Country Visions
Knowing the Rural World

By Paul Cloke
December 2003
Prentice Hall / Pearson Education
ISBN: 0-13-089601-2
280 Pages, Illustrated
$67.50 paper original

This is a highly readable, challenging and incisive collection of essays, exploring different ways of knowing the rural world; of understanding the countryside. The essays suggest that we must go beyond cultural constructions of rural idyll and their accompanying political, cultural and theoretical orthodoxies, which risk both "purification" of transgressive presences and practices, and ignorance of significant agency and performance.

This book re-views the countryside as heterogeneous, dynamic and often dystopic. It is an authoritative and engaging collection, emphasizing that rural areas are not just known differently, they are also performed differently. This book can be read as a running debate, as a series of glimpses into the nature of rural areas, each carrying a different understanding of what can be known, and what should be known. Essayists explore the different ways in which rural areas are: Represented and idealized; Known and understood through practice and performance; Envisioned as theoretical and political arenas

It begs questions about how to read, analyzed and write about the country; about how the countryside works for its actors; and how it might work better in the future.

Paul Cloke is Professor of Geography at Bristol University, and Founder Editor of Journal of Rural Studies.

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