This week in Trodheim Norway, the XXVIII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress will be taking place and CCRI researchers Damian Maye, Hannah Chiswell and Matt Reed will be travelling to the central Norwegian city which is considered the historic capital of the country.

The theme for the conference is ‘rural futures in a complex world’ and seeks to explore these futures in Europe as we move through the 21st century. Rural areas face many challenges such as climate change, migration, ageing, depopulation, technological innovations and urbanisation. As not all rural areas are alike with some close to urban centres and are embedded within a wider hinterland, while others are extremely remote, often struggling to survive. Therefore the success of rural areas varies significantly, some evolving naturally and adapt, while others rely on external forces to drive change. The conference has identified three elements which will be the focus for the event and will ultimately inform and direct future rural studies.

  • Innovation, artificial intelligence and digitisation
  • Social justice and rural spaces and places
  • Knowledge production, policymaking and research agendas

The full programme can be downloaded from the conference website.

Damian will be presenting on Wednesday morning a paper on ‘meaty ethics’ where he present new research on ‘sustainable meat’. Damian, who recently touched upon this topic in his inaugural lecture said “I present some new analysis of media and social media data on ‘sustainable meat’ and compare it with narratives emerging in the academic literature re plant-based diet, sustainable meat and lab meat. The media data suggests the issues are more complex / interrelated rather than discrete , polarised narratives. More recent data also shows how meat is now increasingly linked to climate change.”

Hannah, who has travelled from Sicily where she was presenting findings from the AgriDemo-F2F project will present a paper entitled ‘Present realities’ and the need for a ‘lived experience’ perspective in Brexit agri-food governance’ on Thursday afternoon. The paper was part of a journal special edition which has recently gone to press to be published as a book. Hannah said

“I’ve been lucky enough to go to every ESRS conference since starting in academia. In 2012 I attended their PhD summer school in Finland so it’s been great to continue to be involved as I’ve developed the early stages of my research career.”

“This particular working group is a panel discussion which is a little bit different to the traditional presentation sessions I’ve been involved in in the past. It’ll be great to be able to open up the discussion to the audience and get their input on our thinking. The panel is quite varied too with participants from Europe and beyond so it’ll be nice to hear different perspectives and experiences from around the globe. Although a UK-based issue, the impacts of Brexit will not be exclusively felt in the UK, particularly in terms of trade relations. I anticipate the session will provide opportunity to consider Brexit at a broader geographic scale.”

Matt will be presenting two papers at the four day event. On Wednesday morning he will present  ‘Citizen-led innovation: social media, con-joined rural spaces and social haptics’. This paper considers two examples of co-innovation by citizens, spanning rural and urban areas to develop innovations that are citizen-led.

On Thursday morning, he will present ‘The future is participation: Charting the waves of the global organic movement’.  This paper sets out to explore the ‘waves’ of the organic movement, starting from its emergence in the late nineteenth century through to its latest configuration around the ‘Organic 3.0’ document. In doing so, it starts with an account of how scholars have understood the development of social movements, including periods of repeated mobilisation and contestation. While there is a consideration of the history of the movement, sufficient to characterise the earlier waves of the movement the focus of this work is on the current wave and how that may develop.

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