This paper develops the concept of ruralization as a contribution to human geography and as a response to how the rural tends to be treated as a residual category in urban studies. We understand ruralization as the processual, more-than-residual and geographically-variegated socio spatial dynamics of contemporary human investments in rural land, livelihoods and lifestyle. Our human centred approach to ruralization processes comprises three prominent dynamics of ruralization experienced through residents living at the intersection of rural and urban Southeast Asia: in situ ruralization, relational re-ruralization, and rural lifestyle values. A relational dialogue between ruralization and urbanization has always been present; we argue, however, that it needs to be considered afresh both temporally (in the contemporary moment) and regionally (from the context of Asia).
Jamie Gillen is director and senior lecturer in Global Studies at the University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. His research is broadly concerned with how people navigate various types of marginalization in mainland Southeast Asia, and in particular in Vietnam. Topics he considers under this umbrella are tourism, cultural politics, rural-urban relations, the ethics of fieldwork, and agrarian change. New work is interested in village politics and the concept of authenticity.