Deconstruction and hermeneutical space as keys to understanding the rural
Rosenqvist, Olli (2020). Deconstruction and hermeneutical space as keys to understanding the rural. Journal of Rural Studies, 75, 132-142. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.01.015
Published inJournal of Rural Studies
Embargoed until: 2022-05-01Request copy from author
© 2020 Elsevier
The purpose of this article is to complement the existing literature on defining the rural by suggesting a novel approach that makes possible a holistic understanding of the rural. The proposed approach is based on deconstruction of the concept of the rural and on hermeneutical philosophy. The current approaches applied in rural studies are evaluated through the lens of holistic understanding, and solutions to the observed problems are discussed. The problems of current rural studies stem from inadequate conceptualization and biased social theory. The conceptual problems can be alleviated, firstly, by understanding the concept of space not only literally but also figuratively. Secondly, the concept of the rural has to be deconstructed into its essential parts. Regarding social theory, the modernization theory applied in rural studies has to be modified so that it gives more room to otherness than it currently does. The article proposes that a holistic understanding of the rural can be achieved through hermeneutical realism, that is, by understanding the world as a hermeneutical space and by reassembling the deconstructed parts of the rural in that hermeneutical space. Deconstructing the rural into qualities such as contrast with the urban, open space and freedom is groundbreaking in the sense that the rural is not seen as an independent social construct with its specific advocates. From the viewpoint of social theory, the emphasis on otherness provides an opportunity to find a more significant role in society for the rural than that of a follower of urban development. ...