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* What were the main research questions?

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* What were the main methods of data generation?

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* What form did the data take?

* What were the main theoretical approaches underlying the research?

* What were the main findings and conclusions?

The articles may be selected from the following journals between 1960-present day:

* Annals of the Association of American Geographers

* Geographical Review

* Area

* Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

* Environment and Planning A

* Progress in Human Geography

* Environment and Planning D

* Geography Journal

Journal Articles chosen:

1. Rural geography: rural gender identity and the performance of masculinity and femininity in the countryside Little J.

Progress in Human Geography, Volume 26, Issue 5, (2002) Pages 665 -670

2. Rural geography: searching rural geographies Roche M.

Progress in Human Geography, Volume 26, Issue 6, (2002) Pages 823 – 829

Rural geography: rural gender identity and the performance of masculinity and femininity in the countryside Little J.

What were the main research questions?

This article reviews the progress that has been made in the examination of rural gender identities and, in particular, in debates on the relationship between masculinity and the rural environment and community.

Although from the title it would be presumed that the article would be comparing men (masculinity) and women (femininity) in the countryside, to my surprise it actually discussed the relationship and contrast between heterosexual males and homosexual males in the rural environment.

What were the main methods of data generation and what form did the data take?

The article used secondary evidence primarily from research in libraries through books and journal articles, including some special edition issues of journals on the subject.

In fact there is a very long list of references at the end of the article which list a large range of different journals on the different topics discussed briefly in the article, many by D. Bell, H. Campbell, and J. Little herself individually.

What were the main theoretical approaches underlying the research?

Jo Little describes the approach to her research as an article which aims to improve “theoretical and conceptual discussion of the construction of rural gender identities and sexuality” because it “is relatively undeveloped”.

What were the main findings and conclusions?

Jo Little’s main findings were that a common ‘ideal’ description can be made of a masculine male in the country as “The good (male) farmer is tough and strong, able to endure long hours, arduous labour, and extreme weather.” She talks only of men, describing their dominance over technology as “critical” to the modern urban environment. She also identified the importance of feminine and masculine pride within the countryside as being “with nurturing and helping roles in traditional agrarian ideology”- feminine pride, whilst describing masculine pride as physical labour, including the importance of ‘pub skills’ in this masculine figure.

She mentions Bells unease with the term he phrased ‘rural gay masculinities’, and his argument that rural gays ‘eroticize’ the countryside in a way “that opens up a space for certain forms of same-sex activity whether this is described as manly love, hillbilly priapism, or rustic sodomy” (Bell: 2000).

More importantly, Little calls for an expansion on the “very limited number of studies focussing on masculinity in the society and culture of rural communities” in her article.

Rural geography: searching rural geographies Roche M.

What were the main research questions?

Roche goes into many different aspects in his description of rural geography during 2001. He doesn’t set any research questions as such, but goes into the research knowing what aspects of rural geography he wishes to summarise. He concentrates on the following aspects of the subject:

* Postproductivist rural spaces

* Stocktaking and millennial visions

* Nature

* Community

* Agrifood commodity chains

What were the main methods of data generation and what form did the data take?

The article used secondary evidence from research in libraries through books and journal articles.

There is a 2 page long list of references at the end of the article which list a large range of different journals discussing the various aspects of rural geography discussed in the article.

Roche therefore mainly takes knowledge from others in making this summary article.

What were the main theoretical approaches underlying the research?

This research article is based on summarising various aspects of rural geography today. This would be very useful in a few years time in order to compare how rural geography has changed. On the other hand, it would be useful when compared to a similar earlier piece to compare how rural geography has changed up to today.

Roche describes his work in a summary:

“Rural Geography in 2001, as reflected in academic journals, produced stocktaking exercises, displayed a void, and offered challenges to postproductivism. Marsden (2001) aside, rural sustainability enjoyed much reduced attention compared to recent years. Time will tell whether this is a temporary hiatus or signals a reorientation to a position ‘beyond sustainability’.”

What were the main findings and conclusions?

The article discusses rural geographies from different parts of the globe, including Western Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark and the UK.

Roche calls for rural geographers over the globe to retain contact with each other and with rural researchers, as he sees problems arising in the study of rural geographers as contact links are broken. He ends his article in this context:

“Finally, rural geographers will continue to benefit not only from retaining but also from extending the contact with other rural studies researchers.”

Conclusion from the articles

Both writers begin their reports with a very broad explanation of what they hoped to be able discuss in their reports. Little’s possibly more detailed than Roche’s because she discusses a particular aspect of rural geography, rather than all aspects. Roche only lists what will be discussed in his summarative paragraph.

Both of these articles were written as appeals to the wider rural geographical community to extend research into aspects of rural geography. Both use only secondary evidence in their reports from other journal articles and books in order to give a brief overview of the way geographers have, in the past, studied rural geography. Little’s appeal is for a much more focussed study, that of masculinity in the countryside, whilst Roche appeals for research into all aspects of rural geography, and closer links between researchers and rural geographers.

These articles show how thin research into rural communities has become, and how dominant research into urban geography has become. Indeed, Little’s references refer mostly to the military aspect of masculinity in rural areas because most military bases are in rural areas. Indeed apparently in some National Parks the MoD own up to 35% of land.

As both reports concentrate on secondary sources for their information, both end with large lists of references and bibliography.

Both conclude with a summary of research which needs to be done into rural geographies, rather than by summarising their own work.

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Kylie Garcia

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