International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, pp 474-479

Rural protests are an increasingly commonplace feature of contemporary politics in both the Global North and the Global South. In the Global North, rural protests are associated with the weakening of established modes of rural representation and conflicts over the meaning, regulation, and development of rural life and rural spaces. Local protests have addressed a wide range of issues, while agricultural reforms and controversial legislation on concerns such as hunting have helped to mobilize national-scale rural protests in several countries. In the Global South, protests by rural social movements have focused on issues including land rights and agrarian reform and modernization, as well as connecting with wider struggles for social and political justice. Economic globalization, and in particular the liberalization of agricultural trade, has more recently provoked protests in both the developing and developed worlds, and has formed the impetus for the convergence of rural protest movements in networks such as Via Campesina, notable for demonstrations at meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The mobilization of protests based on a geographical identity – rurality – is one reason for the interest of geographers, but geographical analysis has also explored differences in the nature, extent, and form of rural protests between countries and the spatial strategies implicit in rural protests.