Call for abstracts

The ESRS conference will host 30 Working Groups situated along three broad thematic lines:

  •  ‘Space, place and (in)equalities’  discusses how complex issues (including ageing, economic stagnation and restructuring, environmental justice and migration/mobility) often result in uncertain and different outcomes for different social groups or different places. While some places struggle to remain vibrant, others experience renewed vigour. These transformations give rise to many questions regarding economic viability, access to services, justice, equity across different social groups, inclusion and exclusion, and identity.
  • The uneven developments in society and the changing position of science challenge theoretical as well as methodological and practical approaches to the rural. The second thematic line ‘Knowledges in processes of rural change’ questions the role and meaning of different knowledges in the context of change and transition in rural areas. Social movements, changing demographics and new constituencies are advocates for new kinds of knowledge that enrich, challenge and complement the well-established position of science and scientists.
  • Agri-food systems and the rural’ focuses on the growing importance of local, regional and global food systems and various food chain configurations in enabling sustainable rural development, delivering food security and ensuring social and environmental justice. It addresses critical processes and dynamics in contemporary agri-food systems like social innovation, partnerships among food actors, sustainable financing, ethics, the role of citizens and consumers. The thematic line explores promising initiatives as well as interlinkages and arrangements between agricultural, food, health, social, environmental and other policies that help to deliver food and nutrition security and bring about wider sustainability gains.

Each Working Group description outlines the topic as well as the methodological approach.  The conveners of the Working Groups are listed, as well as the contact person. Send your abstract to the contact person before January 13th 2017. Your abstract should include:

  • your name, affiliation and email address
  • title of the abstract
  • keywords (max 5)
  • abstract (200 - 400 words unless stated otherwise)



  1. The new relationship between rural territories and rural dwellers: experiences of success and failure between utopia and dystopia
  2. International perspectives on land reform: rural change and the question of justice
  3. Declining rural facilities and services: regional models versus everyday life realities
  4. Countryside connections:  Staying in the countryside
  5. Tap for change: ubiquitous ICT, food and rurality
  6. Poverty, social exclusion and marginalisation in diversified rural contexts
  7. On the move: International migration to/ in rural areas
  8. Mobilities, gender, racial and other social inequalities in rural Europe
  9. Ageing rural communities: experiences and consequences of uneven demographic processes
  10. Towards inclusive rural places and spaces
  11. Contested approaches to land-use: sustainability adjustments in social practices in global space
  12. Population Change, Economic and Environmental Transformations, and Rural Community Well-Being



  1. Shaping methods, shaping voices and the engagement of discourses in an age of uneven rural change
  2. Diversity and equality: Reflections on rural research
  3. Ageing, austerity and engagement: implications for participation and knowledge production in rural civil society across the lifecourse
  4. Changing meanings of ‘the rural’ in changing times – What meanings? What actors? What processes? What rural(s)?
  5. Social movements and citizens’ initiatives: Geographies, power relations, and determinants of success and impact
  6. Plural knowledges for AgriFood collectives: Making spaces for new rural-urban connections
  7. Rural death: the rural as a liminal space of dying and remembrance
  8. Multiple knowledges and diversifying rural change
  9. Evaluation of ‘innovation’ projects and partnerships: challenges, practical experiences and methodological innovations
  10. Animals in a changing landscape
  11. Doing art in the Country


  1. Small farms, local and global markets, and food for all: where are the connections and disconnects, and the potentials – what do we know?
  2. RC40 Mini-Conference: Exploring the richness of diversity in alternative agrifood movements
  3. Conditions for just sustainability transitions within agrifood systems: comparative approaches
  4. Ethics and sustainable agri-food governance: appraisal and new directions
  5. Finance, institutions and the governance of European agriculture - implications for sustainable farming practices and food security
  6. Social innovations in agriculture and local food markets
  7. “Next Year Country”: Agriculture and rurality in contemporary North America