Course code Soci2049

Credit points 4

Rural Sociology

Total Hours in Course160

Number of hours for lectures32

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes32

Independent study hours96

Date of course confirmation09.11.2021

Responsible UnitInstitute of Social Sciences and Humanities

Course developer

author Sociālo un humanitāro zinātņu institūts

Ženija Krūzmētra

Dr. geogr.

Prior knowledge

Soci1005, Basics of Research

Soci1014, General Sociological Theory

Course abstract

The aim of the study course is to provide students with knowledge about the rural sociology as one of the fields of sociology that studies rural society, its social life in rural areas in different countries and regions.The course provides knowledge about the study of rural society, the impact of political and socio-economic transformations on rural society, changes in the rural environment (economic, social, natural), and views Latvian rural development in the context of European rural development. The course focuses on the analysis of rural change and the acquisition of international experience. Students gain knowledge of theories and methods of rural research, acquire skills and abilities to independently perform field and group work related to the sociological research of current rural problems.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Knowledge. Knows theories, concepts, processes of rural change and the most frequently used methods in the sociological research of rural society (individual task, seminars, discussions, exam); understands rural change processes, their indicators, their application and various types of problem solving (individual task, discussions, exam).
Skills. Ability to independently identify and analyse various aspects of rural society change (presentations of the results of individual task, discussions); ability to collect, process and analyse various types of information (results of individual task, presentations, discussions); ability to develop solutions using a variety of visual examples from around the world and find creative ideas for a variety of rural development (presentations of the results of individual task, discussions, exam); ability to responsibly plan the time for the implementation of the assigned work (individual tasks); ability to substantiate his / her opinion, put forward arguments based on independently obtained information (presentations of the results of individual task, discussions, exam); ability to demonstrate interaction, collaboration and organizational skills (group work, field work, presentations of individual task results).
Competence. Ability to independently analyse various rural transformation processes and develop sound proposals for problem-solving at different levels (individual task, presentations, discussions, exam); ability to synthesize the findings of various sociological theories for the analysis of modern rural change processes and social life issues (individual task, group work, discussions).

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Rural discourse in science and society. - 2 hours
2. Rural sociology in the world and in Latvia. - 2 hours
3. Rural development policy and the conditions for its formation. - 2 hours
4. Changes in the rural economy. - 2 hours
5. Sociological aspects of bioeconomy. - 2 hours
6. Quantitative and qualitative changes in rural society and population. - 2 hours
7. Changes in rural services. - 2 hours
8. Counter-urbanization, peri-urbanization, rural gentrification. - 2 hours
9. Repopulation policy in rural areas. - 2 hours
10. Rural idyll and rural promotion. - 2 hours
11. The role of the cultural environment in the sustainable development of rural areas. - 2 hours
12. Rural development and protection NGOs. - 2 hours
13. The movement of smart villages. - 2 hours
14. Rural conflicts. - 2 hours
15. Globalization and the countryside. - 2 hours
16. Innovations in the countryside. - 2 hours
List of seminar and practical topics (32 hours)
1. Different national approaches to the classification of rural areas. Discussion. - 1 hour
2. The most prominent rural sociologists in the world and their scientific contribution. Individual task, seminar. - 3 hours
3. Latvian rural society model. Practical task. - 1 hour
4. Evaluation of Latvia's rural development. Factors promoting and inhibiting rural development. Group work. - 2 hours
5. Repopulation policy. Practical task, analysis of examples, discussion. - 2 hours
6. Culturally embedded local development - examples of good practice. Seminar. - 2 hours
7. Group work: research of a topical rural problem. Individual task. - 6 hours
8. Field work: research of a current rural problem. Individual task. Presentation. - 10 hours
9. Defending group work. Presentation, discussion. - 2 hours
10. Innovations in the countryside. Smart villages. Discussion. - 3 hours

Requirements for awarding credit points

At the end of the study course master students must pass a written exam. The final assessment is cumulative on the following topics and tasks: 1) Rural sociology in the world and in Latvia (practical task - 10%); 2) Group work: research of a topical rural problem (individual task 1 and its presentation - 20%); 3) Field work: research of a topical rural problem (individual task 2 and its presentation - 20%); 4) exam on all topics - 50%.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

Literature studies, preparation of presentations and for the exam on all topics covered in the course.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Students must prepare a practical task (10%), two independent tasks and their presentations (40%), must pass an exam on all topics covered in the course (50%). 10% corresponds to one point on the 10-point assessment scale.

Compulsory reading

1. Hillyard S. The Sociology of Rural Life. New York: Berg, 2007, 203 p. [Tiešsaiste] Pieejams:
2. Cloke P., Marsden T., Mooney P. (eds.) Handbook of Rural Studies. London: SAGE, 2006, 496 p.
3. Cimdiņa A., Raubiško I. Cilvēks un darbs Latvijas laukos. Rīga: Zinātne, 2012, 174 lpp.
4. Moseley M. Rural Development: Principles and Practice. London: SAGE, 2003, 227 p.
5. Gittel R., Vidal A. Community Organizing: Building Social Capital as a Development Strategy. London: SAGE, 1998, 206 p.
6. Macclancy J. (ed) Alternative Countrysides: Anthropological Approaches to Rural Western Europe Today. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015, 172 p. eBook. [Tiešsaiste] Pieejams elektroniski LLU EBSCOhost datubāzē:
7. Miele M., Higgins V., Bjørkhaug H., Truninger M. (eds) Transforming the Rural: Global Processes and Local Futures. Vol.24, 1st ed. Research in Rural Sociology and Development. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited. 350 p. eBook. [Tiešsaiste] Pieejams elektroniski LLU EBSCOhost datubāzē:

Further reading

1. Carolan M. The Sociology of Food and Agriculture. London: Routledge, 2012, 336 p.
2. Woods M. Rural Geography. London: SAGE, 2005, 330 p.
3. Weber M. Agrarian Sociology of Ancient Civilisations. Verso, 1998, 424 p.
4. Shucksmith M., Brown D.L., Shortall S., Vergunst J., Warner M.E. (eds) Rural Transformations and Rural Policies in the US and UK. New York: Routledge, 2014, 424 p.
5. Kolāte E., Kursīte E. Latvijas pierobežas pēdējie mohikāņi. Rundas, 2016, 127 lpp.
6. Kursīte E., Millere L. Nākamā pietura – mājas. Rundas, 2019, 191 lpp.
7. Būmane I. Latvijas viensētu stāsti. Rīga: Lauku Avīze, 2013, 238 lpp. ISBN10: 9984878902, ISBN13: 9789984878904

Periodicals and other sources

1. Rural Sociology. European Society for Rural Sociology. Online -ISSN 1549-0831. [Tiešsaiste] Pieejams:
2. Sociologia Ruralis. European Society for Rural Sociology. Online -ISSN 1467-9523 [Tiešsaiste] Pieejams:
3. Journal of Rural Studies. ELESVIAR. 2010-2011.-ISSN:0743-0167 [Tiešsaiste] Pieejams:


Compulsory study course in the ESAF academic bachelor study programme “Sociology of Organizations and Public Administration”