Session 4: Geographies of Rural Resistance/s

The processes that rural communities have experienced over the past few decades cut across various forms of transition and transformation: global and local; technological and political; economic and social. This vast rural restructuring has been met with myriad rural responses—and the responses we especially wish to explore in this section can be summed up under the broad meaning of the term “resistance”.


Rural resistances to changes can be progressive or conservative and can be related to modernisation processes of all sorts. They can also, however, be regressive and aimed toward re-traditionalising relations and the radicalisation of discourses of hate. They can respond to global neoliberal interventions by resorting to technological innovation and competitive “agri-excellence”, as well as toward various practices of economic solidarity and community resilience.


In the face of dynamics that currently play out between global processes such as continuous deruralisation, the diminishing number of family farms, and deadly consequences of climate crisis, those who are the least protected will be those who are the most affected. This section intends to politicise a broad scope of issues concerning contemporary rural existences and rural resistances. 


We open this section to papers that combine critical theoretical perspectives with sound empirical research and hope for a rich and fruitful exchange of ideas. We especially invite papers that cross boundaries, both in geographical and in disciplinary terms.



Some of the issues that we hope will be discussed in your papers are:


•        What kind of resistances to rural restructuring and other contemporary processes are there in rural social spaces? Where do these rural resistances stem from and what are their goals? Is the resistance rural-born or is it “imported” from or imposed by the “urban”?

•        How does rural resistance against modernisation processes affect rural communities and their processes of change?

•        Against whom are these resistances directed? Are these actors of grass-roots, civil background, or institutional (something else) and how do they relate to each other? Are their motives and objectives economic, political, social, environmental, or more than one at the same time? How do these different objectives interact and correspond, and how do their collisions or discrepancies impact rural people and communities?

•        What kinds of political strengths do rural resistances require and offer? Is this solely a potential or are rural communities and initiatives already an active force in local, national, and transnational contexts? What sorts of strategies do such rural interventions employ?

•        Are there some unexpected consequences of rural resistances and how they relate to differentiated, heterogeneous rural communities?

•        How do certain types of rural resistances impact and shape the symbolic construction of the community in question? What “types” of cultural resources are used in creating rural resistances? What “kinds” of local identities/identifications are created by these processes of resistance and how do they affect them?

•        How does research tackle these issues? What are examples of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches in investigating rural resistances? How do rural communities benefit from such research?




Saturnino M. Borras Jr, Marc Edelman and Cristóbal Kay, eds. (2008) Transnational Agrarian Movements Confronting Globalization. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ian Scoones, Marc Edelman, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Ruth Hall, Wendy Wolford & Ben White (2017): Emancipatory rural politics: confronting authoritarian populism. The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2017.1339693

D. Strijker, G. Voerman, , I. J. Terluin, eds. (2015) Rural protest groups and populist political parties. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Ruth Wodak (2015) The Politics of Fear: What Right-wing Populist Discourses Mean. London: Sage.

Natalia Mamonova (2015) Resistance or adaptation? Ukrainian peasants’ responses to large-scale land acquisitions. The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 42, no. 3-4, p. 607-634.

Peter Rosset (2013) Re-thinking agrarian reform, land and territory in La Via Campesina. The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 40, No. 4, p. 721-775.

Bernhard Forchtner (2019) Nation, nature, purity: extreme-right biodiversity in Germany. Patterns of Prejudice, 53:3, 285-301, DOI: 10.1080/0031322X.2019.1592303

Erica von Essen, Hans Peter Hansen, Helena Nordström Källström, M. Nils Peterson, Tarla R. Peterson (2015) The radicalisation of rural resistance: How hunting counterpublics in the Nordic countries contribute to illegal hunting. Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 39, p. 199-2009.

Anthony Pahnke, Rebecca Tarlau & Wendy Wolford (2015) Understanding rural resistance: contemporary mobilization in the Brazilian countryside. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 42:6, 1069-1085, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2015.1046447

Cohen, Anthony P. 1985. The Symbolic Construction of Community; London, New York, Routledge

Hall, Stuart (ed) 2003 (1997). Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, Sage Publications; London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi.