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.

Constructing Rural Natures

Constructing rural natures
NoelCastree and BruceBraun

the tactic of… revealing nature to be a ‘social construct’ has lost much of its initial intellectual potency.

(Bartram and Shobrook, 2000: 370)

Introduction

As our epigram suggests, this is an inauspicious moment to consider the constructedness of rural natures. In relation to those myriad things conventionally labelled as ‘natural’, rural studies is fast entering a ‘post-constructivist’ moment.1 Today the non-human is being granted a constitutive role in rural life within a non-dualistic, antiessentialist worldview. This moment follows hard on the heels of nature's ‘return’ to rural studies from the late 1980s and through the 1990s. Over a decade ago, nature gained a long overdue place on rural researchers' agendas by, paradoxically, being de-naturalized. As we shall demonstrate in this chapter, ...

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