Interdisciplinarity in social innovations facing rural depopulation

JUNE 2019 Highlights

June was another hectic month with the partner meetings of SHAPE and SIMRA and also participating at the Congress organised by the European Society for Rural Sociology, which runs a congress every two years. This time it was in Trondheim, Norway, at the end of June.
As I might have mentioned before, I was co-convenor on behalf of SIMRA of a working group looking on social innovation and social farming as drivers of transformation in rural areas. I have written more about this in the SIMRA blog.
Also, I presented two papers at the congress. The first one corresponded to work in progress on the analysis of diversity in the reconfiguration of social practices in social innovation in rural areas. The second one was dedicated to the diversity of disciplines and types of knowledge involved in social innovation addressing depopulation. This contribution built in an article that I have written with my SIMRA colleague Lucia Lopez Marco. It was published just at the end of June in the journal Economia Agraria y Recursos Naturales in a special issue dedicated to depopulation and interdisciplinary research. The article is in Spanish, but the main points are in English in the slides that I used for presenting it in Trondheim and that I am pasting at the end of this post.

The main ideas are:

  • There is already a significant interdisciplinary level of inputs in social innovation initiatives that are tackling depopulation in rural areas, but there is scope for integrating more disciplines.
  • Different types of knowledge are identified in different types of initiatives regarding its approach to rural development (inclusive development, smart shrinkage, endogenous development, neoendogenous development). In particular, scientific outputs from different fields contribute to different types of strategies
  • In particular, our analysis has evidenced the scope for the integration of disciplines such as forestry, ICT, transport, and personal services. These fields are already involved in the range of initiatives analysed. However, there are no direct scientific knowledge inputs from those areas.
  • It is necessary to integrate different types of knowledge to avoid partial framing of depopulation and find new initiatives.


More details about the analysis and the specifics of the types of knowledge identified in the examples of social innovation tackling depopulation that we have in the SIMRA database are explained in the article and the presentation.

Valero, D.E. & López Marco, L. (2019). “Interdisciplinariedad en la innovación social frente a la despoblación rural”. Economía Agraria y Recursos Naturales 19(1), 17-36. doi: