In current times, many rural regions in Europe are facing major social and economic problems. These developments are mirrored in the media, where rural areas face reoccurring negative discourses, which can further reduce economic opportunities e.g. by framing the regions as a less rewarding context for development. Additionally, public discourses influences the way in which the public organises its agenda, i.e. which issues (in society) should be prioritised and acted upon. The persistence and ‘reality’ of regional problems is therefore also a matter of discourses on regional problems, i.e. on how and which issues are framed as problematic.
My dissertation research in the RurAction project is thus concerned with how structurally weak rural regions are discursively constructed in the public media (newspapers) and policies, and how this is affecting the way in which problems and solutions are framed by actors carrying out projects on a local level. The case studies for the project are the regions Uckermark (Germany), Mühlviertel (Austria) and Mid-West (Ireland).