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    Phenomena in peripheral and rural areas- Differences between rural and urban regions

    Mikkel Sølbeck
    Aug 5, '17 1:45 PM EST

    From the sociological perspective rural and urban creates two different lifestyles and sets of values. The rural and urban way of living can be defined. It is more a theoretical concept than a complete reality but it is still an important part of living in rural areas.

    Distinguishing between rural and urban way of living is connected with emerging cities in the 19th century due to industrial revolution. Rural way of living was dominant and natural for majority of people. Due to industrialization and urbanization people started to move from small villages to big cities. Sociologists and psychologists noticed several changes in the people’s behavior and started to deeply study a new emerging way of living.

    Tönnies (1887) was the first one, who tried to define a community and who deeply studied differences between rural and urban way of living. He called them Gemeinschaft a Gesellschaft. Gemeinschaft is a traditional rural community characterize by close relations, society formed by families and friends that spend most of the time together. People share the common values and perspectives and are connected also by strong religion beliefs and feeling of safety. These communities are spatially limited and easily recognized.

    On the contrary Gesselschaft characterized urban way of living in the urban society. Even though people live closer to each other they live anonymously and individually. Their motivation is profit making and rational satisfying of their own needs. Tradition was replaced by effectiveness and rationality. Personal relations changed and became more superficial.

    Even though Tönnies paper is more than 100 years it is still key characteristics of valid nowadays. Distinction of traditional rural and urban areas as well as core and hinterland has become more blurred than it was in the past because of mixing lifestyles and functions as Pahl (1965) calls it urban-rural continuum. These rural areas are then forced to intercorporate new functions to satisfy needs and wishes of new inhabitants. Some regions were successful in this modernization, but other stagnated and experience continuous decline.

    Uneven relation between rural and urban is one of the interests of modern social scientists. Painter (2007) described position of rural towards urban in his theory of 6Rs. Rural is defined as:

    1. Residuum – since it is economically and socially dependent on the city regions and it serves as “a residual zone of intellectual statics and economic dependence” (Painter 2007, 7)
    2. Resource – in terms of labour and houses, but also natural resources and leisure activities.
    3. Restraint – for urban sprawl of the cities.
    4. Refuge – in a positive way, rural is a harmful place characterized by rural way of living or branded as a “rural idyll” and it can be also used as a source of knowledge and skills.
    5. Re-creator – for the leisure activities, but also in the positive way.
    6. Reserve – rural considered as a reserve of natural resources and as the protection of the city from itself.

    From the Painter’s point of view it is obvious that there might be still some tensions between rural and urban areas since the rural areas are perceived as subordinated to the urban centres where the development and decision-making are located. But he also emphasizes the rural potential and dependency of urban regions on the rural ones.

    Pahl, R. E. Urbs in Rur. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965.

    Painter, Joe. "City-regions and the spatialities of urban-rural relations." 2007.

    Tönnies, Ferdinand. "Community and Society." In The Urban Sociology Reader (2012), by Jan Lin and Christopher Mele, 18-30. London: Routledge, 1887.

    • 1 Comment

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      Beautiful picture, there's nothing about Groningen (google translated)


      Aug 9, 17 6:13 am  · 

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