Rural Geography: Concepts and European Perspectives

National University of Ireland, Galway

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Rural Geography: Concepts and European Perspectives

  • Host University

    National University of Ireland, Galway

  • Location

    Galway, Ireland

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Studies, European Studies, Geography, Irish Culture, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Students may not take this course if enrolled in TI216, TI223, or TI253

  • Course Level Recommendations

    Lower

    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

    5
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    2
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    3
  • Overview

    Course Outline

    Rural Geography is a long-established area of study within the discipline of Geography. It covers aspects of society, economy, environment and culture in the countryside. In recent years, geographers have given particular attention to change in the countryside which is recognised as being influenced by broader processes that are at work at international and global levels. Various concepts and models have been developed in order to gain better understanding of these processes. A key objective of this course is to promote better awareness of and insight into change in the European countryside. The course is designed around seven key themes relating to rural society and economy. Three lectures deal with each theme and each set of lectures begins with discussion of concepts relating to the theme. Practical examples are provided from a range of European countries, including Ireland.

    The following are some of the major features of change in the appearance of countryside and in the occupations and lifestyles of rural dwellers. The boundaries between the ?rural? and the ?urban? have become blurred, for example, through the encroachment of residential settlement, industrial spaces and recreational facilities on rural land in the hinterland of towns and cities. Certain parts of the countryside have a long history of out-migration associated with the limited employment opportunities available. Other areas, by contrast, have experienced increased immigration in recent decades of both national and international migrants on the margins of cities and towns and even in more remote locations. Rural residents are being assigned new responsibilities for meeting their own social and economic needs in many areas, as the central state becomes increasingly unable to support employment and services. Attention is often drawn to the decline of farming and fishing, and the need to adopt alternative activities to supplement incomes. The promotion of manufacturing industry is one such long-established alternative. New information and communication technologies offer other opportunities. Rural land use is changing also and new products and processes are being introduced in the wake of continuing reform of the CAP. At the same time, the countryside remains distinctive in the minds of many rural and urban dwellers and is marketed as a central component of national tourism in many countries. The course addresses issues such as these.

    Aims and Objectives

    The course aims to develop an integrated and critical approach to learning and to support individual study and research.

    Objectives are:

    * To create awareness of dominant processes of social and economic change and their outcomes with reference to various locations in the contemporary European countryside;
    * To provide a critical appreciation of key concepts and models used by geographers in the study of rural society and economy;
    * To provide experience in preparing for and conducting fieldwork as part of a group and preparing a report;
    * To promote capacities to develop an argument and apply concepts and theory in verbal and written reports and examination answers.

    Learning Outcomes

    * Knowledge of key processes of social and economic change in the contemporary European countryside;
    * Critical awareness of concepts used to analyse the geography of rural society and economy;
    * Experience of field-based learning and group project work including the preparation of a report;
    * Capacities for individual study and research, including presentation of a reasoned argument and application of concepts and theory in oral and written formats.

    USEFUL INTRODUCTORY TEXTS AVAILABLE IN THE JAMES HARDIMAN LIBRARY

    Cloke, P., Marsden, T. and Mooney, P.H. (eds) (2006) Handbook of Rural Studies, Sage, London. Many chapters in this book are pertinent to the course. You are not expected to buy the text because it is expensive; however, you should consult it on a regular basis to read material associated with particular lectures.

    Robinson, G. (2008) Sustainable rural systems, Ashgate, Aldershot. This text contains a number of up-to-date chapters on issues relating to sustainability in rural contexts which are on the recommended reading list.

    Schmied, D. (ed.) (2005) Winning and Losing: the changing geography of Europe?s rural areas, Ashgate, Aldershot. Several of the chapters in this text are recommended reading and are listed on the full reading list.

    Thrift, N.J. and Kitchin, N. (eds) (2009) International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography, Sage, London (accessible on-line through the library web page). This is an excellent source of short articles on virtually all aspects of human geography and has a large section on rural geography themes. It is always accessible on-line; therefore if you cannot find one of the recommended texts, check the Encyclopaedia.

    Woods, M. (2005) Rural Geography, Sage, London (recommended text). The text is available for purchase in the University Bookshop. Many of the chapters are recommended reading. It may be possible to purchase the text second hand from a third year student.

    Course Credit

    5 Credits; 60% for 2 hour examination (2 questions to be answered from 5); 40% for assignment

    Useful introductory texts available in the James Hardiman Library

    Cloke, P., Marsden, T. and Mooney, P.H. (eds) (2006) Handbook of Rural Studies, Sage, London. Many chapters in this book are pertinent to the course. You are not expected to buy the text because it is expensive; however, you should consult it on a regular basis to read material associated with particular lectures.

    Gallent, N. (2006) Planning on the edge, Routledge, London. The text discusses planning in the urban fringe. It relates to the UK but some of the principles apply more generally to other countries.

    Robinson, G. (2008) Sustainable rural systems, Ashgate, Aldershot. This text contains a number of up-to-date chapters on issues relating to sustainability in rural contexts which are on the recommended reading list.

    Schmied, D. (ed.) (2005) Winning and Losing: the changing geography of Europe?s rural areas, Ashgate, Aldershot. Several of the chapters in this text are recommended reading and are listed on the full reading list.

    Thrift, N.J. and Kitchin, N. (eds) (2009) International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography, Sage, London (accessible on-line through the library web page). This is an excellent source of short articles on virtually all aspects of human geography and has a large section on rural geography themes. It is always accessible on-line; therefore if you cannot find one of the recommended texts, check the Encyclopedia.

    Woods, M. (2005) Rural Geography, Sage, London

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.