The Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University studies the dynamics of rural and regional development processes in Europe. Specific attention is paid to the different levels at which transformation processes occur and are shaped, as well as to the different actors and institutions involved. The Rural Sociology Group studies and analyses these transformation processes from an interpretative-explanatory sociological perspective, combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. A common denominator is the focus on diversity, agency, micro-macro linkages and processes of institutionalisation. Characteristic is the comparative and empirically driven research approach. An important feature of its research is the multidisciplinary approach, based on a well-established co-operation between sociologists, economists, spatial planners, agronomists, animal scientists and technicians. Equally relevant is the close collaboration with (organisations of) stakeholders.
Rural Sociology provides courses to and supervises thesis students from the BSc programmes Internationale Ontwikkelingsstudies and Gezondheid en Maatschappij and five MSc programmes International Development Studies, Health and Society, Organic Agriculture, Food Technology and Landscape Architecture and Planning.
PhD research and training is mainly carried out in programs, which are endorsed by the Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS).