Development and Urbanization
Gerben Nooteboom, John McCarthy, & Takeshi Ito/Michaela Haug
Increasing integration into global markets, trade liberalization, growing land scarcity, migration and population dynamics - such as aging - are changing the social, economic and cultural landscapes of Asia. Many rural areas in Asia have become thriving centres of agricultural production and innovation. However, other areas depopulate, serve as a retirement area for migrants who return from a labouring life in the city, or maintain a pool of smallholders and labourers with precarious livelihoods. Although in general rural poverty levels are on the decline, problems of food and nutritional security persist, and rural Asia still holds the highest percentages of poverty.
In this panel, we aim to bring together scholars who study social, economic, cultural and demographic changes taking place in rural Asia in an attempt to understand the nature of agrarian change in an interdisciplinary way. What are the are the hopes and aspirations of local people in rural Southeast Asia? What constitutes the ‘good life’ in rural agrarian futures? What are the implications for understanding poverty, food security, insecurity and social policy today? We also aim to spark theoretical debate on understanding these changes. How can we make sense of changing rural Asia today and how can we integrate or move beyond existing and established analytical frameworks of understanding agrarian change?