Language struggles: Representations of the countryside and the city in an era of mobilities

Menelaos Gkartzios, Kyriaki Remoundou

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This paper stresses the role of language in rural studies research. It does so by exploring conceptualisations of the city and the countryside in a period of mobility transformations and economic crisis in Greece. We use survey data from open-ended questions asking respondents to provide words they associate with the ‘village’, the ‘city’ and the ‘eparchy’, a term for non-metropolitan spaces of regional scale used in the Greek language. The survey was implemented to a sample of 300 residents in the city of Athens, and 300 residents in two regional towns in Greece. Our results demonstrate negative associations with the city and generally positive images attached to non-metropolitan settings, a finding that is important in contexts similar to Greece, where the ‘rural idyll’ has been far from a hegemonic discourse. Furthermore, we advocate the use of indigenous and informal narratives of rurality, such as the ‘eparchy’, for contextualising rural spatialities and development narratives, in the context of rural mobility, and wider, rural social research. Such terms are particularly powerful because their use in international platforms unequivocally challenges, and resists, the dominance of Anglophone research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Early online date30 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2018


  • language
  • rurality
  • mobilities
  • crisis
  • Greece
  • counterurbanisation


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