Rural Development in the Digital Age explores current theoretical and policy developments in EU rural policy during the 4.0 period. The book offers an analysis of the contradictory and complex drivers and multiple impacts of Period 4.0 policy within the specific territorial context of its implementation. It is commonly agreed within academic and policy circles that the contexts, trends, drivers and impacts which are currently morphing have the potential to determine the nature and boundaries of rural areas in the longer-term.

The authors examine inconsistencies in the design and implementation of EU rural development policy driven largely by intensifying neo-productivist pressures. The importance and novelty of the book lie in defining and critically examining the territorial impacts of neo-productivism as an ideology, a practice and a set of policy imperatives during the EU’s 2014-2020 programming period. The authors argue that such a paradigm shift in EU rural policy may reduce its effectiveness and ability to meet its goals of balanced territorial development and cohesion.

This book will be of interest to advanced students, researchers and policymakers in rural policy, regional studies, economic geography and EU policy.

part I|2 pages


chapter 1|10 pages

Introduction to the concept of this book

part II|2 pages

Rural studies in Period 4.0 – theoretical departures

chapter 2|21 pages

Defining rural areas

15A never-ending exercise?

chapter 5|16 pages

The policy context

Development paradigm of or stabilisation of rural areas?

chapter 6|3 pages

Partial conclusion

part III|2 pages

Territorial drivers of Rural Development 4.0

chapter 7|16 pages

Digital rural regions

91Infrastructure and agenda

chapter 8|11 pages

Public services in the countryside

Context, problems and relevant policy-making

chapter 9|19 pages

The role of human resources in Period 4.0

Challenges of rural labour markets, education and training, and territorial specifics of EU countries

chapter 10|21 pages

Territorial urban-rural links

New trends and drivers of regional development

chapter 11|3 pages

Partial conclusion

part IV|2 pages

The neo-productivist paradigm of rural development policy – challenges ahead

chapter 12|16 pages

Rural studies and rural development policy

163A complex, charged and contradictory nexus

chapter 16|2 pages

Partial conclusion

part V|7 pages