Researching rural conflicts: hunting, local politics and actor-networks

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Conflicts over the definition, production, reproduction and consumption of rurality and rural space have become an increasingly important focus for research in recent years. Researchers have employed a range of conceptual approaches in the analysis of rural conflicts, including pluralism, class theory and regulation theory. This paper explores the potential of an alternative approach, based on the theory of actor-networks developed in the sociology of science. Actor-network theory, its potential contribution to the study of political conflicts, and its possible weaknesses, is outlined before being applied to a case study. The case study, which concerns the attempt by a local authority in south west England to prohibit staghunting on its land, is described in detail, and an actor-network account of the case constructed. The contribution of actor-network theory to researching rural political conflicts is then evaluated and a critique developed around its observed shortcomings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-340
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 1998


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