Rural lives and rural studies
DOI link for Rural lives and rural studies
Rural lives and rural studies book
Traditionally, agriculture lay at the very centre of rural studies. Most people in rural areas worked in agriculture and agricultural production, and the demands of agricultural production, for tools, services and processing, dominated the rural landscape. To talk of the rural was to talk about agriculture and all that it entailed, spanning the technologies of production through to the politics of land and the distinctive cultures and societies of the countryside. Agriculture, and therefore the countryside, became a place where society and science, culture and economy, and politics and production intersected and interweaved. The Dutch rural sociologist Timmer, in 1949, wrote that the ‘countryside forms, as it were, a stage upon which, for the world, a very important play is performed; this play is called agriculture, and the head role is played by the farmer’ (quoted in Ploeg 1993: 242). Thus for Timmer, and many other scholars of the rural, the countryside was all about agriculture, and in social terms agriculture was all about farmers.