New ruralities in the context of global economic and environmental change – are small-scale farmers bound to disappear?
While development practicians tend to celebrate the renaissance of rural development, critical scholars are concerned about the increasing commoditisation of rural resources in the global South coinciding with the end of the peasant mode of production. The new debate on the future of rurality is associated with trends such as price hikes for rural products, climate change, food crisis, institutional change and multi-local livelihood systems.
Usually, these trends are analysed from different perspectives. While many geographers look at it from a livelihood systems perspective, political economists focus on global food markets, whereas climate change research considers rural dynamics predominantly as a response to climate. This article argues that the new rural dynamics can only be understood by taking a holistic multi-dimensional approach which puts those different perspectives into context, rather than arguing which is more relevant. Based on a multi-dimensional analytical framework, the article investigates economic, environmental, social and political-institutional dynamics behind the actual trends.