Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development

A special issue of World (ISSN 2673-4060).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 25596

Special Issue Editors

Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research, 1030 Vienna, Austria
Interests: rural development; rural policy; governance; mountain development research; human–nature interaction; local development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
School of Geography, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
Interests: land use change; land use transition; rural spatial governance; rural transformation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies, Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland (UEF), 80101 Joensuu, Finland
Interests: rural demography; development approaches for remote rural areas and islands; European and National rural/regional policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The features and societal functions of rural areas have been increasingly addressed as crucial aspects of spatial dynamics, and raised interest for respective policies in all parts of the world. As economic structures in these places used to be based on agriculture, forestry, and other primary activities linked to natural resources, “rural” was traditionally equated with agriculture, and the respective policies were largely limited to farming policies. However, by and by, it is acknowledged that this view does not reflect the realities of contemporary social, economic, cultural, and ecologic changes of the majority of rural regions. While, at first, this shift in rural profiles was discussed particularly in highly industrialized countries, significant structural changes are taking place throughout the rural world. Initially, rural policies responded to narratives of seeing these places as dependent and peripheral regions that require targeted and long-term support to overcome “development” deficiencies and to mitigate the socioeconomic “gaps” toward urban centers, representing agglomeration areas with unabated appeal, stimulating the ongoing urbanization process.

Recent analyses have revealed that in repeating those narratives, we replicate stereotypes that are not accurate and highly reductionist, simplifying the situation as a linear theoretical concept. There seems to be a pressing need to rethink rural development and to address the rising challenges due to changes in regional economics linked to large-scale global shifts in economy and society. It is also timely to overcome the bias in theory building that almost exclusively favor efficiency, competitiveness, growth, and spatial concentration. In an era of global ecological and economic crises, the need to also view rural regions as interesting sites of incredible experimentation, innovation, and resistance becomes central for meaningful place-based strategies and rural policies.

This Special Issue seeks to assemble examples of the diverse approaches in research on global rural development by highlighting specificities of practices and conceptual approaches from different parts of the world. These should also analyze if and how current activities contribute to the development of sustainable pathways and resilient regional development. The increasing concern for uneven urbanization and rural shrinkage in European countries and the US, as well as resource challenges, should be supplemented by positions from rural development practice of other continents, underpinning similarities or differences in policy paradigms.

The focus of papers might be on emerging challenges, analyzing the specific roles of resource use, climate change adaptation, farm management changes and small-farm contributions, non-agricultural economy, tourism potential, institutional development, governance issues and role of state, as well as policy assessment, particularly addressing practices in rural development and implementation, community participation, poverty assessment and reduction action, and social innovation processes.

To this end, we welcome papers on practical aspects of rural action and analyses shedding light on diverse perspectives and conceptual approaches as well as rural policy assessments with an interest on raising understanding of challenges and harnessing opportunities of rural regions to this Special Issue.

Dr. Thomas Dax
Dr. Dazhuan Ge
Dr. Andrew Copus
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. World is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • rural development
  • spatial diversity
  • spatial dynamics
  • place-based policies
  • participation
  • policy assessment
  • transformation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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8 pages, 427 KiB  
Editorial
Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development: Reflecting Awareness, Understanding and Activities in Rural Areas
by Thomas Dax, Andrew Copus and Dazhuan Ge
World 2023, 4(2), 360-367; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020023 - 14 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1726
Abstract
What does rural development policy aim to achieve, and how does it go about it [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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Research

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18 pages, 3161 KiB  
Article
CLLD in the 2014–2020 EU Programming Period: An Innovative Framework for Local Development
by Stefan Kah, Haris Martinos and Urszula Budzich-Tabor
World 2023, 4(1), 122-139; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4010009 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2600
Abstract
This paper presents an overview of how the Community-led Local Development (CLLD) instrument has been used in the EU in the 2014–2020 programming period. It provides a typology of countries applying the options offered by CLLD and illustrates the various ways in which [...] Read more.
This paper presents an overview of how the Community-led Local Development (CLLD) instrument has been used in the EU in the 2014–2020 programming period. It provides a typology of countries applying the options offered by CLLD and illustrates the various ways in which the different eligible EU funds were contributing financially. The article discusses the experiences made with CLLD implementation, focusing on the purpose for which CLLD was implemented, the barriers encountered, and the achievements so far. A particular look is taken at the urban dimension of CLLD as one of the innovative elements of the 2014–2020 programming period. Overall, CLLD can bring significant added value for the targeted territories and can foster an increased policy integration. However, challenges remain, particularly around administrative complexities, and these impact on the willingness of policy-makers to make use of the full range of options offered by CLLD. Indeed, looking into 2021–2027, there are countries discontinuing CLLD, but, at the same time, the CLLD model is being expanded where experiences have been predominantly positive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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24 pages, 1727 KiB  
Article
Exploring Justice in the Process of Redesigning Local Development Strategies for LEADER: Representation, Distribution, and Recognition
by Franziska Lengerer, Tialda Haartsen and Annett Steinführer
World 2023, 4(1), 56-79; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4010005 - 17 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1876
Abstract
After its first funding period from 1991 to 1994, LEADER was positively evaluated as a successful strategy to empower actors at the regional level, enable regional development and contribute to territorial cohesion within the European Union. Critical studies, however, have highlighted elitist tendencies [...] Read more.
After its first funding period from 1991 to 1994, LEADER was positively evaluated as a successful strategy to empower actors at the regional level, enable regional development and contribute to territorial cohesion within the European Union. Critical studies, however, have highlighted elitist tendencies in LEADER processes and asked whether the proclaimed goal of strengthening ‘the local’ contributes to new or other forms of social and spatial injustice. Our research focus lies in how representation, distribution, and recognition—as the three interrelated dimensions of justice according to Nancy Fraser—are featured in the discourse related to redesigning a local development strategy (LDS). During this process, which is conceived as the most open and inclusive phase in each LEADER funding period, we conducted expert interviews and participatory observations in a case study region and gathered media reports, documents, and official regulations. In our analysis of issues of representation, distribution, and recognition, we also focus on the spatial scales that are referred to and the ways in which the involved actors challenge and justify the status quo. Our analysis explicates the actors’ implicit normative understandings as well as their different perspectives and positions considering perceived injustice. Even though the LDS process provides opportunities to negotiate these positions and to work towards more just representation, distribution, and recognition, they are partly constrained by structural and individual dependencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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14 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Community Counts: Rural Social Work in East Africa
by Janestic Twikirize and Helmut Spitzer
World 2022, 3(4), 1053-1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/world3040060 - 9 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2914
Abstract
The community plays a significant role in everyday life in rural African contexts, particularly in terms of coping and in times of crisis. In the East African region, rural communities are diverse and complex, yet most share similar vulnerabilities such as widespread poverty, [...] Read more.
The community plays a significant role in everyday life in rural African contexts, particularly in terms of coping and in times of crisis. In the East African region, rural communities are diverse and complex, yet most share similar vulnerabilities such as widespread poverty, lack of infrastructure and basic services, and exclusion from broader economic and political developments. They are also highly affected by processes of modernization, globalization, and rural-urban migration. Social work as a profession that deals with social problems is deemed suitable to support rural communities in their struggle for survival. In order to understand the link between community-based forms of problem solving and social work practice, a qualitative study was conducted in five countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). A total of 155 qualitative interviews and 55 focus group discussions with key informants were conducted. The research revealed a variety of indigenous knowledge systems and innovative coping mechanisms. For rural social work to be relevant and effective, such models should be thoroughly analyzed and integrated into its professional concepts and practice. In this article, some case examples are presented and critically discussed against the background of the African philosophical concept of ubuntu, which is regarded as the ethical backbone of communal life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
19 pages, 672 KiB  
Article
European Rural Demographic Strategies: Foreshadowing Post-Lisbon Rural Development Policy?
by Thomas Dax and Andrew Copus
World 2022, 3(4), 938-956; https://doi.org/10.3390/world3040053 - 18 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2597
Abstract
The European Commission’s Long-term Vision for Rural Areas, published in June 2021 and building on a previous report on the Impact of Demographic Change and a Green Paper on Ageing, underlines the importance of population trends as a key issue for EU rural [...] Read more.
The European Commission’s Long-term Vision for Rural Areas, published in June 2021 and building on a previous report on the Impact of Demographic Change and a Green Paper on Ageing, underlines the importance of population trends as a key issue for EU rural policy. The increasing concern about demographic issues, especially in rural Europe, has been accompanied, and in some cases preceded, by the publication of national population strategies. This renewed interest within the European policy community probably has roots in politics rather than new research or fresh evidence. Rural depopulation is not a new phenomenon, nor is it a new research topic. Nevertheless, to better understand this renewed interest, it is instructive to review recent scholarship and consider whether there is any evidence that the processes and systems of rural and regional (demographic) development are delivering new kinds of challenges, requiring refreshed policy approaches. Having established this context, we present a comparative review of a selection of national strategies, identifying shifting perspectives on goals, the instruments proposed, and implied intervention logics. Arguably, cumulative evidence points to an incremental shift of the policy discourse away from neoliberal, Lisbon-inspired visions of rural competitiveness and cost-effectiveness and towards a quest for rural well-being, rights to basic services, and more (spatially) inclusive rural development. This increasing emphasis on qualitative change may be symptomatic of a wider shift in the zeitgeist of rural policy, reflecting a number of globalised trends, including an awareness of the potentials and limitations associated with changing patterns of inter and intra-regional mobility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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23 pages, 2094 KiB  
Article
Social Innovation: The Promise and the Reality in Marginalised Rural Areas in Europe
by Bill Slee, Robert Lukesch and Elisa Ravazzoli
World 2022, 3(2), 237-259; https://doi.org/10.3390/world3020013 - 7 Apr 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3831
Abstract
In this paper, we explore the idea of social innovation as both a conceptual and practical means of delivering positive social, economic and environmental outcomes in marginal rural areas. Definitions are critically appraised, and the dual contemporary origins of the term social innovation [...] Read more.
In this paper, we explore the idea of social innovation as both a conceptual and practical means of delivering positive social, economic and environmental outcomes in marginal rural areas. Definitions are critically appraised, and the dual contemporary origins of the term social innovation (in management sciences and critical social science) are explored. There has been much conceptual confusion, in particular about the extent to which civil society agency is central or desirable in social innovation. Social innovation can be seen to be closely connected to a range of theories that inform both innovation and rural development, but it lacks a singular theoretical “home”. Social innovation can also have a dark side, which merits scrutiny. Three case studies illustrate social innovation processes and outcomes in different parts of Europe. Where committed actors, local enabling agency and overarching policies align, the outcomes of social innovations can be considerable. If rarely transformational, social innovation has shown itself capable of delivering positive socioeconomic and environmental outcomes in more bounded spatial settings. It seems questionable whether social innovation will survive as an organising and capacity-building concept alongside more established principles, such as community-led local development, which, although not exactly social innovation, is very similar and already firmly embedded in policy guidance or whether it will be replaced by new equally fuzzy ideas, such as the smart village approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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16 pages, 549 KiB  
Article
Three-Dimensional Paradigm of Rural Prosperity: A Feast of Rural Embodiment, Post-Neoliberalism, and Sustainability
by Hassan Shahraki
World 2022, 3(1), 146-161; https://doi.org/10.3390/world3010008 - 1 Mar 2022
Viewed by 3128
Abstract
Each practical action in rural areas should be based on a comprehensive, new, and innovative theoretical paradigm. For nearly three decades, the global economic system has embraced rural entrepreneurship as a “productive” and innovative strategy in rural development in many countries, including both [...] Read more.
Each practical action in rural areas should be based on a comprehensive, new, and innovative theoretical paradigm. For nearly three decades, the global economic system has embraced rural entrepreneurship as a “productive” and innovative strategy in rural development in many countries, including both underdeveloped and developed countries. At present, we have large companies, which due to government development interventions, are replaced with small- and medium-sized businesses under inflexible and extreme entrepreneurialism. The purpose of this conceptual paper is to shed light on the prevailing entrepreneurship practice and discourse, criticize them, and finally introduce a new paradigm known as “paradigm of rural prosperity” (PRP). In this work, Aram Ziai’s theory of skeptical post-development was used, along with Campbell Jones and André Spicer’s critical theory of entrepreneurship and Rosenqvist’s theory of the conceptualization of rurality and rural environment called “hermeneutical realism”. The present paper attempts to base the paradigm of rural prosperity on three pillars of analysis and explanation: (a) rural embodiment, (b) neoliberalism, and (c) concept of sustainability. Although some case studies in Iran have been used as empirical evidence, this paper argues that the paradigm of rural prosperity is universal in nature and can be used in any geographical and cultural context to provide new rural development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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17 pages, 1961 KiB  
Article
Rethinking Rural Development at the Village Level “The Villages of the Future” in France (Bourgogne Franche-Comté Region)
by Marielle Berriet-Solliec, Dany Lapostolle, Denis Lépicier, Gaëtan Mangin and Abdelhak El Mostain
World 2022, 3(1), 69-85; https://doi.org/10.3390/world3010004 - 7 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2820
Abstract
This article relates a transdisciplinary (participatory and interdisciplinary) research experiment conducted in the Territorial Living Lab for Ecological Transition (Burgundy Franche-Comté Region) that has led to constituting transdisciplinary epistemic communities. This research focuses on nine villages in this French region that have been [...] Read more.
This article relates a transdisciplinary (participatory and interdisciplinary) research experiment conducted in the Territorial Living Lab for Ecological Transition (Burgundy Franche-Comté Region) that has led to constituting transdisciplinary epistemic communities. This research focuses on nine villages in this French region that have been selected to experiment with new designs for sustainable territorial development. It is part of an experimental scheme called “Villages of the Future” led by the Regional Council. These villages are less-than-2000-inhabitant municipalities, located in rural areas that are not under urban influence. The starting point is that development models based mainly on consumerism and the accumulation of wealth have shown their limits in a context of social and ecological transition. The implementation of these disciplinary epistemic communities leads to three main results: the passage from the villages’ storytelling to concrete projects, the enlargement of the local sphere of action and finally the impacts in terms of training this community’s stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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Other

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4 pages, 166 KiB  
Opinion
Researching Rural Development: Selected Reflections
by Anthony Michael Fuller
World 2022, 3(4), 1028-1031; https://doi.org/10.3390/world3040058 - 5 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1374
Abstract
Reflections on research can take many forms. They inevitably contain positive memories of research that advanced our knowledge on issues of the day. They can also reflect dead ends and disappointments. Although research in rural development is generally a public endeavor (government, university [...] Read more.
Reflections on research can take many forms. They inevitably contain positive memories of research that advanced our knowledge on issues of the day. They can also reflect dead ends and disappointments. Although research in rural development is generally a public endeavor (government, university and NGO supported projects), the effects felt by the researcher are often personal. Meeting peasants in the field, listening to abused farm women, and tracing livelihood transitions are all challenging for the researcher. Above all, making sense of research results for policy development is a daunting task, as there are many layers of dilution and deflection between researcher and policy maker. With these impediments and opportunities in mind, I offer some of my own reflections, in the form of an opinion piece, on rural development research over the past 50 years. The paper is organized into three parts: macro and micro level observations about the evolution and prevailing trends in rural development, and a third section on contemporary and future issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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