in the Sociology of Rural Knowledge
Introduction: From Vacuum and Hiatus towards a Theoretical Maturity
The 1970s and 1980s were in some ways rather frustrating for the rural studies of advanced societies. Like other areas of social science, there was a growing recognition of a ‘crisis’, not just of substance but of confidence, in the field and a continuous struggle both to release the subject from the restrictive (not least institutional) frameworks of the past, and to adopt a more ‘holistic’ and renewed focus.
In short, the subject had been significantly retarded and marginalized by the post-war (agricultural) modernization project. This had tended, at its most positive, to render rural spaces as sites for the playing out of a particular ...