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02.10 -  Assignment

Revised  Collective Lexicon

I Ruralism
Socio-political movement where people living in rural areas fight for a dignified rural life. Insisting on more attention be given to rural areas as well as inversions, infrastructure, and services. It fights against the emptying of rural areas, and the loss of tangible and intangible culture, livelihoods, and lifestyles that this entails. Ruralism does not designate a single ideology, but it is rather an umbrella term for various ideologies: ranging from rural idealism to re-naturalizing rural areas, to more conservative points of view. With ruralism, we do not refer to traditional ruralist discourses that showed a contrast between the rural (read backwardness, poverty, isolation) and the urban (read modernity and cultural dynamism).

As a conclusion, an especially important distinction is that, contrary to popular imagination, Ruralism does not only designate the stereotype of conservative farmers but can also designate other alternatives to urban life. With this term we want to vindicate the fragmented and diverse reality that is Ruralism.

II New economies
Economic alternatives presented to rural areas in the face of losing traditional livelihoods. These economic policies, in theory, focus on “maintaining vibrant rural areas” in the face of globalization and socio-economic challenges such as depopulation and lack of access to services. The European parliament strives for "stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas and communities” (European Parliament Think Tank, The future of the EU's rural areas). Whilst some honestly aim for the diversification of economies, higher employment rates, or strengthening their position as producers in the larger market, what happens when you lose an entire livelihood?

In our selected case study for instance, we see that Dutch fishermen are having their century old fishing practices taken away, replaced by wind farms or natural spaces. These conditions, as well as the move of food production abroad and the concentration of it in the hands of multinational companies face fishermen with the decline of tradition and livelihood. Van Hamelen (pg. 15-17, 2023) outlines the solutions offered by the government. Notably, selling their land and fishing equipment, subsidies to invest in alternative food sources like insects, lab-grown meat, and other artificial foods. The newness of this economy is the shift from traditional classical industries to technology-enabled industries.

Other solutions like the cultural industry, tourism, artisanry, or merchandising could be more sustainable solutions. But this brings in questions like how can people avoid commodifying and selling their culture? And, with these solutions, are we starting to treat their livelihood as a thing of the past?

III Adaptation
Changes in culture, livelihood, and lifestyle that come along with the emptying of rural areas need a process of adaptation from the residents. This term is closely linked to New Economies, as a form of adaptation to continue life. We argue that adaptation can be a form of displacement from tradition and livelihoods. How do processes like globalization affect the rural world, and how can people effectively adapt without displacing their culture and identity? Visible processes like spatial modifications are also interesting, and how they introduce new dynamics. We can see this in our case study where a dam built in IJsselmeer displaced and profoundly changed the lives of the fishermen living there.  

We want to focus on the agency and resilience of people living in rural areas, and less on government plans and policies. We place local actors center stage when talking about adaptation. Furthermore, through a lens that moves away from cosmopolitan perspectives, we explore what it means to tread the line between adaptation and preserving tradition?

IV Landscape
Preservation of culture or (cultural) landscape, or (natural) landscape. As an umbrella term for protecting and preserving tangible and intangible culture, which unites communities. We see the cultural landscapes of rural areas woven by traditional livelihoods, trade, artisanal products, as well as the inherent identities of those living in specific rural areas. These landscapes also critically designate the urban imaginaries of the rural. In the Landscape term we also designate physical landscapes; an area which is the result of the action and interaction of natural and human factors (Stobbelaar & Pedroli, 2011). It is the perceived uniqueness of a place, it influences life around it, and usually, with their disappearance, comes a loss of identity, and grief.

Thus, with this definition we ask ourselves what happens when a landscape is erased? Who has the power to erase and why?

Works Cited

da Silva Machado, Felipe. Rural Change in the Context of Globalization: Examining Theoretical Issues, www.researchgate.net/publication/315936628_Rural_change_in_the_context_of_globalization_examining_theoretical_issues. 5 Oct. 2023.

Jan Stobbelaar, Derk, and Bas Pedroli. “Perspectives on Landscape Identity: A Conceptual Challenge.” Landscape Research, 23 May 2011, pp. 321–339, https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2011.564860.

Rossi, Rachelle Service, Members’ Research. “The Future of the EU’s Rural Areas.” Epthinktank, Epthinktank, 10 Mar. 2022, epthinktank.eu/2022/03/14/the-future-of-the-eus-rural-areas/.

Van Hamelen, Eleven. Dutch Farmers and Fishermen: Epeoplewho Feed Us - Home.Solari.Com, home.solari.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/2023-Q2-DutchFarmersAndFishermen-v6-1.pdf. Accessed 5 Oct. 2023