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Finding rural community resilience: Understanding the role of anchor institutions

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ruth McAreaveyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Across Europe there is evidence that rural space has become more highly desired than before the pandemic as urban dwellers escaped to the perceived safety of the countryside. Whether or not this is a permanent trend remains to be seen, but it has highlighted the diversity of rural space with different types of rural communities evident within the UK and more widely across Europe. With increased attention on so called ‘left behind’ places, there is a lot of interest in why some communities appear to be resilient and are able to prosper while others remain marginalised across many different criteria – be it education, economy, amenities and wider public goods to name but a few. And yet the reason behind this is not fully understood. This article seems to contribute to this wider debate by examining the concept of resilience and the extent to which rural communities are resilient in the face of outward change, be this longer-term change arising from economic restructuring or austerity, or a sharper shock such as the pandemic or the exit of the UK from the EU. It examines how rural communities deal with such challenges and the role of different organisations in this process. Drawing from extensive empirical evidence from a study based in England, the article identifies key traits of a resilient rural community. The article shows how the capacity of local communities to contribute to resilience is influenced by the specificity of place as well as the wider socio-economic context including deliberative state action.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McAreavey R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Rural Studies

Year: 2022

Volume: 96

Pages: 227-236

Print publication date: 01/12/2022

Online publication date: 14/11/2022

Acceptance date: 19/10/2022

Date deposited: 04/11/2022

ISSN (print): 0743-0167

ISSN (electronic): 1873-1392

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2022.10.014


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Funder referenceFunder name
Defra, Project No. 28358, Rural England