'The Urban-Rural Divide: The 'divide' between center and periphery and its political consequences'.
The claim that the recent surge in political dissatisfaction across the USA and Europe is carried by those who are disadvantaged by globalization has recently taken a spatial turn: it is mostly those living in peripheral places, the countryside, small towns, or provincial cities who feel left behind.
In our project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), we explore this thesis by talking to those who are often left out of the conversation: those living outside the metropole. We will conduct focus groups and narrative interviews in a variety of different regions across Switzerland, Germany, and England. We want to find out if a spatial gap of political satisfaction exists, what shape it takes in people’s lives, and how it varies across different countries and contexts.
We are currently going into the field in rural and semi-urban Switzerland. Here, what is traditionally called the ‘Stadt-Land Graben’ has recently re-emerged as a topic of virulent public debate. To understand how the Swiss themselves perceive this divide between the metropole, small towns, and the countryside we are conducting interviews in a variety of locations across Central Switzerland.