European Congress of Rural Sociology

400 participants gathered at l'Institut Agro Rennes-Angers


Four hundred participants from 5 continents gathered over 5 full days at l'institut Agro Rennes Angers for the 29th European Congress of Rural Sociology. The theme of this edition was "Crises and the futures of rural areas ".

The past months and years have led us to questioning the nature of what we consider normal and what we consider a crisis. The COVID crisis, the war and its consequences, the climate crisis, they are all changing the way we think about the world and act in it.

How do these rapid changes affect rural areas, and the ways rural areas are imagined? Is the rural newly in crisis or should it be considered as having long – or perhaps always – been in crisis, in sometimes under-illuminated ways? Or can we still think of the rural as a place of stability? Which crises pervade the rural and where and when did these crises originate? With regard to the currently most pressing crises, which of the things that were taken for granted about the rural are now being questioned? And, conversely, which new challenges and new paths and futures for the rural have been opened?

A semi-plenary session focused in particular on the expectations of students and professors regarding the possible and undoubtedly necessary evolution of training in rural studies in the broadest sense. The challenge of adapting university courses to this (new) context of crisis and uncertainty could be the daily preoccupation of future professionals preparing in our academic institutions. 3 presentations related to these topics were discussed with the audience. 
The event provided an opportunity for renowned international sociologists (Hugh Campbell, Terry Marsden, Claire Lamine, Gianlucca Brunori, etc.) to share their thoughts on the subject.

The editorial board of the A-rank journal Sociologia Ruralis was also present on the school campus throughout the week, and held its general meeting there on Thursday July 6.

A mixed team of teachers and students was involved in the scientific and logistical preparations, and on Monday July 3, a day of international doctoral workshops was held. More than 40 regional professionals were involved in the organization, and both the Brittany region and the city of Rennes were involved, with a reception at the Rennes town hall on Monday July 3. The congress prioritized an all-encompassing approach to sustainability, which will serve as a benchmark for building sustainable events at the school.