Rural lives during COVID-19: crisis, resilience and redistributing societal risk

Jayne Glass*, Mark D. Shucksmith, Polly Chapman, J Atterton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the redistribution and rescaling of societal risk inrural Britain during the COVID-19 pandemic, as one episode of thepermacrisis. Drawing on empirical work in three contrasting areasof Scotland and England, we analyse individuals’ experiences ofrisk and of the institutions which offer them support in times ofcrisis (markets, state, voluntary and community organisations, andfamily and friends). Our findings reveal the unequal distribution ofsocietal risk during the pandemic, exacerbated by a legacy ofprecariatisation and individualisation in the labour market andwelfare reforms. Although the state acted to mitigate risk andfinancial hardship during the lockdown, it was often voluntaryand community organisations that filled the gaps left by theinability of the state to reach effectively into rural areas. Socialinfrastructure and institutional capital are therefore central to themitigation of vulnerability and societal risk. This raises importantquestions about the capacity of institutions to provide supportin times of crisis to rural citizens. Unless there is societal poolingof risk through such institutions to ensure social protection andthat nobody is disadvantaged by where they live, future episodesof the permacrisis are likely to exacerbate inequalities andvulnerabilities in rural communities
Original languageEnglish
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Early online date1 Aug 2023
Publication statusFirst published - 1 Aug 2023


  • COVID-19
  • permacrisis
  • poverty
  • resilience
  • Risk
  • rural


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