Performing rurality. but who?
Journal article, 2017

Reflective inquiries to better understand 'the rural' have tried to embed rural research within the notion of performativity. Performativity assumes that the capacity of language is not simply to communicate but also to consummate action, whereupon citational uses of concepts produce a series of material effects. Of late, this philosophical shif has also implicated geographers as active agents in producing, reproducing and performing rurality. Tis paper provides a critical evaluation of what this new insistence really means for the production of geographical knowledge. Using framework analysis as a method, the paper scrutinizes several reportedly inffuential papers on the topic of rural performativity. Our fndings reveal that, while indeed reffexive on issues of academic integrity, methodology and ethics, performances of rurality are continuedly placed 'out there' amongst 'rural people', i.e. in a priori defned and ofen stereotypically understood contexts, either by way of 'spatial delimitation' or 'activity delimitation'. Effectively, such testimonies provide a truncated state of fdelity, where performance-oriented reffexivity is seconded by contradictory empirics of uneven value and with few commonalities. We conclude that by turning towards performativity as an allegedly more helpful way of obtaining rural coherence, we at the same time overlook our own role in keeping 'rural theory' alive.



Knowledge production




Mirek Dymitrow

University of Gothenburg

Mistra Urban Futures

Rene Brauer

University of Surrey

Bulletin of Geography

1732-4254 (ISSN)

Vol. 38 38 27-45

Subject Categories


Human Aspects of ICT

Human Geography



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