Reminder – Vacancy Assistant Professor in Food Sociology (tenure track)

At the Rural Sociology Group we have a job opening for an Assistant Professor (tenure track position) in Food Sociology. As assistant professor you will undertake independent research and participate in international research projects focusing on the dynamics of food provisioning practices and processes and on the relations between food provisioning and sustainable rural and urban development. You will also teach and coordinate Bachelor and Master courses for the Bachelor and Master program International Development Studies (specialization Sociology of Development), the Master program Food Technology (specialization Gastronomy), and the Master program Organic Agriculture and supervise Master thesis research for these programs. Other aspects of the job include project acquisition, training and supervision of PhD students and participation in various research and/or education committees. About 45% of your time will be spent on education, 45% on research and the remaining 10% on a variety of activities within and outside the university.

For more information about the position (and the Rural Sociology Group) go to the vacancy page of Wageningen University or contact Prof.dr. Han Wiskerke (han.wiskerke@wur.nl). Candidates can apply for this position onlineThe deadline for application is Thursday 14 September 2017.

Kick-off Horizon 2020 project ROBUST

Recently a Horizon 2020 grant of € 6 million was awarded for a project entitled ‘Rural-Urban Outlooks: Unlocking Synergies’ (ROBUST). ROBUST has started on the 1st of June 2017 and is coordinated by Han Wiskerke of the Rural Sociology Group.

The overall goal of ROBUST is to a) advance our understanding of the interactions and dependencies between rural, peri-urban and urban areas, and b) identify and promote policies, governance models and practices that foster mutually beneficial relations.

The project focusses on five domains of urban-rural relations & interdependencies: 1) New businesses and labour markets; 2) Public infrastructures and social services; 3) Sustainable food systems, 4) Cultural connections, and 5) Ecosystem services. These domains will be studied in 11 place-based living labs: Ede (Netherlands), Tukums (Latvia), Helsinki (Finland), Mid-Wales (UK), Gloucestershire (UK), Frankfurt-Rhein-Main metropole (Germany), Ljubljana Urban Region (Slovenia), Styria (Austria), Valencia (Spain), Province of Lucca (Italy) and Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region (Portugal). Each Living Labs will focus on three domains of urban-rural relations. Domain-specific lessons and experiences will be shared across Living Labs in thematic Communities of Practice (five in total, each covering one of the aforementioned domains of urban-rural relations).

In each Living Lab a research organisation (university, research institute or consultancy firm) will collaborate with a local or regional authority. For the Dutch case the Rural Sociology Group will collaborate with Ede Municipality. In total the ROBUST consortium consists of 24 partners: 11 research organisations, 11 local or regional authorities and two umbrella organisations: the Peri-Urban Regions Platform Europe (PURPLE) and the European Secretariat of the International Network of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI Europe).

The kick-off meeting will take place on 7, 8 and 9 June in the Akoesticum in Ede. The website of the project is expected to be ready by September 2017. For more information about ROBUST, please contact one of the members of the RSO ROBUST team: Han Wiskerke, Henk Oostindie, Rudolf van Broekhuizen, Jessica Duncan and Bettina Bock.

Participants needed for online survey about sustainable urban and peri-urban food provision!

SUPURBFOOD logo

SUPURBFOOD is an international research project carried out by a consortium of ten research and ten SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) partners, in which novel solutions to urban and peri-urban food provision have been examined in three thematic areas. These thematic areas are: (i) nutrient, water and waste cycles, (ii) short food supply chains, and (iii) multi-functional land use. While positive developments are found in all of these, additional steps are needed to make full use of the potential of these innovations. Hence, the project team formulated a set of recommendations and would like to ask relevant stakeholders (e.g. policymakers, entrepreneurs, civil society organisations) for their opinion about their effectiveness. For that purpose an online survey has been launched, which takes 10-15 minutes to complete. If you considers yourself to be a relevant stakeholder, you are kindly requested to complete the online questionnaire, which is available in seven languages: English, Dutch, German, Italian, Latvian, French and Galician.

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

Key research articles on Sociology Research

Sociology Research alerts the social science community to the latest journal articles considered to represent the best in sociology research. See: www.sociologyresearch.org. Sociology Research is viewed over 14,000 times per month and has an audience of academics and researchers from a growing number of the top 20 major academic institutions.
An article that had been published recently is: “Exploring the ‘New Rural Paradigm’ in Europe: Eco-economic strategies as a counterforce to the global competitiveness agenda”. This article describes strategies in rural regional development. For many regions an obvious choice is to compete with other regions for global mobile capital and labour. On the other hand, and as a counterforce to these global logics, new strategies, which are more place-based, are being developed, such as the construction of identities or images around new agricultural goods and services. The full article has been published in the journal European Urban and Regional Studies.

Well-working operational interfaces – PhD-thesis Wiebke Wellbrock

December 4 Wiebke Wellbrock succesfully defended her thesis (can be viewed at wurtv.wur.nl):

Well-working operational interfaces: A key to more collaborative modes of governance

This thesis comprises five chapters that are independent scientific publications. In the first chapter, I show how the ‘learning region concept’ and ‘triple helix thesis’ can be reframed to address support for collaboration in rural areas. In the second chapter, I reflect on the experiences of using the conceptual lens as a research tool for studying the operational features of arrangements supporting joint learning and innovation in the case study area of Westerkwartier, the Netherlands. In the third and fourth chapters, I deal with the question of how to best arrange support for collaboration by comparing the operational features of arrangements across the German and European case study areas. This thesis concludes with a discussion of the lessons learnt concerning: 1) wellworking operational features of arrangements supporting collaborative modes of governance, 2) the development and refinement of the conceptual lens, based on experiences of using it as a heuristic research tool, and 3) the potential of the refined framework to effectuate more collaborative modes of governance.

Continue reading

New course: Sociology of Food Provisioning and Place-based Development

The MSc course “Understanding Rural Development: Theories, Practices and Methodologies” (course code RSO-31806) has been revised and renamed into “Sociology of Food Provisioning and Place-based Development”. The course is mandatory for Master students within the track Sociology of Rural Development of the Master International Development Studies, specializing in rural sociology and a free choice course for Master students of other programmes and tracks. If you are interested in topics such as alternative food geographies, food citizenship, food democracy, urban food provisioning, sustainable place shaping, and regional branding, it may be worth participating in this course. Students who do not have a BSc degree in International Development Studies or related field of expertise may not have the assumed prerequisite knowledge to successfully participate and are therefore requested to contact the course coordinator, Han Wiskerke (han.wiskerke@wur.nl), to see if and how this gap can be addressed.

For more information about the contents, schedule, learning outcomes and educational activities, please click on this link or contact the course coordinator for more information or the latest version of the course guide.

DERREG Special Issues European Countryside

The EU FP7 funded project DERREG has come to an end, but various publications are foreseen. The first set of 11 articles are published in two Special Issues of the European Countryside, an open access Journal, edited by Michael Woods and John McDonagh:

Special Issue 1: Volume 3, Number 3 / 2011

Special Issue 2: Volume 4, Number 1 / 2012

 The 11 articles are listed below including a hyperlink to the full text in pdf. Continue reading

Origin Food: a market for identity – course starts again March 12

The course Origin Food: a market for identity will start again on Monday, March 12. The course is obligatory in the specialization Gastronomy of the Master Food Technology, but open to students from other masters as well. Last two years students from various masters and nationalities and an interest in food products with a Geographical Indication attended the course: next to Food Technology students from Animal Sciences, Management, Economy and Consumer Studies, Development and Rural Innovation, Nutrition and Health, Organic Agriculture, International Development Studies and a student from Geo-information Sciences completed the course. The interaction between students from different disciplines and nationalities in group assignments and plenary discussions contributes to mutual learning and is highly appreciated by the students. The gastronomic excursion is however seen as the highlight of the course, as Jidi Xu made clear with her video clip of the field trip to the Rhederoord Estate. Continue reading

Living the peasant way of life in Santa Cruz de la Colina

After a longer posting-pause in which I finalized my first research phase, identifying supporters of rural grassroots development initiatives in the Province of Soto, here a new update of my activities in Colombia:

Time is flying and I am finalizing my second research phase, asking grassroots development initiatives to evaluate the support they are receiving to build joint capacities. To be able to speak with rural development initiatives, I was invited to spend a week with a peasant family in the vereda St. Ana of Santa Cruz de la Colina.

Santa Cruz de la Colina, Matanza, Colombia

Continue reading