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Sustainable Rural Communities: constructing sustainable places beyond cities

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE


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This short paper argues that dominant constructions of rural sustainability are founded on an implicit acceptance of an equivalence of the rural with the natural, and of the environmental with the sustainable. It seeks to raise questions about how rural sustainability has come to be constructed in this way, whose interests are served, and how discursive power is exercised to favour these interests. Equally, it raises policy and practice related questions of how rural communities can become more sustainable and how to promote and support these efforts. Each of these questions presents avenues for research on the exercise of power (both generative and authoritative) in the construction and performance of sustainable rural development. By relating this to practice-based concepts of ‘place-shaping’, neo-endogenous rural development, territorial governance and sustainable communities, such research could help us to understand better the significance of place to sustainable rural development, and the ways in which power relations impact upon rural sustainability. In turn, such research would assist the development of policies across Europe which foster action by people, stakeholders and governments towards what they conceive to be sustainable ruralities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shucksmith M

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: XXIII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress: Reinventing the Rural: Between the Social and the Natural

Year of Conference: 2009

Date deposited: 08/01/2014

Publisher: University of Vaasa/Abo Akademi University/ESRS


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9789524762649