HomeThe rural Renaissance from one century to the next?

The rural Renaissance from one century to the next?

La Renaissance rurale d’un siècle à l’autre ?

Die ländliche Renaissance von einem Jahrhundert zum nächsten?

¿El renacimiento rural de un siglo al otro?

Rural study days 2016 - 25 years of rural dynamics

Journées Rurales 2016 – 25 ans de Dynamiques Rurales

Ländliche Tage 2016 – 25 Jahre „Laboratoire Dynamiques Rurales“

Jornadas Rurales 2016 – 25 años de « Dynamiques Rurales »

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Published on mardi, novembre 10, 2015 by João Fernandes


La parution de « La renaissance rurale » et la naissance du laboratoire « Dynamiques Rurales » sont quasiment concomitantes. Un quart de siècle plus tard, quel sort faisons-nous à « La renaissance rurale » ? L’objectif n’est pas tant de reprendre la polémique entre les tenants de la crise rurale et de sa disparition programmée, opposés aux tenants d’une renaissance rurale aux accents parfois localistes et militants. Il s’agit plutôt de revenir sur le fond, sur le projet qui a guidé l’ouvrage : une tentative de synthèse des réflexions des années 1970 et 1980 en vue de refonder l’objet « rural », de donner les grands axes d’un modèle de compréhension d’un rapport société – espace. Qu’en est-il aujourd’hui de ce projet ? Dans l’objectif de construire un bilan et des perspectives, nous proposons de centrer le colloque sur des points de controverse qui ont animé les études rurales durant ces dernières décennies.



On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the laboratory ‘Dynamiques Rurales’, an international and multidisciplinary Symposium will be held in Toulouse from 23 to 27 May 2016. This Symposium will be coupled with the 2016 Journées Rurales (Rural Days) of the French Commission of Rural Geography (French National Committee of Geography). This double event calls for contributions from the entire range of social and human sciences which deal with ruralities (geography, sociology, economics, anthropology, management, law, audiovisual studies…), reflecting the ‘Dynamiques Rurales’ own dialogue among all the disciplines represented in the laboratory. This event provides for an opportunity to develop collaboration with both historical ‘Dynamiques Rurales’ partners, especially in Latin America and Africa, and the counterparts of the French Commission of Rural Geography in various European countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal, United-Kingdom…), as part of the European Network of Rural Geography.

The publication of “Rural renaissance” (B. Kayser, 1990) and the launching of the laboratory ‘Dynamiques Rurales’ in 1991 are almost concomitant. A quarter of a century later, how do we deal with the “Rural renaissance”? The aim is not so much to feed the controversy between the advocates of the rural crisis and its disappearance and those who argue for a rural renaissance and who very often adopt a localistic and activist approach. Rather it is to return to the problematical basis, to the initial project which has guided the publication: an attempt to synthetize the reflections of the 1970s and 1980s in order to reform the “rural” object, to give the main axes of a comprehensive model of a society-space relation. What is the present situation with regard to this project?

Main themes

With the aim of building an assessment and perspectives, we propose to focus the Symposium on the controversial issues that have been at the core of rural studies in the recent decades, and build it around the three following thematic axes:


Relying on numerous studies, B.Kayser observed a reversal in the demographic trend from the 1970s: The European and North American countryside was becoming more and more populated. Not only was the author talking of the periurbanization phenomenon –whose scale kept on increasing since then, but more broadly a “rural renaissance”. The village society, the locality, considered as a specific organization of global phenomena, was undergoing fundamental changes, in terms of economic activities, social groups and cultural practices.

Since then, from “rural resettlement” to the residential economy, from the “reconfiguration of village society” to the “mobility transition”, from “village culture ” to territorial marketing, the mutations observed are significant and call to a deep renewal of different categories which can be used to report these changes.

Nowadays, as part of the “global village”, are we at a stage of a standardization of the uses and users of the agricultural and less populated spaces? The everyday spatial practices of the actors, combined with the strength of social representations contribute to the alteration and labeling of territories (M. De Certeau, 1990, G. Di Méo, 1996, N. Mathieu, 1998, J. Viard, 1996). In particular, the spatial categories of “urban” and “rural” and their uses evolve in a diffuse manner because they are put into practice, and those transformations raise several questions related to:

- What has changed in the city-campaign relationship: Do the relations exist today as hybridization rather than an interdependent relation? Don’t we not also observe unrivaled circulation of norms from urban to rural areas as well as from rural to urban areas?

- The validity of the “urban vs rural” reading grid: Is the social position more effective in order to explain the different settlement patterns and reconfigurations of spatial practices between inhabitants from the so-called urban, suburban and rural territories?

- The relentless standardization of the socio-spatial practices that would be freed of territorial differences: even if there is a convergence, can we not observe some nuances between urban and rural? These latest can be related to the forms of mobility, to the relationship to nature, relationship to work, supply and transport models as well as to the relation to the numerical technologies.


« The rural Renaissance » was all about a contrasted picture of the great transformation of agriculture, one which would have led to the end of peasants and seen the arrival of agricultural business leaders of agricultural enterprises. The statement of the vast dynamics diversity in the Northern countries was linked to the analysis in the South of a “comeback of the peasants” (M. Haubert, 1991) and the transformation from food crops to commercial crops stimulated by a huge growth in urban demand (J-L Chaléard, 1996). Nowadays, are we still observing the eternal comeback of the peasants or the inevitable perennial coexistence between different agricultural models? Whereas in a context of rural exodus and agricultural modernization, the 20th century gave birth to several studies related to the preservation of the peasantry, currently, the contributions based on the coexistence and hybridization between different modes of agricultural production are snowballing. Three main analytical categories can be differentiated though: the ideal type of family farming, along with peasant agriculture and agribusiness. Do the field observations and the broadening of perspectives encourage the distinguishing in a finer way of the diversity which exists within each of the different categories? Do they have a particular propensity - hereafter the conflicts of resource appropriation - to develop new forms of hybridization and complementarity, in terms of space, markets and through their relationships with the final consumer?

This questioning relates to channels organizationand the spaces of production. In many cases, the productive spaces are challenged by extended channels: thanks to the multi-territoriality of the players, how do the economic and financial logics – which guide the agricultural models to achieve economies of scale, productive optimization and insertion in the globalized value chains – have structural effects on rural territories and impacts on the rural-urban linkage? Many other cases (and sometimes the same ones) question the repositioning of agri-food production that somehow is linked to the territory: the geographical indications and the valorization of terroir continue to expand, but are they not challenged by other forms of territorialization? These latest meet with new demands, concerning the method of production (organic, animal welfare…), citizenship (fair trade, relocation of the economy through short circuits), political ownership (territorial brands, market…) or new practices (oenotourism, flavor travels/paths/itinerary…). What are the globalized dynamics of circulations, hybridizations and interbreeding that lead to new combinations of territorially anchored resources, and even to a redefinition of what makes a “resource” in a rural space? The analysis can be substantially different according to the type of production studied. As “Dynamiques Rurales” is one of the members of the Vino Varietas research network, particular attention will be granted to proposals regarding vine and wine, with the aim of dedicating one workshop to the latter during the Symposium.

More broadly, even if the resources located in rural areas (land, water, mineral, energy, etc.) have always been coveted and have been privileged objects of research; their actual valorization raises major key issues. Indeed, it induces a very fast connection to the world from rural spaces that have so-far been marginalized. With the scope of the extractive or productive projects and the new rural-urban links that the latest generate, it questions the role of investments in rural areas that are ordered from urban centers. These activities often involve globalized stakeholders supported and backed up by national authorities in the concerned rural areas. These stakeholders tend to be rejected by the local populations who denounce the damaging consequences and the increase in socio-spatial inequalities.

The purpose is to analyze the game played by the various players (private, public, collective), the relationships around and among spaces (product/productive, ordered/commander, consumed/consuming, etc.) and scales (local, regional, national, global), which participate to define the future of rural spaces (and their cities) of which the resources are both sources of conflicts and profits, according to the existing power relationships of coexistence and/or co-action.


« The rural renaissance » emphasized two scales of analysis: on one hand, a comprehensive overview of rural development policies in some countries which highlighted the predominance of the state framework. On the other hand, the craze of multiple actors to spur endogenous, self-centered and bottom-up development, which led the author to postulate“the transition, in one decade, of the general hypothesis (generally implied) of an anachronistic local power, subject to external forces, rather fictive, to the one of a power with real capacities for initiatives and decisions, with a tendency to revitalization”.

Are we nowadays facing disenchanted consequences when it comes to local development? From the “rediscovered locality” described yesterday to the “inter-territoriality” pursued today, the debates around the invention, production and control of rurality in public policies, from local to global scales, are still there:

- What is the relevance of the inherited territories? In their constant research of an optimum territorial development, do the land planners efficiently advocate the inherited territories… which would nevertheless continuously replicate themselves with considerable continuities? In Northern countries, with for example the decentralization of the European policies, as in the South with the decentralization program going on in several countries, in the context of globalization, land management which is fundamentally a state affair, the reflection on territorial equality (Ph. Estèbe, 2015, M. Vanier, 2008), is renewed and requires new approaches of politics (D. Constant-Martin, 2010).

- Beyond the presumed standardization of public policies, does field research evidence the replication of differentiated practices between urban and rural areas? What are their strengths? Is the public treatment of rural areas only summed up by the existing struggles for places (M. Lussault, 2009)? Are the terms of this struggle really renewed at each territorial upheaval, for example with the actual territorial reform going on in France?

- Neither individual property nor public goods, considered once as doomed to disappear, are the common goods the way of the future for the low density spaces and/or fragile ecosystems management? What is their role in the definition of the global functions of rurality? More broadly, who are the actors and the collective governance systems being reinvented nowadays when public action is lacking? What are the forms of political reappropriation at the local level?

- In a context of intensification of rural-urban interactions (increase of residential mobility, multiplication of material and immaterial exchanges, reinforcement of inter-territorial policies) which question the pertinence of the “urban-rural” category, new forms of dialogue between urban and rural territories represent a new field of investigation. Similarly, beyond the public system which nowadays promotes rural-urban cooperation and the thematic approaches that the latter may lead to favor, the objective is to understand how the hybridization between urban and rural is building, through concrete local action that can be institutional but also more informal (R. Pasquier et al. 2007), seen through its objectives, its operational declinations and forms of action by the local actors (V. Dubois 2009).

Whether it comes to the use, resources or governance, particular attention will be given in each of the previous axes to transverse themes: the epistemological reflection, training challenges and development of new skills, the evolution of relationships between society and nature, the inclusion of gender relations to read the evolution of the different forms of rurality.

Submission guidelines

The proposals (communication or poster) must be submitted by

January 10, 2016

Address for sending proposals by mail : <rural.conference@univ-tlse2.fr>

Each proposal for communication must contain: the authors’ names and surnames (the details of the author who will present should be written in bold), position, affiliation, laboratory, e-mail, phone number, postal address, key words, title and text, and the axis of the Symposium in which the proposal fits. The abstract should not be longer than 3,000 characters including spaces (Times New Roman font, 12 pt, single line spacing). The abstract will necessarily specify the problematic, the methodology (including the fieldwork(s) selected for the empirical approaches) and the main results which will be subject to discussion. The essential components of the proposal may be discussed among all the scientific committee members and therefore should not be confidential.

All authors will be notified of their proposal’ selection at the end of January 2016 and will have to send their written final document, or failing that, a long summary by the end of April 2016 for the distribution of a pre-collection of conference proceedings to the Symposium participants (on a flash drive), in order to facilitate the discussions and debates.

Papers will be presented in one of the four languages of the Symposium, and some instructions will be given regarding the possibility to present French/English bilingual slideshows.

After the Symposium, the authors will have until September 20, 2016 to submit revised texts for publication, which will be considered by the scientific committee as folders, submitted to peer-reviewed journals or as collective works submitted to reputable scientific publishers, taking into account the different themes and the language choice of each author. The scientific committee members do not guarantee that any publication will be printed but will notify the authors at the end of 2016 of the offer made to them, subject to favorable opinions of the solicited journals and publishers’ external reviewers.

For a poster proposal, the required information is the same as for the communication proposals. Please indicate on the letterhead “proposal for poster”. Dimensions should not exceed 120cm height by 90cm width.


The “Journées Rurales 2016” will be the occasion to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Dynamiques Rurales” laboratory. Therefore, the proposed program will be transversal, introducing different key strengths of this laboratory: the interdisciplinarity, the work undertaken both in North and South countries, the emphasis on training, including doctoral training. Specific activities for PhD students are being prepared (“PhD times” divided into three parts). The reflection on the different methods and especially on the filmic writing – which is another major strength of “Dynamiques Rurales” – will be the subject of a specific session.

May, 23rd

- Morning : 4 or possibly 5 parallel workshops, each of them initiated by one conference

- Afternoon : 4 or even 5 parallel workshops

- PhD time + documentary film on the evolution of Dynamiques Rurales’ Doctors (part 1)

- Perspectives sharing on some of the130 thesis defended in Dynamiques

May, 24th

- Morning: plenary conference – epistemological reflection on « ruralities »

- Afternoon : 4 or even 5 parallel workshops

- PhD time + documentary film on the evolution of Dynamiques Rurales’ Doctors (part 2)

- General Assembly of the Rural Geography Commission

- Gala dinner

May, 25th

- Field trip in Pays Midi-Quercy

May, 26th

- Morning : 4 or even 5 parallel workshops

- Afternoon : plenary round table with field operators

- Plenary session on filmic writing : Presentations of its benefits in terms of analysis, data collection, results reporting, its positioning in relation to other tools and methods

- Tribute to the Dynamiques Rurales founders (documentary film)

- Cocktails

May, 27th

- Morning : 4 or even 5 parallel workshops, final debate in each of the workshops

- PhD time + documentary film on the evolution of Dynamiques Rurales’ Doctors (part 3)

- Afternoon : closing plenary session – round-table opening on the international partnerships

Detailed information is available on the following link:


Scientific committee

  • Josefa Salete Barbosa Cavalcanti, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Brazil)
  • Laurence Barthe, University of Toulouse 2
  • Famoï Beavogui, Institut de Recherche Agronomique, Conakry (Guinea)
  • Mary Cawley, NUI Galway (Irlande)
  • Bernard Charlery, University of Toulouse 2
  • Claire Delfosse, University of Lyon 2
  • Javier Esparcia, Universidad de Valencia (Espagne)
  • Guy Faure, CIRAD Montpellier
  • Ana Firmino, Nouvelle Université de Lisbonne (Portugal)
  • Mohamed Gafsi, ENFA Toulouse
  • Mélanie Gambino, University of Toulouse 2
  • Alma Amalia González Cabañas, UNAM - CIMSUR (Mexique)
  • Ulrike Grabski-Kieron, University of Münster (Allemagne)
  • Hélène Guétat-Bernard, ENFA Toulouse
  • Martine Guibert, University of Toulouse 2
  • Didas Kimaro, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro (Tanzania)
  • Martin Kueté, University of Dschang (Cameroun)
  • Romain Lajarge, University of Grenoble
  • Sergio Leite, Université Fédérale Rurale Rio de Janeiro – CPDA (Brésil)
  • Christine Margetic, University of Nantes
  • Monique Poulot, University of Paris-Ouest
  • Michaël Pouzenc, University of Toulouse 2
  • Laurent Rieutort, University of Clermont-Ferrand
  • Serge Schmitz, University of Liège (Belgique)
  • Marcelo Sili, Universidad nacional del Sur (Argentine) 

Organizing committee

Maylis Asté, Laurence Barthe, Adriana Blache, Rémi Benos, Olivier Bories, Jean-Michel Cazenave, Marie-Claude Cassé, Fabienne Cavaillé, Bernard Charlery, Floriane Chouraqui, Dominique Deligny, Mathilde Denoël, Corinne Eychenne, Jean-Pascal Fontorbes, Mohamed Gafsi, Anne-Marie Granié, Hélène Guétat-Bernard, Martine Guibert
Marie-Christine Henninger, Pascal Lombard, Bernard Mondy, Jérémy Pasini, Michaël Pouzenc, Agnès Terrieux 


  • Maison de la Recherche, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, - 5 all. A. Machado
    Toulouse, France (31058)


  • dimanche, janvier 10, 2016


  • rural, usages, ressources, gouvernances


  • Dominique Deligny
    courriel : rural [dot] conference [at] univ-tlse2 [dot] fr

Information source

  • Michaël Pouzenc
    courriel : pouzenc [at] univ-tlse2 [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The rural Renaissance from one century to the next? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on mardi, novembre 10, 2015, https://calenda.org/345302

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