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Title: ‘Suburbanism as a Way of Staying Alive’: Reinventing the Rural
Authors: Carmo, Renato Miguel do
Keywords: Rural community
Social representations
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: This paper will focus on the social transformations that took place in the Portuguese rural space. In particular, we will study the village of Albernoa in the region of Alentejo in Southern Portugal in order to characterize the deep structural social change this place has gone through. In fact, similarly to what has happened to the major rural areas in the region, this village has suffered progressive ageing and continuous depopulation. These tendencies occurred simultaneously with the reduction of several agricultural enterprises and activities. We will also identify some dynamic indicators connected with the increasing spatial mobility (sprawl) and the gradual integration of urban habits. Albernoa is now at the crossroads between urbanization and marginalization. To analyze these changes we will use a multidimensional perspective of the concept of social space, based on the theoretical approach presented by Lefebvre. This author states that space should not be interpreted as a mere receptacle of social relationships. On the contrary, social space is produced daily in concrete places and is grounded in different kinds of practices and social representations. The distinction and consequently the inter-relation between the notions of space and place helps us to dismantle the various mechanisms that make up these complex social exchanges in which the concepts of rural and urban are constantly re-inventing themselves.
Peer reviewed: Sim
ISSN: 1712-8277
Publisher version: The definitive version is available at
Appears in Collections:CIES-RI - Artigos em revista científica internacional com arbitragem científica

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