Regional and Rural Economies

Course: CRD 03

Instructor: Joost Dessein

Course Catalog Description

About the Course

Peasants in Cochabamba, urban farmers in Pajottenland, saffron cultivators in Taliouine or fishermen in Isafjordur. The differences among these regions is as diverse as their names suggest. Still, in their endeavour to improve their livelihoods, all people and communities face similar challenges. This course will look at regional development and related topics, from a conceptual as well as practical perspective. Conceptually, we’ll talk about different approaches to regional development and how these are discursively reflected in policies at local and regional level. We’ll discuss concepts such as territorialisation, (neo-)endogenous development, inclusive innovation and inclusive knowledge systems.

Regional development essentially involves the participation of different stakeholders. We’ll explore different tools to engage stakeholders, and focus on analytical frameworks to analyse possible pathways for regional development.

Inspired by visits to a locally embedded but globally active company and local fishermen, we’ll co-design a possible future pathway for Ísafjörður and the Westfjords.

Instructor

Professor Joost Dessein (°1971) is associate professor at the department of Agricultural Economics (Ghent University, Belgium), an affiliated member of the Centre for Sustainable Development (UGent) and a promotor of the recently established Urban Academy. He holds an Msc in Agricultural Engineering and a Msc and PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology, all of which obtained at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium).

Joost chairs the research group on Institutional, Socio-economic and Political Issues in Rural-urban Areas (INSPIRA). The main focus of INSPIRA is the study of rural and urban development processes in the food system . The research group tackles different issues related to food governance, social and environmental justice, knowledge systems, economic development, and food production and markets. Building synergies within the research group, as well as with other partners, is part of the strategic orientation of the INSPRIA, as we believe that co-creation, synergy and interdisciplinarity are necessary key-elements of a state-of-the-art research group.

Joost’s teaching and research expertise lies in the fields of Sociology of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Teaching courses such as ‘Sociological perspectives on rural development’, ‘Food policy’, ‘Sustainable Food Systems’ or a course on scientific communication, Joost inspires his students to become critical and reflexive researchers and professionals. Ongoing research includes the governance of urban food systems (Ecuador, Tanzania, Belgium, the Netherlands); the mobilising power of agroecology as a (counter-hegemonic) movement and practice (Bolivia, Argentina, Europe); the recognition and valorisation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in processes of food system innovation (Ghana) and regional development (Belgium, Europe); and dynamics in the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System AKIS (Ethiopia, Belgium).

In July 2019, he was elected as President of the European Society for Rural Sociology, the leading European organisation for rural sociology.

"Teaching to international students is extremely rewarding. As a lecturer in the International Master of Science in Rural Development, I’m used to meet students from all over the globe in the classroom. It’s very enriching to interact with people from such diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. Based on these experiences, I’m thrilled to exchange with the students at the UW in Ísafjorður! Ég hlakka!"