Simard, M., Guimond, L., Vézina, J., Neo-rural populations and their relations with local decision makers in rural Québec: Collaboration or conflict? GeoJournal, 2017.
Territoire et économie
Neo-rural populations and their relations with local decision makers in rural Québec: Collaboration or conflict?
The socio-demographic recomposition of the countryside is affecting local interactions and power relations. Understanding these relationships remains a challenge, as the studies to date are often limited to conflicts between neo-rural populations (newcomers) and long-time country residents over partial issues, without including decision makers. To go beyond this conflictual and fragmentary perspective, the objective of this article is to present an overall picture of both cooperative and oppositional relations between four groups, namely, newcomers, long-time rural residents, leaders of local organizations and municipal officials, in regard to all the issues that concern them. The data are based on interviews with these various actors in two contrasting rural areas of Québec (Canada). After looking at the newcomers’ mixed assessment of their participation in community life, we concentrate on areas of collaboration and/or conflict between all the actors regarding demographic, economic, sociocultural, political, environmental and agricultural issues. Three main trends emerge, revealing unexpected ways of interacting, complex power relations and antagonistic conceptions of rural spaces and their future development.