The global rural: Relational geographies of poverty and uneven development

Karen Rignall, Mona Atia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This paper explores rural poverty through a relational lens, arguing that new spatial patterns of poverty stemming from global economic transformations call for a relational approach; one that draws attention to the importance of global integration while recognizing that places are absorbed differently and unevenly into circuits of capital accumulation. The spread of neoliberalism has reconfigured rural spaces, and the production of poverty knowledge reinforces this uneven spatiality. We address recent literature extending the critical analysis of poverty and welfare in the Global North to the production of poverty knowledge and development practice globally. We examine the various technologies of power that ask the subjects of rural poverty to be empowered, moral, and market-oriented subjects. This attention to how rural poverty is governed and how rural subjects are inserted into the project of development highlights the distinct role of rural spaces in relation to poverty studies. We emphasize the spatially and temporally disjointed ways in which rural spaces and subjectivities are reconfigured, calling for greater attention to ethnographic accounts of the lived experiences of poverty. We argue for a reconsideration the “global rural” in processes of uneven development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12322
JournalGeography Compass
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s) Geography Compass © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Social Sciences
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Atmospheric Science


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