Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Remote Rural Areas

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Rural Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: 8229, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Organizers: Tobias Federwisch
Chairs: Tobias Federwisch


Many remote and structurally weak rural areas are facing a mutual intensification of structural, economic and demographic challenges. As a consequence, these rural areas seem to recede from the developments of the more prosperous cities and regions (cf. Lang et al. 2015), and they are often considered to be opposed to innovation and entrepreneurship.

In many crisis-shaken rural areas, however, people take successful action for a more liveable economic and socio-cultural environment. They experimentalise with (socially) innovative ideas, concepts and practices, and thus put an end to the often mentioned downward spiral (cf. Dargan & Shucksmith 2008; Copus et al. 2013; Richter 2016).

This session is about remote and structurally weak rural areas where players from politics, administration, business and/or civil society have committed themselves to seek creative ways to tackle their problems and to accelerate up the development of their community with the help of innovative projects.

The organizer welcomes either conceptually, empirically or methodologically focused papers which address innovation and entrepreneurship in remote and structurally weak rural areas. The organizer is looking forward to facilitating discussions around social innovation (cf. Butkeviciené 2009; Bock 2012, 2016; Neumeier 2012, 2017; Dax et al. 2013; Esparcia 2014; Bosworth et al. 2016) and social entrepreneurship in remote and structurally weak rural areas (cf. Christmann 2014; Mayer & Baumgartner 2014; Fink et al. 2017).

The papers can address the following (yet not exhaustive) questions:

• What can be understood by (social) innovation and (social) entrepreneurship? How are these approaches related to time, space or place?

• Which socially innovative and entrepreneurial activities can be observed (new fields of activity and new forms of collaboration etc.)?

• How do socially innovative and entrepreneurial activities contribute to a more liveable economic and socio-cultural environment?

• Which conditions are necessary to foster the creation and continuation of (social) innovation and (social) entrepreneurship?

• Who are the drivers of innovation processes (individual players, public administration, corporations etc.)?

• Which participating actors (state institutions, companies, banks, initiatives, elderly people, new residents etc.) and networks can be observed?

• In which processes (social) innovation and (social) entrepreneurship are embedded (especially asking about the different forms of communication)?

• What are the pathways (including milestones) of (social) innovation and (social) entrepreneurship in those rural areas?

• How do people struggle with (social) innovation and (social) entrepreneurship in remote and structurally weak rural areas? How do they cope with these challenges?

• What is the surplus of socially innovative projects and entrepreneurship (impact)? How do they contribute to social change?


Bock, B. B. (2016): Rural marginalisation and the role of social innovation: a turn towards nexogenous development and rural reconnection. In: Sociologia Ruralis 56, 4, 552-573.

Bock, B. B. (2012): Social innovation and sustainability; how to disentangle the buzzword and its application in the field of agriculture and rural development. In: Studies in Agricultural Economics 114, 57-63.

Bosworth, G., Rizzo, F., Marquardt, D., Strijker, D., Haartsen, T. & A. A. Thuesen (2016): Identifying Social Innovations in European Local Rural Development Initiatives. In: The European Journal of Social Science Research 29, 442–461.

Butkeviciené, E. (2009): Social innovations in rural communities: methodological framework and empirical evidence. In: Social Sciences 63, 1, 80–88.

Christmann, G. B. (2014): Social Entrepreneurs on the Periphery: Uncovering Emerging Pioneers of Regional Development. In: disP - The Planning Review 50, 1, 43-55.

Copus, A. K., Shucksmith, M., Dax, T. & D. Meredith (2013): Cohesion Policy for Rural Areas after 2013. A Rationale Derived from the EDORA project (European Development Opportunities in Rural Areas) – ESPON 2013 Project 2013/1/2. In: Studies in Agricultural Economics 113, 121-132.

Dargan, L. & M. Shucksmith (2008): LEADER and Innovation. In: Sociologia Ruralis 48, 3, 274-291.

Dax, T., Strahl, W., Kirwan, J. & D. Maye (2013): The Leader programme 2007-2013: Enabling or disabling social innovation and neo-endogenous development? Insights from Austria and Ireland. In European Urban and Regional Studies.

Esparcia, J. (2014): Innovation and networks in rural areas. An analysis from European innovative projects. In: Journal of Rural Studies 34, 1-14.

Fink, M., Lang, R. & R. Richter (2017): Social Entrepreneurship in Marginalised Rural Europe: Towards Evidence-Based Policy for Enhanced Social Innovation. In: Regions 306, 1, 6-10.

Lang, T., Henn, S., Sgibnev W. & K. Ehrlich (2015): Understanding geographies of polarization and peripheralization: perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. Basingstoke.

Mayer, H. & D. Baumgartner (2014): The Role of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Peripheral Regions. In: disP – The Planning Review 50, 1, 16-23.

Neumeier, S. (2017): Social innovation in rural development: identifying the key factors of success. In: The Geographical Journal 183, 1, 34-46. doi: 10.1111/geoj.12180.

Neumeier, S. (2012): Why do Social Innovations in Rural Development Matter and Should They be Considered More Seriously in Rural Development Research? – Proposal for a Stronger Focus on Social Innovations in Rural Development Research. In: Sociologia Ruralis 52, 1, 48-69.

Richter, R. (2016): Social Innovations in Rural Life Worlds. In: Carlow, V. M. (eds.): Ruralism: The Future of Villages and Small Towns in an Urbanizing World. Berlin, 140-147.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Caroline Staub*, University of Florida, Anne Gilot, University of Florida, Molene Pierre, University of Florida, Edzer Milord, University of Florida, Gerald Murray, University of Florida, A climate for innovation: Changing livelihoods in Haitian rural, mountain regions 20 3:05 PM
Presenter ANTONIO LUNA-GARCIA*, UNIVERSITAT POMPEU FABRA BARCELONA, Rosa Cerarols Ramirez, Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona, Creative geographies and innovation strategies in non urban areas in Catalonia (Spain). Beyond the Urban / Rural Divide. 20 3:25 PM
Presenter Charlotte Pusch*, Hamburg University of Technology - Institute for Transport Planning and Logistics, Getting a picture! Spatial information innovating the planning process in remote rural areas 20 3:45 PM
Presenter Tobias Federwisch*, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Anika Noack, Brandenburg University of Technology, Social innovation in structurally disadvantaged rural regions. The role of urban factors and cross-border constellations of actors 20 4:05 PM
Discussant Tobias Federwisch 20 4:25 PM

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