Citizenships, Contingency and the Countryside: Rights, Culture, Land and the Environment

Citizenships, Contingency and the Countryside: Rights, Culture, Land and the Environment

Citizenships, Contingency and the Countryside: Rights, Culture, Land and the Environment

Citizenships, Contingency and the Countryside: Rights, Culture, Land and the Environment

Synopsis

This volume explores a widened conceptualization of citizenship and sets out examples where citizenship has been expressed in and over the rural environment.

Excerpt

In this book, citizenship as a concept is examined and applied in relation to rural politics, land and aspects of culture. In some senses this is a wide focus, in others it is a rather specific one. Citizenship is used as a cornerstone to explore changing society and culture and the changing countryside, and consequently also to explore the changing nature of citizenship itself. This is important, as citizenship can be seen as the way in which individuals engage politically and define the relations between individuals and all structures, not only nation-states and governments. As a consequence of this approach, the specifics of particular land uses, about economic activity, individual groups, or about any one particular locality in rural Britain, are intentionally not covered comprehensively. Instead, a new means of looking at citizenship - through the contestation of rural space and the brokerage of power between citizens and various groups of stakeholders - is introduced in theoretical and historical terms and through the use of case-study examples. The book should be seen as an excursus that holds important ramifications for 'rural' studies - even as far as problematising further the notion of a discrete category of rural.

It is argued that the need to look outwards and beyond any particular academic discipline is perhaps more necessary now than at any time in the past, because of the complexity that the information age brings (see Castells, 1997) and associated globalisation, but also from such notions as joined-up-ness that have been promulgated by academics and politicians during the 1990s. Such an epistemological and political context allows for a fresh commentary to be provided here about the category 'rural' and contestations over its form, content, meaning and trajectory(ies).

Following the quotation from Hazlitt used as an epigraph, the book's title has been chosen carefully; the book is about citizenship not only in the countryside but of the countryside. It is about competing definitions, imaginations and versions of history, alternative claims and attempts to hegemonise rural affairs and territorialise spaces. As a result of the approach taken, this book can be seen as a multidisciplinary synthesis, itself a reflexive hybrid drawing from political theory, cultural geography, social history, legal studies, town planning and land economy. These eclectic sources have

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