Rural Melting-pots, Mobilities and Fragilities: Reflections on the Spanish Case

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Abstract

New migration and residential patterns and increased commuting are significantly changing Spanish rurality. Perhaps the most important change is that these processes are creating a changing world of new rural melting-pots with a mixture of residents (such as international labour and retirement migrants, returning pensioners, ex-urban groups and neo-rural residents). These mobilities led to the demographic revitalisation of many areas, supporting traditional productive sectors as well as expanding rural activities. On the other hand, automobility, as a systematic resource to compress time and space, has become a key dimension of rural social sustainability today. In many rural habitats, commuting plays a determining role for retaining young people, women and skilled workers, providing more effective combinations of residence, labour strategies and sociality. However, these processes also open up a new range of vulnerabilities and social inequalities. By analysing census data and research carried out in different regions we explore the impact of mobilities on these rural areas, their interrelation with local fixities and the fragilities underlying these relations.

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