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Josef Bernard

Abstract

This article contributes to the rural-urban quality of life comparison issue by investigating territorial differences in quality of life using indices of poverty, satisfaction and opportunity deprivation. The article introduces three innovative elements. First, rural-urban differences are analysed alongside with the within-rural differentiation; second, two distinct spatial patterns of different forms of rural territorial disadvantage are introduced; third, the net-effect of the residential environment is assessed. Empirical results, based on survey data, show increased opportunity deprivation in rural areas, which however is not accompanied by decreased community satisfaction. For the most indices, within-rural differences proved larger than the difference between urban and rural areas.

Open access

Martin Šimon and Josef Bernard

Abstract

The development of the Czech countryside differs in many ways from trajectories typical for Eastern and Central European rural areas in the last 25 years. In our article, we discuss the nature of the ‘Czech exceptionalism’, with reference to three examples, namely population development, the dynamics of rural/agricultural labour markets and rural governance. Firstly, we describe the major driving forces behind rural development in Czechia over the past 25 years and how these forces are reflected in the academic discourse. Secondly, we argue that an important feature of rural regions in Czechia is their population growth combined with a rapid labour market transformation and a low social importance of agriculture. All these changes are interpreted as a shift towards multifunctionality of rural areas rather than as a general trend towards post-productivism; indeed, this is because large parts of rural areas remain economically based on industrial production. The ongoing transformations have been reflected only partially in an academic discourse. In conclusion, we argue that there is a need to re-examine the use of EEC as a concept framing the position of sociology in rural research.