Finland 2012

Finland 2012

Finland 2012

Rural at the Edge 
– the 2nd Nordic conference for rural research

   21st to 23rd of May 2012,
University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu

Book of Abstracts

A number of social challenges and policy issues are confronting Nordic rural areas. The shifting flows and paths of global change, climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as environmental changes, create diverse challenges and opportunities for social and economic transformations in the Nordic setting. The theme of the second Nordic Rural Research conference is “Rural at the Edge” indicating not only our Nordic location at the outskirts of Europe, but also a focus on issues that emerge in this changing landscape and increasing interdependency between countries and regions.

All researchers and developers with an interest in the Nordic rural areas as an empirical field are welcomed to discuss their ongoing research and projects with key scholars from the region.

The conference will be held in Joensuu 21st – 23rd of May 2012  with the following subthemes:

  1. Cultures and people, places and identities

Nordic rural communities are being redefined and rural areas are in a state of flux. Mobility and migration are increasing and new rural-urban relations, disparities and complementarities emerging. Distance working and migrating labour are increasing, as well as the number of second homes. Depopulation continues in many regions, while some rural areas are thriving. The importance of place and of location is changing. These processes affect social cohesion and social differentiation in rural areas as well as the construction of identities across borders and places. How are such processes expressed in different locations? How do migration and mobility affect rural areas?

  1. Natural resources governance and landscape management

New pressures, interests and claims on the use of natural resources and on landscapes lead to processes of innovation, re-evaluation as well as depletion. Natural resources are not just valuable economic resources, but also ecological, political and social resources. Continuities in both natural resource governance and landscape management are questioned and transformed. Yet, path dependencies and institutional contexts shape activities as well. Multifunctional and sustainable landscapes and use of natural resources have become some of the keywords. How are these processes enacted in different contexts? How do trends in food and energy production, forestry, mining, tourism and nature conservation affect Nordic rural areas? How are entitlements, ownership and right of access and use of nature transformed? What are the impacts on local levels, on local development and social cohesion?

  1. Rural economy and entrepreneurship

Rural economy is usually related to traditional industries and sectors such as agriculture, forestry, recreation and tourism, and innovations are very often incremental or organizational within the same lines, carried out by the same entrepreneurs; or entrepreneurship is seen upon as a black box. Nevertheless, can changing landscapes also make way for new rural economies and entrepreneurship? Can new industries and new modes of entrepreneurship operate ”at the edge” and revalorize local resources and be seen as important and keys to growth within rural economic and cultural life?  There is a need to explore such new industries and modes of entrepreneurship more and see how they can contribute to the advance of rural economy.

  1. Policies and politics of the rural

Rural and agricultural politics and policies increasingly open for new constellations in the rural development bringing new kinds of conflicts to the fore. A dilemma inherent to the balance of subsidiarity and common regulations emerges. Changing regional policies, the new CAP and welfare state regimes also affect rural areas. What concepts of rurality underpin these different policies? Are urban ideals and rural realities at variance in the policy formation? What are the new issues and edges emerging in rural policy formation and policy practices?

More than 120 abstracts have been accepted to be presented in 15 working groups. Conference information, abstracts etc. will be collected as an Abstract Book (pdf). File will be available on these pages in April.

The official language of the conference is English.

Rural at the Edge – The Nordic conference for Rural Research

21st to 23rd of May 2012,
Joensuu, Finland

The conference is hosted by the Finnish Society for Rural research and development in collaboration with Finnish National Rural Network.

Conference is organized as Nordic co-operation. The Scientific  Committee for the conference is:

Mariann Villa, Centre for rural research, Trondheim, Norway
Lars Pettersson, Jordbruksverket, Sweden
Hanne Tanvik, Skov & Landskab, Københavns Universitet, Denmark
Þóroddur Bjarnason Háskólans á Akureyri, Iceland
Cecilia Waldenström, Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet, Sweden
Tuija Mononen, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Tiina Silvasti, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Petri Kahila, Nordregio, Sweden
Antti Saartenoja, Ruralia-institute, University of Helsinki, Finland
Eeva Uusitalo, Ruralia-institute, University of Helsinki, Finland
Päivi Kujala, Finnish National Rural Network, Finland

For additional information, please contact:

Working groups:
eeva.uusitalo (at)

Practical information (registration, accommodation, payments etc):
arja.hukkanen (at)

tuija.mononen (at)