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Keywords:

  • deagrarianization;
  • new rural development paradigm;
  • postproductivism;
  • rural change

Relatively little in the literature on rural change in Southeast Asia engages with Malaysia, where the population is becoming urban-based more rapidly than in many countries in the region. The literature on change in rural Malaysia during the past 40 years, supplemented by our own research, is used to identify key features of such change, which are considered in the context of existing interpretations to arrive at deeper understandings of rural change. Existing conceptualizations of rural change, it is suggested, must account for the diversity of roles taken by individuals daily, seasonally and at different life stages, as well as in multiple locations. Further attention needs to be paid to gender, generation and class among those experiencing change. Processes of rural (and urban) changes will continue and their complexity will reflect cultural and technological evolutions that affect individuals, households and communities throughout the world.