Globalization and Europe’s Rural Regions – Ashgate

Globalization and Europe’s Rural Regions is edited by John McDonagh, Birte Nienaber and Michael Woods. Read their Introduction: Globalization and Europe’s Rural Regions – Challenge and Opportunity. Check the Contents or have a Preview.

This book examines the multiple ways in which rural regions in Europe are being restructured through globalization and the regional development responses that they have adopted. It provides an understanding of the key challenges and opportunities for rural regions arising from the major economic, social, political and cultural changes associated with globalization, including trade liberalization and economic deregulation, increased international migration, and the rise of global consciousness about environmental issues. Drawing on examples and findings from a major European research project, DERREG, the book presents detailed case studies of ten regions in different parts of Europe, exploring the factors that lead to different experiences of globalization in each of the regions, and highlighting examples of good practice in regional development responses. The book concludes by proposing a typology of regional responses to globalization and considering the policy implications of the research findings. As such, ‘Globalization and Europe’s Rural Regions’ is important reading for geographers, sociologists, planners and economists interested in understanding the impact of globalization in rural regions, and for rural development professionals seeking to mobilize effective responses.

Chapter 3 Raising Self-efficacy and Resilience in the Westerkwartier: The
Spin-off from Collaborative Leadership by Dirk Roep, Wiebke Wellbrock and Lummina  (Ina) Horlings is a contribution of the Rural Sociology Group. Continue reading

SOLINSA and FarmPath – joint Final conference in Brussels, December 3 2013

SOLINSA Final conferenceDecember 3 the EU-funded reserach projects FarmPath and SOLINSA will jointly present their findings at a final conference in Brussels. A detailed programme is available at the website. Location: Thon Hotel, Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 75, B-1040. From 9.00 am till 4.30 pm.

SOLINSA video: what is SOLINSA about in a nutshell

Februari 1 and 2 we had our third SOLINSA project meeting in Paris. Apart from discussing the proceedings in the different Workpackages (see for more information and results) we had a workshop dedicated to making Participatory Video’s. In the workshop lead by Catcher Media and Chris High from the Open University, we as team of researchers learned to make our own participatory video: what is SOLINSA about?  This resulted in a short video ( 3 minutes only) that has been published at the front page of the SOLINSA website ( and at You Tube. If you want to get a quick impression of the SOLINSA project and our team have a look:

First results: analysis of the context (WP3)

Wageningen University (in casu: Communication and Innovation Studies and Rural Sociology Group) was the lead partner of WP3 Understanding the context. WP3 aimed at analysing the trends, relation to LINSA’s and structure of the Agricultural and Knowledge Systems in the participating 8 countries through desk study and a participatory SWOT analysis. This has resulted in two reports accessible at the website:

  1. A synthesis of the comparative analysis of the Agricultural Knowledge Systems in 8 countries
  2. Review of relevant EU Policy documents on innovation

For further information with regard to WP3 one can contact Frans Hermans  (

Next event is the international dissemination workshop on the future of AKIS in Europe on March 5, 2012 in Brussels. The workshop is organised in partnership with the collaborative working group on Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems (AKIS) of the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR). Proceedings of the seminar will be available for download after the 15th of March. At the workshop a summary of the WP3 results will be presented.

The diversity of rural areas as background for place-based policy and planning

Last week June 22 Dr. Sylvia Herrmann gave a presentation titled ‘The diversity of rural areas as background for place-based policy and planning’ (see the Presentation WASS-seminar by Dr Sylvia Herrmann).

Dr Sylvia Hermann is affiliated at the Institute for Environmental Planning, Leibniz Universität Hannover and was coordinator of the EU-funded FP7 research project RUFUS ( Based on the findings of RUFUS dr Hermann pleads for place-based policy and planning to cope with rural diversity in the EU.

In her lecture she presented findings of the RUFUS project and argued that the specific characteristics of places have to be included in planning and policy to reach a more successful implementation of sustainable and site related policy measures. Ergo: policies and planning need to be more place-based.

In the discussion about future rural development, the diversity of rural areas in Europe increasingly raises the interest of policy makers and stakeholders. The strategic paper Europe2020 states that the common EU targets for future development ‘must be … capable of reflecting the diversity of Member States situations and based on sufficiently reliable data for purposes of comparison’. Rural areas have to be recognised as places with diverse combinations of historical, social, cultural and environmental features and the installation of relations among local actors (Cisilino et al., 2010). This shows that the diversity of rural European areas is more and more recognized as a key potential for intelligent growth. Thus, society seeks for development approaches based on regional diversity to better understand the development opportunities and challenges of diverse types of rural areas in Europe. Consequently, research has to combine quantitative and qualitative approaches to deal with the diversity. It also has to support the improvement of endogenous potential and governance approaches reflecting the diversity of the specific regions.

The EU FP 7 project ‘RUFUS’ (Rural Future Networks) tried to meet these challenges with a research approach supporting politicians with knowledge about the diversity of rural regions. RUFUS combined a set of methods to provide a’ mosaic’ of answers to policy makers and stakeholders. It has created a new classification system to map the diverse combinations of economic, social, and ecological conditions of European rural regions in nine EU countries (the UK, Germany, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Poland, and Hungary). This could help target rural development policy and provide insight into the need for CAP’s interaction with other policy areas. Maps showing the diverse development potentials of rural areas have been created. By the help of case studies the linkage between the top-down approaches of mapping with the reality in the regions has been established. The findings have been translated to policy relevant recommendations.