The panel investigates some of the methodological and epistemological challenges concerning the research of modern rurality, specific for intercultural encounters and changes in mobility patterns. Papers dealing with issues of interdisciplinary and/or comparative research are invited.
The panel aims at investigating some of the methodological and epistemological challenges concerning the empirical research of modern rurality, in Europe and elsewhere. As a complex organizational concept that permeates the economic and social structure of the countryside in the post-industrialized world (Cecchi 2001), modern rurality is a source of narratives produced by different players, both local and global. Modern rural areas are therefore heterogeneous, multifunctional spaces characterized by ever increasing intercultural encounters, cultural transmission, as well as changes in travel and mobility patterns. The concept of rurality as multifaceted, complex and dynamic requires epistemological and methodological revisiting. We invite papers that deal with issues of interdisciplinary (as disciplinary boundaries tend to blur) and/or comparative research (multi-sited ethnography of both the cross-country and cross-regional nature). We seek to indicate challenges and outline possibilities that are there for us: how we do rural research in the twenty-first century (reinventing fieldwork), with whom we do it, and when and where we do it. Our panel should provide a fresh look at the old ways, and present novel ways of doing things. Research problems may revolve around various topics: the relationship between rural society and space; between community, culture and identity; rural development from the perspective of social capital and networks; contemporary forms of temporary mobility; knowledge production in the field, etc.