Beyond the rural–urban aporia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In a more interconnected world, how do we come to grip with interrelationships and connectivities that cut across long-held spatial categories, such as the rural and the urban? Amidst the uneven emphasis on urban theorization, there must be ways of theorizing the relationalities from vantage points beyond the ‘urban’. Gillen et al.'s article is a well-written piece that provides an important contribution to efforts that aim to theorize beyond the rural–urban divide. For this commentary, I discuss its theoretical gains and potential for analysis. However, I also express my hesitation towards the use of an umbrella term (‘ruralization’) that is anchored upon a problematic rural–urban binary. Perhaps a way to move forward is to take on a postcolonial suggestion that pushes for what Leitner and Sheppard call a theoretical ‘ecosystem of possibilities’, which encourages more theoretical conceptualizations from diverse voices, while drawing from various contextual realities and multiple ‘constitutive outsides’ beyond the ‘rural’ or ‘urban’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-226
Number of pages4
JournalDialogues in Human Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Postcolonial
  • rural
  • rural–urban
  • theory
  • urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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