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Research on rural ageing: Where have we got to and where are we going in Europe?

Burholt, Vanessa, Dobbs, Christine
Journal of rural studies 2012 v.28 no.4 pp. 432-446
European Union, climate change, food security, politics, rural areas, Europe
This paper examines the extent to which rural studies conducted in Europe (compared to other countries in the Global North) have addressed the phenomenon of rural ageing. Through a review of the literature published on rural ageing research in the last decade, it compares the research goals identified by the International Rural Ageing Project (IRAP) in 1998 with progress in this area. In addition to the key themes for rural ageing research identified by IRAP, the authors believe that there are others topics that will emerge and impact on rural ageing in Europe in the coming decade. These have been highlighted consistently in futures studies as ‘global challenges’ and can be grouped as social, economic and political, technological, relating to climate change, or related to agriculture and food security. In addition to the literature review, the authors undertook a consultation exercise with more than 50 eminent academics and directors of key organisations who were interested in rural issues, ‘global challenges’ or rural ageing. Their feedback is included within a framework for future rural research. The article concludes with a discussion of emerging areas for rural ageing in the European context and the challenges that the EU may potentially face over the coming decades.