Grounding global uncertainties and the relational politics of the rural

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceeding (Non-Journal item)


Rural spaces are central to both the reproduction and the mitigation of many identified 'global uncertainties' - food and water security, competition for natural resources, responses to concerns for energy security, tensions around migrant labour in rural communities, animal to human transmission of disease, and the impact of climate change on agriculture and on the natural environment. Yet, the conceptualisation of the 'rural' in current literature on these global uncertainties tends to be functional and fails to appreciate the complexities of the hybrid rural and the influence of diverse discursive constructs of rurality. As such, it is argued that political responses to global uncertainties risk failure unless they understand and engage with the new relational politics of the rural. Drawing on and developing Amin's (2004) model of the relational politics of place, the paper describes the significance of the identified processes in shaping both a 'politics of propinquity' in which conflicts revolve around the proximity of competing representations of and claims to rural space (including the conflicting demands of response to different 'global uncertainties', for example, food security and energy security), and a 'politics of connectivity' in which the constitution of rural places is entangled in wider networks. Through these entanglements 'global uncertainties' are grounded in specific places, but not localised to them – rather scalar and spatial distances are collapsed as rural and urban politics and global and local politics are blended into inter-dependent relations, contributing to the dynamic and hybrid reproduction of the emergent 'global countryside'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication 2011 Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2011
Event2011 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting - Washington, Seattle, United States of America
Duration: 12 Apr 201116 Apr 2011


Conference2011 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
Abbreviated title2011 AAG
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Period12 Apr 201116 Apr 2011
Internet address


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