Chapter 52 in: Shucksmith, M., Brown, D.L., Argent, N., Bock, B.B., Cheshire, L., Freshwater, D., Lawrence, G., Rønningen, K., Schafft, K.A., & Shortall, S. (Eds.) Routledge International Handbook of Rural Studies, pp 626-638
The increasing integration of rural communities into transnational social and economic networks has unsettled the politics of rural regions across the globe. Through much of the 20th century, rural economies and societies in the advanced industrial nations of Europe, North America, Japan and Australasia (the ‘global north’) were defined and governed in relation to national political interests. Agriculture was regulated to support national food security (or, within Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy, European food security), and forestry, mining and other resource industries were similarly managed in the national interest (often as nationalised industries). At the same time, rural development programmes were implemented to address regional inequalities and mitigate the disruptive effects of mass internal migration while conservation measures were introduced to protect sites of national environmental or cultural significance. These policies reflected a broadly consensual view of what the countryside was for, shared and reproduced by stable policy communities that excluded dissenting discourses whilst providing a non-confrontational route for rural representation through mainstream farm unions, interest groups and political parties.