|Authors:||Andre´ Torre l Jean-Baptiste Traversac|
|Description:||As custodians of tradition, entrusted with the mission of ensuring the continuing survival of memorial areas and the permanence of social and productive relations, rural areas and farming activities occupy a special place in the imaginations of European citizens. Nevertheless, rural specialists have long stressed that the changes that affect contemporary economies and societies also run through these spaces and contribute to their evolution, sometimes in a radical way (Cloke et al. 2006; van der Ploeg et al. 2000). The transformation of farming methods, the mutations in the agrifood industries and their links with distribution, the demographic repopulation of rural areas and the new activities taking place there, the demand for nature and protected areas, the increasing role played by agricultural activities in sustainable development: these are all changes a reality of which nobody today disputes. The socio-economic upheavals in rural zones and changes in people’s conception of the countryside and of nature are a subject of consensus for sociologists and economists, as well as for specialists in town and country planning. All agree on the need to reconsider the place of rural areas, to rethink their dynamics and to ponder their metamorphoses, their future and the role they play in contemporary society. But these changes are also a source of contradictions. The vision of “new rural territories” is a result of the desire expressed by an increasing number of consumers, often from urban areas, anxious about environmental issues, to preserve natural areas. But at the same time, this fantasy of a countryside made up of open spaces echoes other preoccupations of the self-same actors. They want to consume authentic food products, products from “good” farming practices with sustainability as a vocation. And there is also a wish to develop the use of rural areas for leisure activities: not so much to produce anything in these places, more to create a space for residential, recreational or tourism purposes.|
|Appears in Collections:||Rural Development Studies|
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