Community resilience and agency within the rural assemblage

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
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Award date2018
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Abstract

Rural change and the ability of farming communities to respond and withstand change is a topic of ongoing concern in the current research agenda. ‘Rural community resilience’ is a concept that has become a core theme of academic, policy and lay discourses discussing dynamics of rural change, widely associated with community studies and allied to notions of social capital. This work reviews approaches to community relations developed within community studies and social capital scholarship, and suggests that the relational agency of the network ties might also be explored through the application of an assemblage approach. However, and unlike many previous approaches to community resilience that use the concept in a normative way and which understandably highlight agency of social relations, this research has been constructed in such a way that network ties established through day-to-day community practices are characterized both vital and far from passive. Developing this current line of thinking in rural studies, this project argues that more-than-social agency evoked by relations between human and non-human components of the rural assemblage is an important factor affecting community resilience. The empirical research feeds from two case studies and gathers evidence from two distinctive agricultural communities of Hungary and Wales, whilst also recognizing similarities in the context of globalization. It argues that rural community resilience lies in relations between the humans, the land and the agricultural commodities.

Keywords

  • Hungary, Wales, watermelon, sheep, farmers, farming, community resilience