Staying in the Rural
Staying in rural (and non-rural) areas in different life course stages is connected to deliberate decisions. The project aims to highlight the motives of those who stay, as they are often neglected in studies on rural areas.
Population geography research has focused on in- and out-migration. Especially in rural areas, those who do not move are seen as a residual category and their motivations for staying receive limited academic or policy attention.
STAYin(g)Rural investigates why and how people stay in rural areas at different stages of their lives. The focus lies on three life course stages that are known triggers for the re-negotiation of the decision to stay or to leave: 1) young adulthood, commencing employment or further education 2) union and family formation 3) transition to retirement. For all three life course stages we acknowledge that people elect to (selectively) belong to and participate in rural areas and that different types of mobilities influence their staying processes.
We are especially interested in:
Our research interest requires the integration of different methods. Empirically, we examine three European case study regions: East Groningen in the Netherlands, South Tyrone in Northern Ireland and Landkreis Göttingen in Lower Saxony, Germany. All three regions are considered to be secluded and peripheral in their national contexts and traditionally exhibit tendencies of population decline and especially the out-migration of youth. The focus of the research lies on villages comprising less than 2.000 inhabitants.
During the project, the results will continuously be discussed with actors from rural areas and further developed in cooperation with them. To this end, National Steering Groups with representatives of different interest groups and specific community and life course stage representatives will be set up in each country.
The following empirical investigations are conducted:
The Thünen Institute of Rural Studies is responsible for the case study Südharz (district Göttingen, Lower Saxony) in Germany as well as for the life course stage of retirement.
The findings of the research project STAYin(g)Rural promise a changed perspective on rural areas: Through the eyes of those who stay, subjectively perceived opportunities, problems and meanings of places can be understood as well as their interconnectedness with processes of staying.
5.2019 - 5.2022
Project status: ongoing