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 9: Idyllic Ruralities
Introduction: The Rural Idyll — Ambiguity and Power
A parliamentary Environmental Select Committee, reviewing the UK 1995 Rural White Paper, noted that: ‘Rural poverty must be spoken about. Its causes and consequences discussed, perceptions of a rural idyll need to be corrected and hidden pockets of poverty sought out and relieved.’
The rural idyll is an oft-cited but culturally charged phrase which has come to particular prominence within the last 25 years, entering everyday parlance, and which has assumed a shorthand meaning covering a number of interrelated concepts and their contextual relations. It is a phrase often used pejoratively in academic circles, but one that is both ambiguous and powerful. It is, of course, also a phrase which acquires meaning only through the consciousness ...