Call for Papers: European Society for Rural Sociology and RGS-IBG Conferences

Members of the GLOBAL-RURAL team are organising a number of sessions at the forthcoming congress of the European Society for Rural Sociology, in Krakow in July, and at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) conference in London in August. We are currently calling for abstracts for potential papers in these sessions. See below for details.

European Society for Rural Sociology, 24-27 July 2017, Krakow, Poland (website)

SHAPING METHODS, SHAPING VOICES AND THE ENGAGEMENT OF DISCOURSES IN AN AGE OF UNEVEN CHANGE (WG13)

Convenors: Anthonia Onyeahialam and Michael Woods

The process of rural change is uneven, a consequence of the complexity associated with the involvement of the interrelated dimensions of change, actors, stakeholders and diverse places. Capturing these unevenness and its causes is often met with conflict of choice, purpose, voices and representations. In unpacking these to provide answers to rural problems, researchers have progressed beyond, to mix and cross the known traditional methodological boundaries at different points of their research – data collection, analysis, representation and communication. How we choose and reflect on the choices has implications for the type and diversity of knowledge chosen, produced and disseminated in these contemporary times.

This session is to allow researchers to reflect on their choice of methods and to question how it impacts on the creation, production and dissemination of knowledge and the co(s) of them. Thus, we are looking for demonstrable examples of actual work, focusing on how the research was carried out, how it has embraced multiple voices and interpretations of knowledge within the context of the conference theme rather than on details of the work. We seek research that draws on multiple methods within the quantitative to qualitative realms or at its nexus; combine multiple and diverse data sources in new and innovative ways beyond the traditional; research introducing new analytics, techniques such as digital technologies and research designs drawing on contemporary research methods using new types of data – big and small data, visual methodologies like Geographical Information Systems (GIS), mixed methods; how these choices have been used to communicate, (mis)interpret knowledge, exclude or include voices, challenge or re-inforce inequality or justice and influence policy for rural change.

Please send abstracts to aio@aber.ac.uk and m.woods@aber.ac.uk by 13th January 2017.

AGEING, AUSTERITY AND ENGAGEMENT: IMPLICATIONS FOR PARTICIPATION AND KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION IN RURAL CIVIL SOCIETY ACROSS THE LIFECOURSE (WG15)

Convenors: Jesse Heley, Laura Jones and Sophie Yarker

This working group wishes to consider the intersections between uneven processes of economic austerity and population ageing on voluntary organisation in rural communities. Reductions in public sector funding have been keenly felt in many rural areas, where a diversely ageing population faces long-standing issues of accessibility, service proximity, mobility and social isolation. However, the impacts of this context are not only felt by older members of the community but are experienced throughout the voluntary and community sector tasked with responding to these socio-political challenges.

Responding to a call to produce more ‘enlivened’ understandings of volunteering (Smith et al. 2010) this working group wishes to draw on Mills’s (2014) use of a lifecourse analysis to consider the diversity of these multiple knowledges across different ages of volunteers in rural communities. It proposes to explore how the development of such knowledge’s contributes both to the individual as well as the social and economic wellbeing of the communities and organisations concerned.  Such issues are of critical concern in the ongoing context of austerity, where differentiated patterns of volunteer availability and retention, motivation and values, and responsibility and obligation are emerging. Different theoretical approaches, including of Stebbins’ typology of volunteering(Stebbins 2014) , for better understanding the changing social, political and economic climate within which rural volunteering occurs are to be considered.

Please send abstracts to Sophie Yarker (sky1@aber.ac.uk)  by 13th January 2017.

SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND CITIZENS’ INITIATIVES: GEOGRAPHIES, POWER RELATIONS AND DETERMINANTS OF SUCCESS AND IMPACT (WG17)

Convenors: Carol Richards, Robyn Mayes, Michael Woods, Dirk Strijker and Koen Salemink

This working group seeks to encourage critical debate and scholarly collaboration around the geographies, determinants, and impact of social movements and initiatives in rural areas.

A wide range of social movements and citizens’ initiatives play an ever more important role in rural areas, varying from very much locally based initiatives (e.g. managing a village hall) to more globally inspired mobilizations around controversial and ideological topics (e.g. GMOs, palm oil, animal welfare). A common feature in these initiatives and movements, however, are the urban-based discourses which dominate both popular narratives and policy considerations, revealing a complex urban-rural political context.

Developments around rural social movements and initiatives show that some are more successful than others, some regions seem better equipped to start initiatives, and some themes allow for a more prominent mobilization of actors. It appears that the complexity of the tasks, and the competences and perseverance of the organizers, are important determinants for success. There is some evidence that other determinants also play a role, such as the type of objectives, scale, and power of the various actors. Most importantly, though, a common conclusion is that further research is needed to fully grasp and unpack these phenomena.

In this WG we are looking for papers focusing on the geographies of initiatives and movements, and on determinants of success, especially those focusing on the actors involved and power constellations. Initiatives and movements discussed could cover the fields of resource extraction, agricultural practices, (public) service provision, energy, maintenance of public spaces, local economic development, etc. Papers can be exploratory, works in progress, empirical and/or theoretical.

Please send abstracts to Carol Richards (c6.richards@qut.edu.au) and Dirk Strijker (d.strijker@rug.nl) by 13th January.

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Conference, 29 August – 1 September 2017, London, UK (website)

(EN)COUNTERING CHANGE, (DIS)ASSEMBLING PLACENESS

Convenors: Marc Welsh and Sam Saville

Place is a foundational concept in human geography, albeit one conceived in different ways to do different forms of analytical work. From meaning and phenomenological centred notions (Relph, Tuan, Creswell); to their construction as sites of capital accumulation, pools of stability in an ocean of global change (Harvey); to attention to the processual dynamics of the ‘constant becoming’ of place (Pred, Thrift); to Massey’s decentred relational ‘sense of place’; to more applied turns to theorise the making of places (Marsden, Healey), ‘place’ retains conceptual and analytical power.  For all its centrality as a cornerstone of geographical thought and research, for all the studies and analysis that have interrogated, played with and sought to make meaningful the concept we contend that there is still place for an ongoing re-consideration of place.

 We are interested in drawing together insights from different theoretical approaches that triangulate on the matter of place, its making and unmaking, in an increasingly interconnected world. Do recent ‘turns’ and ontological reframings (relational, affective, networked, mobile, virtual, assemblaged and nexused) offer novel ways to examine processes generative of continuity and change coming together in topological and topographical places?

 In this session we seek empirically informed theoretical papers that explore place and placeness in the modern era.

 Contributions might respond to the following questions:

  •  What theoretical approaches can help to capture and interrogate the persistence of placeness when place is conceived as relational, emergent, in a continual state of becoming and shifting instability?
  •  How helpful are turns towards complexity, assemblage and nexus-thinking in thinking about the processes of place? How is place best conceived for this kind of work?
  •  How can geographical insights speak back to those seeking to “make place” or produce a “sense of place”, to enhance placeness?

 The expected format is 15 minute presentation slots with 5 minutes for questions afterwards and a chaired discussion.

Please submit an abstract to the session convenors, Marc Welsh (maw@aber.ac.uk) and Samantha Saville (sms10@aber.ac.uk) of no more than 250 words by Friday 3rd February 2017.

RURAL COSMOPOLITANISM: PEOPLE, LOCALITIES AND MOBILITIES

Convenors: Rhys Dafydd Jones and Michael Woods

Popular narratives of the countryside emphasise its supposed stability and its perceived lack of change and diversity, constructed in opposition to dynamic urban spaces that are nodes in global networks.  In this session we explore the ways in which rural spaces are – and have always been – diverse spaces of encounter, exchange, and interaction.  The last quarter of a century has seen a proliferation of work exploring diversity in the countryside, with much work focussing on the experiences of minority ethnic groups in the countryside, particularly in the context of racism (Garland and Chakraborti, 2004), and a number of authors have started to develop the notion of ‘rural cosmopolitanism’, though in disparate ways (e.g. Gidwani and Sivaramakrishnan, 2003; Notar, 2008; Popke 2011).  More work is needed on other strands of identity, the sites of encountering differences, and ways in which the countryside experiences cosmopolitanism.  We particularly invite contributions that on the following themes:
•       Ethnic and religious diversity in the countryside;
•       Global mobilities and flows through rural spaces;
•       Migration and return migration as drivers of rural cosmopolitanism;
•       Rural sites of exchange and encounter;
•       Tourists as cosmopolitan agents in rural places;
•       Precarity and individual experiences of rural diversity;
•       Rural institutions and accommodating diversity;
•       Cosmopolitanism, consumption and everyday life in the countryside;
•       Cosmopolitan politics of the rural;
•       Cosmopolitanism and rural carcerality;
•       Rural cosmopolitan methodologies;
•       Rural cosmopolitanism as an ethical project;
•       Policy implications.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to both Mike (zzp@aber.ac.uk) and Rhys (rhj@aber.ac.uk) by the 31st January 2017.

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