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Rural transformations

In the 21st century, the rural is increasingly decoupled from the agrarian. This warrants critical rethinking of rural transformations.

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Land and resources are back on the political agenda — at the heart of contemporary conflicts over livelihoods and environments. While global land grabbing for infrastructure, industries, agriculture, nature conservation, and carbon storage is central to the debate, these ongoing processes are linked to a much wider spectrum of interests.

Contemporary resource frontiers take various forms, including:

  • Food production, food systems and food regimes
  • agro-industrial plantations
  • extractive industries
  • energy production
  • tourism
  • nature conservation

Rural life is also shaped by domestic and international migration, deagrarianization, state and non-state forms of governance, international trade as well as new forms of authoritarian populism.

Responses from rural peoples involve not only passivity or resistance but also other – at times contradictory – forms of agency. Such agency manifests in projects and processes that both involve agriculture and go far beyond it. Consequently, in the 21st century, ‘the rural’ is increasingly decoupled from ‘the agrarian’ in ways that warrant critical rethinking of rural transformations.

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Published May 15, 2018 4:29 PM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2022 4:01 PM