ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 8(2), pp 394-413

How do we account for the geographically uneven development of a subdiscipline of Geography? That is the intriguing question that is raised by Matthew Kurtz and Verdie Craig’s stimulating paper on “Constructing Rural Geographies in Publication”. Kurtz and Craig examine the differences in the practice of rural geography in Britain and in the United States. They observe that British rural geography has over the course of the last quarter century experienced a number of critical engagements with social theory that have shaped both the subject matter and the frame of analysis employed in the field. In contrast, they suggest, engagements with social theory are less pronounced in American rural geography, which has instead continued to be characterised by “more applied analyses of land use, more empirical studies of agriculture, and more Sauerian landscape interpretation” (Kurtz and Craig, 377). This divergence of approach, claim Kurtz and Craig, has afforded British rural geography a higher degree of visibility in the discipline than that achieved by American rural geography.