Rural/Urban: Laying bare the controversy

Dymitrow, M. (2018) Rural/urban: laying bare the controversy. Geographia Polonica 2018, Volume 91, Issue 4, pp. 375-397

Publication type
Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Geographia Polonica
Mirek Dymitrow
Published year
rural urban conceptions of space critical analysis knowledge production



Concepts are the basic building blocks of all knowledge, while the strength of any societal project is dependent
on the quality of those concepts. As two of the oldest geographical concepts still in widespread use, ‘rural/urban’
stand in stark contrast to the immense changes encountered by the society over the last century, let alone
decades. To better understand this controversy, this paper moves away from conventional rural and urban
theory, and instead focuses on the philosophical constitution of this conceptual pair. By critically evaluating
six of the most common conceptions of ‘rural/urban’, including their pros and cons, this paper makes a case
for reconfiguring our relationship with familiar understandings of societal organization. The paper concludes
that by paying greater attention to how concepts operate at a cognitive level, how they are construed and
collectively maintained, can help facilitate decisions whether ‘rural/urban’ are truly analytically contributory
to a specific line of thought or action, or whether they merely linger as a cultural ostinato that is too elusive
to be conquered or held.

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