Rural Poverty and Marginalisation

Convenor: Ildikó Asztalos Morell Uppsala University, Sweden

This thematic group aims to gather interested researchers around issues that contribute to the production and reproduction of rural poverty. The transition to post-productive countryside impacted rural spaces in different ways through Europe. Mobility towards urban centra could accommodate those impacted by the access labour released by modernization of agriculture to a larger degree in Northern and Western Europe compared to Southern and Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, desindustrialisation and recurrent economic crises facilitated a kind of counter-selective mobility, especially in Southern and Eastern Europe, which in certain degree led even to international migration from economically more retracting Eastern regions towards the West. The dominating forms of governance within EU encourage development based on local initiatives in the collaboration between state (local municipal), civil society and private (firms) economic agents. However, experiences of such efforts (e.g. LEADER) indicate that local notables succeed in mobilizing the resources, while the exclusion of marginalized groups is further enforced. Marginalizing processes often obtain ethnic features either through structural and cultural discrimination against disadvantaged local ethnic communities or through international migratory processes.

We would need to consolidate a network that would co-operate for promoting research problematizing rural marginalization processes with focus on processes and agents contributing to the production and reproduction of community based and or regional inequalities leading to marginalization and selective poverty, look at the role of EU financed projects and founding in corroborating or reproducing such inequalities, investigate the ethnication of inequalities, gender, migratory and age based differences in inequalities, as well as study alternative forms of resilience, such as the role of civil society movements. It would even of interest to place the issue of social resilience in a broader framework of sustainable development including the aspects of economic and ecological sustainability, the potential role of renewable energy and ecological farming for overcoming marginalization processes in rural areas.

I find it of importance to bring together scholars from North/West to East/South on these issues. Such a network could both function as a forum of discussion, thematic workshops, or could even function as a seed for coming new applications.