Rural at the edge of modernity
Olli Rosenqvist is a Finnish social and cultural geographer who has over twenty years’ experience of professional research work. He has mainly worked in a multidisciplinary social research team in Kokkola, Finland, at an institute the name of which currently is Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius (KUCC). Administratively KUCC is a separate institute of University of Jyväskylä but functionally it co-operates on a contractual basis with University of Oulu and University of Vaasa.
As a social researcher Rosenqvist has moved from structuralist approaches towards wondering the meanings of the rise of individuality. He has published several texts dealing with the conceptualization of countryside and rurality, mainly in Finnish. Especially he is interested in the metaphorical use of the terms mentioned. In a metaphorical sense urban and city represent centre, sameness and closed space or place, while rural and countryside represent margin, otherness and open space. Through this interpretation rural can be seen as an important part of society because, as Pauli Tapani Karjalainen (2002) has put it poetically: ‘Space is an expanse, place is a room. Space is something that permits growth, expansion, and freedom, whereas place becomes a constraint and designated location. Space is movement with no friction of walls. Place is closure with prospective doors.’
Rosenqvist published his doctoral dissertation ‘Positioning of the rural in the late modern society’ in 2004. In 2007 he was nominated as an Adjunct Professor of Social Geography (especially Theoretical Rural Research) to the University of Eastern Finland. Currently he works at the KUCC as a Professor of Rural Studies (specialized in Cultural Research). Rosenqvist is a member of the editorial boards of the Finnish rural research journal Maaseudun uusi aika and the Finnish geographical journal Terra.
Gunnel Forsberg is a professor at Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. Her research focus is on gender, regional development and urban and regional planning. She is a project leader of the project “When the world goes rural” financed by the Swedish research fund Formas. Most recent publication is a book on “networks and seamy structures in regional planning” with the example of the Structural plan for the county of Värmland in Sweden.
Rural landscape futures – responses and visions in bottom-up strategy making
Jørgen Primdahl is a professor in Countryside Planning and Management at the Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning, University of Copenhagen. His background is landscape architecture with a PhD in landscape planning and planning theory. His main research interest is the agricultural landscape (patterns, functions, and change) and the roles of public policy interventions. Recently he has published on the rural-urban fringe; multifunctionality in rural landscapes; the farmer as landscape manager; intersecting dynamics of agricultural structural changes and urbanisation; landscape strategy making as a rural development approach; and globalisation and rural changes. In 2010 he co-edited (with Simon Swaffield) the book: Globalisation and Agricultural Landscapes: Change Patterns and Policy Trends in Developed Countries. (Cambridge University Press).
Hilde Bjørkhaug is Dr. polit in sociology and senior researcher at CRR (Centre for Rural Research), Trondheim, Norway.
She has through her career as a rural researcher been involved in research on different aspects of agricultural restructuring and the food system. Changes within and for sustainable family farming – and family farm succession to it – is central in her work. This has also involved research on the situation of organic agriculture over a 15 year period, involving studies of both organic production and consumption. More recently she has been involved in research on power relations in the food chain in Norway and globally. Gender perspectives have been employed in most projects.
Jón Þorvaldur Heiðarsson is lecturer at University of Akureyri Iceland and researcher at University of Akureyri Research Centre. He is economist and physicist. He has worked on many research projects regarding rural matters in Iceland. His main research interests are transportation in the rural, roads and tunnels especially, and social impact of transportation improvement in rural Iceland. He has made many cost benefit analysis of possible roads and tunnels. This has lead him to speculate how to predict changed behavior of people when transportation is changed. Jón is also interested in energy matters.