Non-representational theories have come to exert an influence on rural geographies. Geographers are engaging with rurality not just discursively, but as part of an assemblage of the embodied, practiced and experienced elements of life. This paper reflects on the emergence of non-representational theories and considers what non-representational theories have brought to the study of rural geography to date. This recent work has considered diverse topics, from rural gentrification to an understanding of different demographic conceptualisations of rurality. The paper will consider further trajectories of where an embodied approach can take rural geographies, this includes assessing the challenges researchers wishing to engage with non-representational theories may face, from methodological considerations to the debates surrounding the presentation of research. The paper concludes by considering how rural geography can progress its engagement with non-representational theories, through the expansion of empirical research informed by this theoretical approach.
Bibliographical noteThis paper draws on research conducted as part of a PhD studentship funded,
jointly, by the University of Aberdeen and the James Hutton Institute and draws on work directly from the related PhD thesis. I would like to thank Lorna Philip and Mags Currie for comments on various drafts of this paper as well as for their support during the research. I am grateful to Dan Swanton for his guidance that supported this research. I would like to thank the organisers, session chairs and audiences at the Meanings of the Rural conference in Aveiro (2015) and the New Voices in Rural Geography session at the American Association of Geographers Conference in Boston (2017), as well as to the support of the European Society for Rural Sociology. Ideas in this paper were particularly developed at the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) annual international conference where I was able to present in ‘Non-representational geographies: practices, pedagogies and writing’ session in London (2017) and learn from the associated panel discussion. I would like to thank the audiences, fellow presenters and panellists of this session in particular. Finally, to Lily Cartwright for her keen eye and support in the final editing of this paper.
- non-representational theories