Reframing rural governanance; Gerontocratic expressions of socio-ecological resilience

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This paper contributes to a developing literature which explores the role of elder community networks in supporting rural governance. In response to current austerity politics within the UK it is argued that the formal and informal networks utilised and enacted by older people are fundamental in enabling local governance to adequately function. Further, the paper explores the ways in which these civic engagements by older residents can be understood as performances of resilience. The foci of the resilience spaces in this paper are the rural Parish Councils, local community action groups and environmental campaign organisations who undertake a range of local activities. These both replace services lost through austerity cuts and raise awareness of these changes. As these civic groups are often lead by local elders, we argue that what has now developed in response to austerity politics are rural gerontocracies. Using empirical fieldwork, which explored local water resources management issues in three interconnected rural UK villages, the paper examines how the development and transmission of rural socio-ecological resilience by older people provides a critical reinterpretation of what is understood by the resilient subject, to recognise the pivotal role of burgeoning gerontocracies in rural environments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Depopulation and Rural Development Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Apr 2019


  • Gerontocracies
  • socio-ecological resilience
  • local governance
  • rural networks
  • UK
  • India


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