Thesis opportunities by Rural Sociology Group

The Rural Sociology Group offers three interesting thesis topics for Master students of Wageningen University.

  • Gender and multifunctional farming
  • Increase in succession by farm daughters
  • Intra-European rural mobility

Interested? For all topics contact Bettina Bock: bettina.bock@wur.nl

Gender and multifunctional farming
The Rural Sociology Group is looking for a Master student who is interested in doing research among multifunctional farm women in the Netherlands. Research into the position of women in family farming started in the late seventies, early eighties. It demonstrated women’s unequal position in terms of professional recognition, payment and political representation but also stressed their importance in the daily management of the farm. Research in the nineties pointed at women’s important role in the turn towards multifunctional farming and the start of new activities on farm, which seemed to support their empowerment. By now multifunctional farming is an established sector that has grown considerably as well as professionalised. This study looks back at the development in the Netherlands since the early nineties and farm women’s changing position. What are the experiences of those women who were among the pioneers of multifunctionality in the nineties? Have they indeed achieved a more equal position in farm management? And how do they evaluate the opportunities for multifunctional farming today? Is there still a specific role for women? The student should be interested in doing fieldwork in the Netherlands and able to speak Dutch.

Increase in succession by farm daughters
The Rural Sociology Group is looking for a Master Student who is interested in doing research into the increase in farm daughters taking over their parental farm. Most of the studies on farm women  focus on farm wives, whereas little attention has been paid to the role and position of farm daughters. Recently, there are indications that the number of daughters taking over their parental farm is increasing substantially; yet there is little research and we know hardly anything about its significance for the development of family farming. This paper seeks to provide more evidence of the increase in female farm successions and its significance in the Dutch context, looking into statistics and interviewing young women who have taken over their parents’ farm, asking about their experiences and ideas about the development of the farm. Students should be interested in doing fieldwork in the Netherlands and able to speak Dutch.

Intra-European rural mobility
The Rural Sociology Group is looking for a Master student who is interested in the subject of intra-European rural-to-rural migration and its effect on rural development ‘here and there’, as for instance in the case of the continuous migration of Polish labourers. Since EU enlargement rural East-to-West migration is increasing. This is watched with concern: ‘locals’ worry about the increasing presence of immigrants, and policymakers fear outmigration as a driver of rural decline. But could mobility not also contribute to the development of remote rural areas? This study would look into the multiple and variable effects of the increasing on-going mobility between rural areas in Europe, inquiring if and how mobility could also be used as a ‘development tool’ . It departs from the idea of a translocal social space, that connects places through the social relations of mobile, multi-locally emplaced actors. It should follow migrants’ trajectory, analysing mobility practices and experiences across places, looking into its socio-economic effects but also the actors’ sense of belonging and local engagement. The student should be interested in doing fieldwork in the Netherlands and in the country of origin of the mobile workers (for instance Poland).

For more information visit http://ruralsociologywageningen.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/3-thesis-topics-offered/

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