Chapter 3 in Cultural Sustainability and Regional Development: Theories and practices of territorialisation, pp 29-42
The territorialisation of rural places has long been a focus of inquiry by geographers. On the one hand, rural places are culturally perceived as deeply embedded in their territories, if understood etymologically as a connection to the land or terroir. The traditional industries of rural areas have been based on exploiting the land and its natural resources, and the physical geography of rural places has historically determined their accessibility, shaped their settlement pattern, influenced their social and economic forms and left a mark on their sense of identity and cultural practices (Woods et al., 2011). Yet, at the same time, defining and delimiting the territories of rural places, in the sense of a bounded space, has proved problematic. From the 1970s onwards, numerous attempts have been made in several countries to map and classify the division of rural and urban space, sometimes as governmental exercises (see for example Cloke, 1977; Isserman, 2005). However, these efforts have been rightly critiqued as methodologically flawed and analytically impotent (Cloke, 2006; Woods, 2009).