PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (12): 1991-2002.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.12.014

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Progress and implications of international rural space research

WANG Dan, LIU Zuyun*()   

  1. College of Public Administration, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
  • Received:2018-12-26 Revised:2019-03-01 Online:2019-12-28 Published:2019-12-28
  • Contact: LIU Zuyun
  • Supported by:
    Ministry of Education Humanities and Social Sciences Research Planning Fund Project(18YJA630069);Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province(KYCX19_0595)


Space is a product of society. Driven by industrialization, urbanization, informationization, and government policies, China's rural space is going through drastic reconstructions. As one of the core contents of international rural geography research, rural space studies are multi-disciplinary, multi-perspective, multi-dimensional, and multi-methods, forming a rich research field. In order to grasp the progress of rural space research more comprehensively, this study reviewed international rural space research literature in recent 40 years. The study found that international researchers described the connotation of rural space from the perspectives of material, imagination, and practice. The three-fold architecture was established to emphasize the practice of everyday life. It introduced living space to build the systematic research framework of rural space. With regard to the theoretical perspective, international research of rural space has gone through functionalism, political economy, and social constructivism; it transformed from productivism to post productivism; the research included settlement space, economic space, social space, and cultural space. As a whole, international research of rural space realized the change from material level to social representation, from object space to subject space, and from static one-dimensional space to dynamic multi-dimensional space, which revealed the importance of interdisciplinary and sociocultural approaches in rural space studies. The construction of rural space in China needs to pay attention to the subject status of farmers and multifunction of rural space, respect the role of locality and difference of various places, and recover the function of production of meaning of rural space.

Key words: rural space, reconstruction of rural space, social constructivism, post-productivism