Performing rurality. but who?

Mirek Dymitrow, Rene Brauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


Reflective inquiries to better understand 'the rural' have tried to embed rural research within the notion of performativity. Performativity assumes that the capacity of language is not simply to communicate but also to consummate action, whereupon citational uses of concepts produce a series of material effects. Of late, this philosophical shif has also implicated geographers as active agents in producing, reproducing and performing rurality. Tis paper provides a critical evaluation of what this new insistence really means for the production of geographical knowledge. Using framework analysis as a method, the paper scrutinizes several reportedly inffuential papers on the topic of rural performativity. Our fndings reveal that, while indeed reffexive on issues of academic integrity, methodology and ethics, performances of rurality are continuedly placed 'out there' amongst 'rural people', i.e. in a priori defned and ofen stereotypically understood contexts, either by way of 'spatial delimitation' or 'activity delimitation'. Effectively, such testimonies provide a truncated state of fdelity, where performance-oriented reffexivity is seconded by contradictory empirics of uneven value and with few commonalities. We conclude that by turning towards performativity as an allegedly more helpful way of obtaining rural coherence, we at the same time overlook our own role in keeping 'rural theory' alive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-45
Number of pages19
JournalBulletin of Geography, Socio-economic Series
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Human Geography


  • Geographers
  • Knowledge production
  • Performativity
  • reflexivity
  • Rurality


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