Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code ENVS227
Coordinator Dr MN Riley
Geography and Planning
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2013-14 Level Two First Semester 15


1) To develop a critical awareness of the changes taking place in contemporary rural areas.

2)    To stimulate informed debate about the geographical difference and inequalities in rural areas both in the UK and Europe.

3)    To draw attention to, and encourage critique of, the empirical studies and conceptual approaches taken by geographers and social scientists to the study of these issues.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able, at threshold level, to:


  1. To critically appraise the studies of geographers and other social scientists to rural issues and the varying conceptual approaches taken to their study.
  2. To articulate how rurality is interconnected with space, economy, politics, society, culture, and nature.
  3. To analyse how rurality shapes and is shaped by political-economic change, social recomposition and cultural meaningfulness.

Achievement of these outcomes will be assessed using coursework and examination.



1) Defining ‘Rurality’;

2) Productivist and Post-productivist transitions;

3) Rural nature(s);

4) Evolving Geographies of Food;

5) ‘Conserving’ Rural Areas;

6) Non-Human Ruralities;

7)[Re]presenting rurality;

8) Rural Marginalisation

9) Reflecting on Rural Geographies

10) Summary Sessions and exam preparation.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Interactive class sessions will help students to develop the conceptual knowledge and analytical skills to meet the learning outcomes. Workshop and seminar sessions will focus on the assignment tasks, allowing students to practise and refine their conceptual knowledge and analytical skills. The workshops will also provide an opportunity for students to give and receive formative feedback from their peers and from the tutor. Module web/VITAL site will provide detailed reading materials and links to relevant policy documents, groups and case studies.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 20


Timetable (if known) tbc
Private Study 126


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Unseen examination  2 hours  67  Yes     
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Essay  2000 words  33  Yes  Standard University Policy applies - see Department/School handbook for details.  In this coursework the students will be given the opportunity to express an awareness of contemporary theories relating to the conceptualisation of rural areas and rural change (LO’s 1-3).  

Recommended Texts

Castree, N. (2005). Nature. London, Routledge.


Cloke, P., T. Marsden and P. H. Mooney (2006). Handbook of Rural Studies. London, Sage.


Cloke, P. J. (2003). Country visions. Harlow, Prentice Hall.


Cloke, P. J. and J. Little (1997). Contested countryside cultures : otherness, marginalisation and rurality. London, Routledge.


Ilbery, B. (1998). The geography of rural change. London, Longman.


Little, J. (2002) Gender and rural geography : identity, sexuality and power in the countrysideHarlow: Prentice Hall.

Robinson, G. (2008) Sustainable rural systems, Ashgate, Aldersh ot.   

Woods, M. (2005). Rural geography : processes, responses and experiences in rural restructuring. London, SAGE.