Progress and implications of international rural space research

Dan Wang, Zuyun Liu

Article ID: 1308
Vol 3, Issue 1, 2020, Article identifier:84-99

VIEWS - 66 (Abstract) 47 (PDF)


Space is a product of society. Driven by industrialization, urbanization, informatization and government policies, China’s rural space is undergoing drastic reconstruction. As one of the core contents of international rural geography research, rural space research are multi-disciplinary, multi perspective, multi-dimensional and multi-method, forming a rich research field. In order to comprehensively grasp the progress of rural space research abroad, this study reviewed international rural space research literature in recent 40 years. The study found that foreign scholars described the connotation of rural space from the aspects of material, imagination and practice, emphasize the importance of daily life practice. It introduced living space to construct a more systematic research framework of rural space by establishing a “three-fold model of rural space”. With regard to the theoretical perspective, international research on rural space has experienced three stages: functionalism, political economics and social constructivism. In the evolution of time, it has realized the transformation from productivism to post-productivism; in the spatial dimension, it realizes the multiple superposition of settlement space, economic space, social space and cultural space. As a whole, international research on rural space has realized the transformation from material level to social representation, from objective space to subjective space, and from static one-dimensional space to dynamic multi-dimensional space, which enlightens us on the importance of interdisciplinary research and “social cultural” research on rural space. The construction of rural space in China needs to pay attention to the subject status of farmers and multifunction of rural space, respect the role of locality and difference of various places, and recover the function of production of meaning of rural space.


Rural Space; Reconstruction of Rural Space; Social Constructivism; Post-productivism

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