Country Visions: Knowing The Rural World

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9780130896018: Country Visions: Knowing The Rural World

Country Visions is a highly readable, challenging and incisive collection of essays, exploring different ways of knowing rurality; of understanding the countryside. The essays suggest that we must go beyond cultural constructions of rural idyll and their accompanying political, cultural and theoretical orthodoxies, which risk both "purification" of transgressive presences and practices, and ignorance of significant agency and performance. It begs questions about how to read, analyse and write about the country; about how the countryside works for its actors; and how it might work better in the future.

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Country Visions

is a highly readable, challenging and incisive collection of essays, exploring different ways of knowing rurality; of understanding the countryside. The essays suggest that we must go beyond cultural constructions of rural idyll and their accompanying political, cultural and theoretical orthodoxies, which risk both "purification" of transgressive presences and practices, and ignorance of significant agency and performance.

Country Visions re-views the countryside as heterogeneous, dynamic and often dystopic. It is an authoritative and engaging collection, emphasising that rural areas are not just known differently, they are also performed differently.

Country Visions can be read as a running debate, as a series of glimpses into the nature of rural areas, each carrying a different understanding of what can be known, and what should be known. Essayists explore the different ways in which rural areas are :

Represented and idyllised

Known and understood through practice and performance

Envisioned as theoretical and political arenas

It begs questions about how to read, analyse and write about the country; about how the countryside works for its actors; and how it might work better in the future.

Paul Cloke is Professor of Geography at Bristol University, and Founder Editor of Journal of Rural Studies.

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