ESRS 2022 Satellite Events: Far apart but still close together!

“Just Rural Transitions: Opportunities and Challenges”

You are welcome to watch – on your own time – the following videos:

Building a sense of community and just rural transitions by President EC – Joost Dessein, Dep. Agricultural Economics, Ghent University (Moderators from the SC: Annette Aagaard Thuesen and Majda Černič Istenič)

“Meet the editors of Sociologia Ruralis” Ruth McAreavey, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University & Apostolos Papadopoulos, Department of Geography, Harokopio University (Moderator: Maria Partalidou President of the SC)

Don’t miss the two common on line events under the Just Rural Transitions: Opportunities & Challenges theme

22nd of June 9.30-10.30 CET

Short 3’ welcome by Maria Partalidou President of the SC 

“Transdisciplinarity and the Powers of Modernity: Colonisation, Agricultural Science and the Ontological Effect of Modernist Farming”.  By Prof Hugh Campbell, NEW ZEALAND, Chair in Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of Otago. Moderator from the SC: Jérémie Forney

23rd of June 16.00-17.00 CET 

“Questioning  neoliberal promises for a better future: Experiences from rural areas in Central Eastern Europe” by Dr. Bianka Plusche-Altof  ESTONIA, Researcher and Lecturer University of Tartu and Tallinn University. Moderator  from the SC: Pavel Pospech

17.00-17.20 CET Short closing up- Moderator from the SC: Mikelis Grivins  

Satellite events

Satellite No.Local OrganizerPlaceProgramme
1Harokopio University of AthensChania, Greecedownload
2Natural Resources InstituteTurku, South-West, Finlanddownload
3Teagasc’s Natural Resources InstituteDublin, Irelanddownload
4James Hutton InstituteAberdeen, Scotland UKdownload
5Bern University of Applied SciencesZollikofen, Switzerlanddownload
6Linnaeus UniversityAvesta in Dalarna, Sweden
7International Institute of Social StudiesHague, The Nedherlandscancelled
8Northumbria UniversityNewcastle, United Kingdomdownload
9Middle East Technical UniversityAnkara, Turkeydownload
10University of Natural Resources and Life SciencesVienna, Austriadownload
11Riga Baltic Studies CentreRiga, Latvia

Scientific Committee

(chair) Dr. Maria Partalidou, GREECE 

Associate Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics,,

Her research focuses on social inequalities in the rural, hidden homelessness and poverty trajectories but also social-solidarity economy and the foodshed, multifunctionality, rural tourism and urban agriculture. She has worked in several EU and national research projects engaging in crosscutting disciplines and participatory action research. Currently she is part of the national research group for the new National Strategic Plan under the future CAP  (thematic groups for Community-led Local Development and AKIS). 

Dr. Jérémie Forney, SWITZERLAND

Assistant Professor at the Anthropology Institute of the University of Neuchâtel.,

His research has developed from an ethnography of family farmers and their adaptation to political and economic changes, in Switzerland and New Zealand, to a wider and comparative approach of the governance of agri-food systems, with a particular focus on environmental issues. Recently, he has engaged in research on the use and impact of digital technologies in the governance of agriculture. In this context, he coordinates the ESRS Research and Study group on Digital Agriculture and Smart Foodscapes.

Dr. Pavel Pospech, CZECH REPUBLIC

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology of the Masaryk University in Brno & Faculty Fellow of the Yale University Center for Cultural Sociology,

His research interests lie at the intersections of rural sociology, cultural sociology, urban sociology and sociological theory. He is particularly interested in the images of rurality and their role in contemporary societies. Pavel’s works have appeared in the Journal of Rural Studies, Space and Culture, European Journal of Social Theory, American Journal of Cultural Sociology and other outlets. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Sociální studia / Social Studies.

Dr. Mikelis Grivins, LATVIA 

Senior Researcher at Baltic Studies Centre,, 

His recent work addresses issues related to agri-food systems, small scale farming, foraging and wild products, synergies between agriculture and forestry, financialization and digitalisation of agriculture and food systems. He is the author and co-author of scientific articles published in Journal of Rural Studies, Sociologia Ruralis, and Agriculture and Human Values. He has also participated in several FP7, H2020, regional and national research projects. Mikelis is chairing Latvian Sociological Association. He is the elected member of Committee of Experts of the Latvian Council of Science and member of the national committee of experts of H2020.

Dr. Majda Černič Istenič, SLOVENIA 

Associate Professor of sociology at the University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Agronomy Department and Senior Researcher Fellow at Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts,,

Her recent research work encompasses the issues of gender, intergenerational  relations  and  ageing  in  rural  contexts,  knowledge  exchange  in  agriculture, urban agriculture and the well-being of farm populations. She has been the author and co-author of many scientific articles, book chapters and conferences’ contributions in the fields indicated above. She participated in several research projects related to rural development, agriculture and gender issues. She was the member of many professional bodies; recently she was appointed as the member of the Council of Rural Women at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in Slovenia.

Dr. Annette Aagaard Thuesen, DENMARK 

Assistant Professor at the Danish Centre for Rural Research at the University of Southern Denmark in Esbjerg.,

Her current research lies in community initiated health initiatives, village plans, EU rural development programs/LEADER, sub-municipal local council organization, democracy, planning processes. She is currently working on externally financed projects related to local engagement and community around nature and outdoor life, as well as the relationship between local councils/local community associations and the municipality. Building on democratic network governance, partnership organising, interactive governance, meta-governance, participative democracy, social innovation and institutional capacity. 

Dr. Ruth McAreavey, UK 

Reader, Sociology, Newcastle University,,

Her research focuses on migration, particularly to regional and rural areas, inequalities faced by migrants in the labour market and in other parts of everyday life. She has published extensively on rural development she is an active member of various international research networks including the Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network and the European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS). She is currently co-editor of Sociologia Ruralis.

“Just Rural Transitions: Opportunities and Challenges”

Societal, environmental and economic transitions towards new rural regimes are not without opportunities and challenges especially when issues of justice and democracy are put into the frame. The COVID-19 crisis has shed light on the inequalities that rural areas were already struggling with and has made more visible the need to stimulate narratives of systemic changes and just rural transitions. Rural areas are facing difficult dilemmas about their future, echoing wider issues of conflict, access to resources, knowledge and resilience to external shocks. But any transition to a desired future does not come without critical dilemmas such as family/peasant farming or corporate farming; risky, or ethically responsible labour; rural areas as places of production or places of consumption and multifunctional land consolidation; agroecology or industrial agriculture; long or short food supply chains; agribashing or rightful critic of agri-food systems; monopoly power or community control; local knowledge or outside expertise. Choices made for the aforementioned dilemmas have a strong territorial dimension. They have significant implications for crisis management and policy-state responses and entail a multi-level coordination of rural actors.  

To this end, the ESRS 2022 congress brings to the fore questions that encapsulate contemporary and future debates and will be of interest to rural research communities: 

  • What is a just system? What do we mean by just rural transitions and what are the challenges of achieving this? 
  • What are the key principles underpinning just transitions?
  • What kind of just transitions are emerging? Who is implicated in these transitions? Who decides and who is affected? Who wins and who loses?
  • How does knowledge production and knowledge communication influence just rural transitions? 
  • Where can we expect these transitions to lead us? What does the expected future look like? How will rural areas react after a global shock?

During the ESRS2022 Congress, we will have the opportunity to address these critical questions through three discourse strands: Analysing the current situation and (re)framing the present; reflecting on the transition pathways and the role of transdisciplinary knowledge; and identifying a desired future(s).

  • (Re)Framing the Present. 

Current systems of production (farming-forestry-fishery etc) and consumption are contested. Critical discussion on the current state of play will bring together local, national and international experiences. We anticipate reflections on (but not limited to): rural livelihoods; different welfare states response to crisis; diverse agricultures; old and emerging farm resistance movements against injustice; just labour markets and relations on farms/rural businesses; the rural-urban divide and its cultural re-invention by social movements; populist politics; structural injustices and inequalities in access to infrastructures, mobility, social and (mental) health care services for the rural populations; rural poverty; job quality in rural areas; land grabbing, green grabbing and the politics of extraction; access to resources; post-productivism, rural tourism; structure of ecosystem services and role of forestry.  

  • Transdisciplinary Knowledge production, Ethics and Just Transitions.  

When visioning and planning for a just future, knowledge is crucial for enacting changes in large systems. The question of what to study and how knowledge is used to inform policy makers is important. How do we actually provide evidence and communicate knowledge in order to make a difference? How do policymakers and researchers engage with each other? How do we measure the asymmetric impact of a crisis? What means do we have to generate knowledge? Who is generating knowledge and how is knowledge diffused within our networks? Knowledge by and for whom? What are the ethical choices to be made? How do we educate the new generations of scholars/rural sociologists/people? In other words, we need to find ways to discuss rural transitions through the lens of knowledge, knowledge exchange and ethics. 

  • Desired Futures. 

To build a just future we must recognise steps, opportunities, drivers and emerging solutions to the challenges faced by rural communities, by all those who live and work in rural areas and challenges that the natural environment is facing. Alongside a myriad of concerns that will support the creation of a just future society, the following questions are relevant: To what extent does existing discourse on the rural-urban divide contribute to societal polarisation? What other developments are there in the cultural re-invention of rurality? (commodification of the rural, rural marketing etc.) What synergies and collaboration between rural and urban areas might be nurtured in the future? How will our rural communities be organised – smart villages; state control or more cohesive local communities? How will our food future look like? How can we advocate on justice beyond humans: veganism, animal rights, and multispecies assemblages? What is the relationship between power, wealth, and data; ownership of tools; digital ruralities and agri-foodscapes? What is the role of regenerative practices and financialisation? Can we achieve climate or environmental justice? What capacity do rural areas have to deal with a global shock?