CFP: Royal Geographical Society Conference (with IBG), Imperial College London, 27-30 August 2019
Session title: Rural to where? Rural young people’s geographies in mobility, learning, trajectories and hopefulness
Session organisers: Assoc. Prof. Tracey Skelton [email@example.com]
Jessica Clendenning [Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org
Geography, National University of Singapore
Co-sponsoring groups: 1) Geographies of Children, Youth & Families Research Group (CYFRG); 2) Developing Areas Research Group (DARG)
Globally, rural young people, compared to their urban counterparts, are relatively understudied and/or misunderstood in academic discourse and policy debates (Panelli et al. 2007; Jeffrey 2008; Punch 2015). These trends, however, may be shifting as some major development organisations focus on ‘youth’, and examine rural development and gender dynamics more closely (e.g., CTA and IFAD 2014; UNESCO 2016; UN Women 2017; FAO 2018). This session builds upon both ‘troubled’ and ‘hopeful’ foci in policy and academic studies on rural youth transitions and mobility (e.g., Chant and Jones 2005; Crivello 2010; Punch and Sugden 2013; Cuervo and Wynn 2014; Farrugia 2016; Woronov 2016; Chea and Huijsmans 2018) to understand rural young people’s educational pathways for navigating opportunities, challenges and precarity. The session examines details about how these pathways affect localised and informal learning (e.g., Katz 2004), and the choices and alternatives young people have in education, training, and making a living.
This session explores how rural youth (including those in small towns) use and access various forms of mobility, education or training (e.g. vocational, technical, formal) to improve their skills for work, self-employment, further migration, etc., and the outcomes or consequences of such investments. Questions for analysis may include:
- What are rural young people’s pathways for education and training, and where do they lead?
- What are the formal or informal skills rural young people acquire from these pathways; how are they used in their everyday lives to find work?
- What are the effects of these investments in mobility, education and training on their families, natal villages, land uses and forests?
- What are the negative and positive effects of rural youthful mobilities? For example, problems of debt or acquisition of cultural capital. What might be the short-term or long-term impacts?
- How does ‘home place’, along with other social factors such as gender, ethnicity and age, affect their in/ability to become mobile, access education or employment resources?
- What are the spatialities of where schools/training centres are based, subject areas, and types of student populations (e.g., vocational or tertiary; rural or urban)? What is learned, gained and un/successful?
- How do differing types of migration (distance, time, type of work) affect connections to families, villages, labour and knowledge in natal land?
- Why do young people return to rural areas?
- What implications does this have for rural areas, rural development and rural young people’s futures?
The aim of this session is to address topics relating to young people’s current trajectories in rural areas. We anticipate diverse research and discussions that centre on rural youth’s hopes and troubles, obstacles and opportunities, that they must navigate in a wide variety of contexts and countries. We look forward to discussing new methodologies and perspectives, and invite scholars from all academic (and non-academic) fields, including (but not limited to) human geography, political ecology, environmental sociology, anthropology, gender and women’s studies, youth studies, etc.
Interested participants should email: their names, affiliations, email addresses, paper titles and abstracts (250 words) to both Tracey Skelton (
) by Tuesday, February 12th. We have space for 8 presenters. We look forward to hearing from and meeting you in London!) and Jessica Clendenning (