The aim of the panel is to retrace social, cultural and material transformations of rural spaces caused by contemporary marked-oriented global discourses that project utopian futures (usually unfulfilled) of wealth and prosperity.
Although it is the cities, being places of capital concentration, that are commonly recognized as the strategic centers of globalization, rural spaces, which seem to be situated on the peripheries of these processes, have not in fact been untouched by economic and socio-cultural changes. The reconfigurations of sociospatial infrastructures and symbolic imaginaries of rural communities have been brought about by a range of phenomena, including the implementation of new environmental policies, the introduction of new forms of rural industrialization, the reorganization of agriculture, and the rise of the heritage industry, which adds to the commodification of ruralities. These interventions in rural spaces are intertwined with various market-oriented global discourses, such as neoliberalization, sustainable development, modernization, growth and progress, and several other types, all of which offer utopian visions of future by promising economic security and material well-being. As migratory technologies of governing they interact with very specific configurations of local elements and create new forms of ruralities. This panel offers a reflection on the various transformation processes of rural spaces shaped by market-oriented narratives and practices. Its key questions are as follows: what is the nature of these changes?; in what ways do they reconfigure local folklore, habits, social and material landscapes, as well as strategies, hopes and dreams of social actors?; and finally, how do they redefine the notion of "rurality"?