‘RURALIM’, the project that studies the new imaginary of the rural in Spain starts

The Department of Communication Studies and the Asterisc Communication Research Group at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) take part in a research that aims to know about the narratives of the rural in Spain analyzing culture, documentary and journalistic works

The rural Spain is immersed at a demographical crisis. Towns throughout the peninsula suffer from a lack of inhabitants, and many are described as “rural areas at risk of irreversible depopulation.” The issue has broken into the public agenda of the media. The institutions have reactivated these zones with plans of promotion of the rural areas. These renewed efforts, however, must be accompanied by a reflection on the narratives that circulate socially about the rural world. The research project RURALIM, “New Rural Imaginaries in Contemporary Spain Culture, Documentary and Journalism” centers at the study of the new representations in rural Spain.

The Department of Communication Studies of the URV and the Asterisc Communication Research Group contribute to studying the new collective view of rural areas on the peninsula. All this in a context where a stereotyped image of the idealization, victimization or ridicule of the countryside has proliferated. RURALIM, then, is a project that reverses this idea and identify and reflect on the stories about the future of rurality as a possible, sustainable and fairer space.

The project is defined within a humanist and culturalist approach, therefore, it applies an in-depth reading of cultural, artistic and audiovisual productions, both in fiction and in the documentary and journalistic field. The objects of study are related to the new rural narratives with a presence in traditional and emerging media. Therefore, the project will analyze products in the fields of literature, cinema, television or new audiovisual productions.

RURALIM will offer essayistic results and reflective, critical and cultural analysis in the form of academic articles. It also intends to make a video-essay production in short format, with the participation of scholars, experts and people involved in rural organizations or movements. In addition, the study intends to be an accompanying guide for the institutions and creators of rural mobilizations.

The team that materializes the project is led by Enric Castelló, professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, and includes the participation of researchers from the university such as Bernat López, Enrique Canovaca and Marina Troyano, as well as others from the University of Córdoba, the University of the Basque Country, Bangor University (UK) and Princeton University (USA).

The project is in line with the objectives of international organizations that promote sustainable development, responsible consumption and climate action. It is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the State Research Agency and the European Regional Development Fund ‘A way of making Europe’ (PID2021-122696NB-I00).

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