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.

Variations on the Rural Idyll

Variations on the Rural Idyll

Variations on the rural idyll

Rural life reflects at one and the same time the boundlessness of the imagined landscape and community and the restrictiveness of access to the material and cultural conditions which permit the imagined to be lived out other than in the imagination.

(Cloke, 1994: 171)


My aim in this chapter is to take a long, hard look at the rural idyll. I am interested in where it comes from, and in the cultural work that we ask it to do for us. To do this, it is my intention to explore the ways in which the rural idyll is produced and those things its production denies or excludes. Let me begin with some questions: What is the rural idyll? ...

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