Garden Tiger Moth photographed by Gabor Pozsgai ©This site is no longer being updated.

We have retained it as a reference for future research.

Further information

You are here

Rural responses to climate change: Challenge and opportunity in neoliberal times

Working Group 16: Rural responses to climate change: Challenge and opportunity in neoliberal times

Elizabeth Dinnie [1], Christian Reynolds [2], Jonathan Hopkins [1]

1: The James Hutton Institute, UK; 2: University of Aberdeen, UK

Addressing climate change is one of the greatest societal challenges of neoliberal times. For rural societies climate change presents both opportunities and challenges. Opportunities include re-localisation of services and production through encouragement of small-scale social enterprises such as locally-led initiatives in food growing, renewable energy production, waste and transport. Economic opportunities are influenced by local capacity and also by local and national policies and incentives. They also present challenges to social relations, with increasing public concern about winners and losers, and potential impacts on the natural environment and traditional rural economic activities such as tourism. Rural communities may be more vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change, such as increased risk of flooding or changes in crop production due to changing weather patterns. Fuel poverty is a real concern in rural areas, due to elderly populations, inadequate or hard-to-heat housing, and poor services.

This working group invites submissions looking at the ways in which rural societies across Europe are responding to the challenges and opportunities which climate change presents. We would like to engage scholars and activists in discussions about how rural responses to climate change are affecting and changing rural life, including governance, inclusion, development, and service delivery. Questions addressed in this working group could include:

  • What opportunities does climate change present for rural businesses, agriculture and social enterprise through, for example, the development of renewables or localisation?
  • How do social relations change as a result of responses to climate change or in response to climate change related disasters?
  • The transition movement is based on re-localisation of production and consumption. How does this movement draw on or contradict idealised/normative notions of rurality, identity and community?
  • Do rural communities have the resources and capacity to respond to challenges which climate change presents, or to take opportunities? What additional resources do they need?
  • What is the role of the state in helping rural communities respond to climate change?

We welcome research that addresses these, and other, questions and that adds to our theoretical understanding of how different rural societies are responding to these questions. We welcome traditional formats for presentations and are also open to more participatory sessions that encourage discussion of these issues from different perspectives.