Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31821
Spatial thinking Issues: Towards Rural Sociological Research Agenda in the Third Millennium

Authors: Abdel-Samad M. Ali


Does the spatial perspective provide a common thread for rural sociology? Have rural sociologists succeeded in bringing order to their data using spatial analysis models and techniques? A trial answer to such questions, as touchstones of theoretical and applied sociological studies in rural areas, is the point at issue in the present paper. Spatial analyses have changed the way rural sociologists approach scientific problems. Rural sociology is spatial by nature because much, if not most, of its research topics has a spatial “awareness." However, such spatial awareness is not quite the same as spatial analysis because it is not typically associated with underlying theories and hypotheses about spatial patterns that are designed to be tested for their specific spatial content. This paper presents pressing issues for future research to reintroduce mainstream rural sociology to the concept of space.

Keywords: Maps, Rural Sociology, Space, Spatial variations

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1790


[1] Q. Shen, "Updating spatial perspectives and analytical frameworks in urban research," in Spatially Integrated Social Science (Spatial Information Systems), M. F. Goodchild, and D. G. Janelle, Eds., Oxford University Press, pp. 263-279, 2004.
[2] S.-P. Kam, "The changing paradigm of rural governance for sustainable development: defining the niche and role of GIS," in GISDECO, Seventh International Seminar on GIS in Developing Countries. Enscheda, the Netherlands, 2002.
[3] M. P. Kwan, "Space-time and integral measures of individual accessibility: A comparative analysis using a point-based framework," Geographical Analysis, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 191- 216, 1998.
[4] R. Haining, Spatial Data Analysis in the Social and Environmental Sciences. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
[5] R. R. Huckfeldt and J. Sprague, Eds., Citizens, Contexts, and Social Communication: Information and Influence in an Election Campaign. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
[6] P. R. Voss, "Spatial analysis in rural sociology," in American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, July 2003.
[7] W. H. Sewell, "Rural sociological research, 1936-1965," Rural Sociology, vol. 30, pp. 428-451, Dec. 1965.
[8] J. A. Christenson and L. E. Garkovich, "Fifty years of rural sociology: status, trends, and impressions," Rural Sociology, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 503-522, 1985.
[9] W. W. Falk and Z. Shanyang "Paradigms, theories, and methods in contemporary rural sociology: a partial replication and extension," Rural Sociology, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 587-600, 1989.
[10] J. S. Picou, R. H. Wells and K. L. Nyberg, "Paradigms, theories, and methods in contemporary rural sociology," Rural Sociology, vol. 43, no. 4, pp.559-583, 1978.
[11] C. H. Stokes and M. K. Miller, "A methodological review of fifty years of research in rural sociology," Rural Sociology, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 539-560, 1985.
[12] D. L. Brown, and L. E. Swanson, Eds., Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty-First Century. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003.
[13] F. H. Buttel, "Environmental sociology and the sociology of natural resources: institutional histories and intellectual legacies," Society and Natural Resources, vol. 15, pp. 205-211, 2002.
[14] L. Lobao, "A sociology of the periphery versus a peripheral sociology: rural sociology and the dimension of space," Rural Sociology, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 77-102, 1996.
[15] L. Garkovich and A. M. Bell, "Charting trends in rural sociology: 1986-1995," Rural Sociology, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 571-584, 1995.
[16] C. B. Flora and J. A. Christenson, Eds., Rural Policies for the 1990s. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991.
[17] W. W. Falk, "The assertion of identity in rural sociology," Rural Sociology, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 159-174, 1996.
[18] L. Lobao and K. Meyer, "The great agricultural transition: crisis, change, and social consequences of twentieth century U.S. farming," Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 27, pp. 103-124, 2001.
[19] A. R. Tickamyer, "Sex, lies, and statistics: can rural sociology survive restructuring? (Or) what is right with rural sociology and how can we fix it?" Rural Sociology, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 5-24, 1996.
[20] P. R. Voss, D. D. Long, R. B. Hammer and S. Friedman, "County child poverty rates in the U.S.: a spatial regression approach," Population Research and Policy Review, vol. 25, pp. 369-391, 2006.
[21] R. Friedland, and D. Boden, Nowhere: An Introduction to Space, Time, and Modernity. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1994.
[22] A. R. Tickamyer, "Space matters! Spatial inequality in future sociology," Contemporary Sociology, vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 805-813, 2000.
[23] D. O-Sullivan and D. J. Unwin, Geographic Information Analysis. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2002.
[24] K. Bonner, "Reflexivity, sociology and the rural-urban distinction in Marx, Tonnies and Weber," Canadian Review of Sociology, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 165-189, 2008.
[25] P. J. Cloke, T. Marsden and P. H. Mooney , Eds., Handbook of Rural Studies. Sage Publications Ltd, 2006.
[26] J. Kantner, "Geographical approaches for reconstructing past human behavior from prehistoric roadways," in Spatially Integrated Social Science (Spatial Information Systems), M. F. Goodchild, and D. G. Janelle, Eds. Oxford University Press, pp. 323-348, 2004.
[27] M. F. Goodchild, and D. G. Janelle, Eds., Spatially Integrated Social Science (Spatial Information Systems). Oxford University Press, 2004.
[28] M. D. Ward and K. S. Gleditsch, Eds., Spatial Regression Models (Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences). Sage Publications, Inc, 2008.
[29] D. F. Marble, "The future of spatial analysis and geographic information systems," in Workshop on Status and Trends in Spatial Analysis, Santa Barbara, California, December 1998.
[30] L. Lobao, G. Hooks and A. R. Tickamyer, Eds., The Sociology of Spatial Inequality. State University of New York Press, 2007.
[31] P. J. Cloke and J. Little, Eds., Contested Countryside Cultures: Otherness, Marginalisation, and Rurality. Rutledge, New York, 1997.
[32] J. R. Weeks, M. S. Gadalla, T. Rashed, J. Stanforth and A. G. Hill, "Spatial variability in fertility in Menoufia, Egypt, assessed through the application of remote sensing and GIS technologies," Environment and Planning A, vol. 32, pp. 695-714, 2000.
[33] S. E. Tolnay, "The spatial diffusion of fertility: A cross-sectional analysis of counties in the American South, 1940," American Sociological Review, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 299-308, 1995.
[34] S. N. A. Codjoe, "Integrating remote sensing, GIS, census, and socioeconomic data in studying the population-land use/cover nexus in Ghana: A literature update," Africa Development XXXII, vol. 2, pp. 197-212, 2007.
[35] F. Qiu, K. L. Woller and R. Briggs, "Modeling urban population growth from remotely sensed imagery and TIGER GIS road data," Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, vol. 69, no. 9, pp. 1031-1042, 2003.
[36] S. E. Grineski, "Predicting children's asthma hospitalizations: Rural and urban differences in Texas," Rural Sociology, vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 201-219, 2009.
[37] T. Marsden, "Mobilities, vulnerabilities and sustainabilities: Exploring pathways from denial to sustainable rural development," Sociologia Ruralis, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 113 - 131, 2009.
[38] R. McCleary, "Rural hotspots: The case of adult businesses," Criminal Justice Policy Review, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 153-163, 2008.
[39] F. H. Buttel and H. Newby, Eds., The Rural Sociology of Advanced Societies. Montclair, NJ: Allanheld Osmun, 1980.
[40] P. L. Vogt, Introduction to Rural Sociology. Kessinger Publishing, 2007.
[41] S. Kuznets, "Economic growth and income inequality," American Economic Review, vol. 65, pp. 1-28, 1955.
[42] F. Bourguignon and C. Morrison, "Inequality among World citizens: 1820-1992," American Economic Review, vol. 92, no. 4, pp. 727-744, 2002.
[43] S. Fischer, "Globalization and its challenges," American Economic Review, vol. 93, no. 2, pp. 1-30, 2003.
[44] R. Kanbur and X. Zhang, "Fifty years of regional inequality in China: A journey through central planning, reform and openness," in UNUWIDER Conference on Spatial Inequality in Asia, Tokyo, March 2003.
[45] J. Kirsten and M. Kirsten, "The effect of rural inequality on fertility and migration: A literature review," Development Southern Africa, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 583-602, 2000.
[46] A. Shorrocks and G. Wan, "Spatial decomposition of inequality," Journal of Economic Geography, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 95-81, 2004.
[47] L. Lobao and R. Saenz, "Spatial inequality and diversity as an emerging research agenda," Rural Sociology, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 497-512, 2002.
[48] L. Lobao, "Continuity and change in place stratification: Spatial inequality and middle-range territorial units," Rural Sociology, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 1-30, 2004.
[49] F. W. Notestein, "Population: The long view," in Food for the World, T. W. Schultz, Ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, pp. 36-69, 1945.
[50] W. S. Thompson, "Population," American Sociological Review, vol. 34, pp. 959-975, 1929.
[51] E. M. Crenshaw, M. Christenson and D. R. Oakey, "Demographic transition in ecological focus," American Sociological Review, vol. 65, no. 3, pp. 371-391, 2000.
[52] H.-P. Kohler, J. R. Behrman and S. C. Watkins, "The density of social networks and fertility decisions: Evidence from South Nyanza District, Kenya," Demography, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 43-58, 2001.
[53] P. McDonald, "Fertility transition hypotheses," in The Revolution in Asian Fertility: Dimensions, Causes, and Implications, R. Leete and I. Alam, Eds., Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp. 3-14, 1993.
[54] K. Davis, "The theory of change and response in modern demographic history," Population Index, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 345-366, 1963.
[55] A. J. Coale, "The demographic transition," in International Population Conference, Lie=ge. International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, Lie´ÇÅge, Belgium, vol. 1, pp. 53-72, 1973.
[56] S. C. Watkins, From Provinces into Nations: Demographic Integration in Western Europe, 1870-1960. Princeton University Press, NJ, 1991.
[57] H. Reed, R. Briere and J. Casterline, Eds., The Role of Diffusion Processes in Fertility Change in Developing Countries: Report of a Workshop. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1999.
[58] R. A. Easterlin and E. M. Crimmins, The Fertility Revolution: A Supply-Demand Analysis. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1985.
[59] J. Cleland and C. Wilson, "Demand theories of fertility transition: An iconoclastic view," Population Studies, vol. 41, pp. 5-30, 1987.
[60] D. Kirk, "Demographic transition theory," Population Studies, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 361-387, 1996.
[61] B. Entwisle, J. Casterline and H. A.-A. Sayed, "Villages as contexts for contraceptive behavior in rural Egypt," American Sociological Review, vol. 54, pp. 1019-1034, 1989.
[62] G. Green, "What role can community play in local economic development," in Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty-First Century, D. L. Brown and L. E. Swanson, Eds., The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA, pp. 343-352, 2003.
[63] S. Maxwell, I. Urey and C. Ashley, "Emerging issues in rural development: An issue paper." Overseas Development Institute, London, 2001.
[64] D. P. Lacy, "An overview of rural governance issues," in Proceedings of the 2001 National Public Policy Education Conference Responding to Challenges Facing Rural Governments, Texas, U.S.A, September 2001.
[65] D. Bigman and H. Fofack, Geographical Targeting for Poverty Alleviation: Methodology and Applications. Oxford University Press, New York, 2000.
[66] L. Worrall, Ed., Spatial Analysis and Spatial Policy Using Geographic Information Systems. London, Belhaven Press, 1991.
[67] R. G. Golledge, M. P. Kwan and T. Garling, "Computational-process modeling of household travel decisions using a geographical information system," Papers in Regional Science, vol. 73, no. 2, pp. 99-117, 1994.
[68] F. M. Howell, "Spatial analysis in rural sociology," in Proceedings of the 2004 Rural Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Sacramento, California, 2004.
[69] K. C. Clarke, Getting Started with Geographic Information Systems, 3rd Ed. Upper Saddle River, Prentice Hall: NJ, 2001.
[70] T. K. Bradshaw and B. Muller, "Shaping policy decisions with spatial analysis," in Spatially Integrated Social Science (Spatial Information Systems), M. F. Goodchild and D. G. Janelle, Eds., Oxford University Press, pp. 300-322, 2004.
[71] D. O'Sullivan, "Too much of the wrong kind of data: Implications for the practice of micro-scale spatial modeling," in Spatially Integrated Social Science (Spatial Information Systems), M. F. Goodchild and D. G. Janelle, Eds., Oxford University Press, pp. 95-111, 2004.
[72] D. A. Griffith, "Introduction: The need for spatial statistics," in Practical Handbook of Spatial Statistics, S. L. Arlinghaus and D. A. Griffith, Eds., Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp. 1-15, 1996.