RGRG Sponsored sessions

Hello everyone,

RGRG sponsored sessions at the 2010 Annual International Conference of the RGS-IBG can now be viewed at: http://ac2010.tumblr.com/archive/2009/11. In summary, we have the following sessions, with the deadline for papers to be submitted to convenors 1st February 2010.

Thanks, Keith

Food Security: geographical perspectives and implications for agri-food studies

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to both Dr Damian Maye (dmaye@glos.ac.uk) and Dr James Kirwan (jkirwan@glos.ac.uk).

Food security has attracted significant and increasing policy and media attention and concern in recent months. It is perceived as being the result of a combination of factors, including a recognition that the World’s population is predicted to increase from its current 6.5 billion to an estimated 9 billion by 2050. Coupled with this are growing concerns about the availability of resources (e.g. water, soil, oil and phosphate), acknowledgement of the inequities in resource use consumption between different countries, and growing concerns about the unpredictability of climate change. This has prompted a growing sense of crisis and the need for action, which has led in some cases to responses that are contradictory: such as the increased use of biofuels to help reduce dependence on oil, and attendant concerns that this has contributed to a rise in global food prices. This session is intended to address this issue of food security and its potential implications for agri-food studies. We seek a range of conceptual and empirical papers that offer critical insights into food security, including how it might influence how geographers and others go about studying and responding to this and related agri-food issues. Papers might address one or more of the following themes:

  • What is meant by the term food security?
  • How might we conceptualise food security?
  • Conceptualising multifunctionality and neo-productivism in the context of food security
  • Discourses of food security
  • Food security and food sovereignty
  • Vulnerability, resilience and adaptation
  • The Peak Debates: oil, food, phosphate etc
  • Biotechnology and the GM debate (revisited)
  • Biofuels
  • Globalisation, neo-liberalism and global trade
  • Alternative and local food networks (revisited)
  • Equity, food access, diet, consumption and health
  • Land grab and neo-colonialism
  • Food policy responses (at whatever scale)
  • Impacts on different food sectors and food chains
  • Food security impacts / implications at different geographical scales (household, regional, national, global)


New and Emerging Rural Researchers

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to both Sharon Phillip (sphillip@abdn.ac.uk) and Kirstie O’Neill (k.j.oneill@2007.hull.ac.uk)

The New and Emerging Researchers sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference offer an exciting opportunity for postgraduates and early career researchers to present their research proposals and research results in a friendly forum.  Sessions last year were very well attended and papers were themed around forestry; food, farming and tourism; and rural community change – abstracts are welcomed from any area of rural research for the 2010 Conference.


Healthy Countrysides?: Exploring Geographies of Rural Health

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to Natalie Beale (n.h.beale@durham.ac.uk), Christine Dunn (c.e.dunn@durham.ac.uk) and Keith Halfacree (k.h.halfacree@swansea.ac.uk).

Despite numerous academic critiques, representations of idyllic rurality still present the countryside as an almost inherently healthy place.  These representations have been shown to obscure problems such as rural deprivation and inequalities, and this critique can be extended to issues of health and well-being.  The aim of this session is, therefore, to provide a platform for exploring critically a range of contemporary issues and debates relating to rural dimensions of health and well-being.  By drawing on the diversity of research relating to both geographies of health and rurality, it seeks to offer new insights into issues of health, well-being, inequality and inequity, both within the rural and between rural and urban areas.

Papers are welcomed which address the following overlapping themes and issues relating to health and well-being in rural areas:

  • Health issues and inequalities in rural areas
  • Cultural discourses which conflate rurality with a ‘healthy’ life and marginalise rural ‘others’, such as older people or those with disabilities or mental health problems
  • Health-related interactions with the countryside: urban dwellers’ leisure practices, therapeutic landscapes, children and young people’s encounters with the countryside, etc.
  • The supposed health-enhancing characteristics of open space, wildlife, nature, woods, etc.
  • Rural policy and its implications with regard to both health services or health and well-being more generally.

How historical geographies of rural areas have impacted upon the contemporary situation with regard to health and well-being.


Development in the Rural South: bio-economic crises lead to ‘new’ agricultural revolutions

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to both Charles Howie (c.a.howie@rhul.ac.uk) and Bruce Scholten (bruce.scholten@btopenworld.comB.A.Scholten@durham.ac.uk)

A doubling of food prices, driven by rising global consumption and demand for land for biofuels have spawned major rural development initiatives in Africa and elsewhere.  For example: the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are supporting the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; and in 2008 the World Bank announced plans to create a White Revolution in Africa, modelled on India’s low-input/low-output dairy pattern.  Yet, critics fear these efforts will be compromised by Northern commercial actors seeking to address their own twin problem of Peak Oil and Peak Food production with scale-fixated, high-tech strategies in the Rural South.  Calls to restructure small-scale plots into large-scale commercial farms planting genetically-modified crops in order to defeat hunger run counter to claims that hunger has less to do with poor harvests than with poor distribution of what Amartya Sen calls ‘entitlements’.  Indeed, studies in South East Asia show that rural well-being is as dependent on social capital as it is on technology, and these Northern interventions could ignore local conditions, local social capital and risk compromising biodiversity and ecological services.  At this time, entrepreneurs and developed countries are already ‘buying up’ or leasing substantial areas of the Rural South in order to ensure their own future food security.

We welcome presentations engaging with such theoretical issues and empirical studies from all continents on the potential role for Northern academic researchers in this ‘new’ Rural South.


Rural Community Resilience

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to both Prof Guy Robinson (Guy.Robinson@unisa.edu.au) and Prof Geoff Wilson (geoff.wilson@plymouth.ac.uk)

The aim of this session is to bring together rural researchers investigating issues, processes and conflict surrounding rural community resilience. the notion of community resilience is becoming increasingly prominent in debates about future development pathways of rural communities, especially in light of dramatic changes faced by many rural communities linked to deepening globalisation, climate change, continuing population pressures (both in terms of additional people on the planet and with regard to population compositions of rural settlements), and pressures for increased agricultural production (neo-productivism). We particularly wish to encourage those working on economic, social and environmental capital and who, in their work, are discussing how these forms of capital interlink with notions of community resilience. We invite researchers working in different geographical contexts, spanning the whole spectrum from developed to developing countries.


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