Rural Populism: New Emerging Political Geographies of the Rural

Populism has become a major topic in academic and public debates and has been linked by some commentators to issues of rural decline and (perceived) marginalisation. Whilst a simple rural/urban dichotomy is not able to account for the success of far-right populism, the question how the various transformations of rural regions, changing imaginations of rurality and the increasingly hybrid character of rural space is affecting (and is effected by) populist movements poses an important challenge for rural as well as political geography. Is there a certain form of “rural populism”, what are “rural” dimensions of populist movements and what roles does the “rural” play in the ideology of the far right? This session explores populism and its alternatives in rural contexts, including questions around rural-urban dynamics in elections and social movement mobilisation; different forms of agricultural, infrastructural and regionalist populism, and examples of left populism in rural areas; settlement strategies of the far-right, using rural locations as a base for activities; representations of the rural used by populist movements; experiences of populism and its affects by diverse rural populations; and initiatives to counter populism in rural communities and to articulate alternative political visions for the countryside

Session Conveners Michael Wood and Matthias Naumann