Blueprints for rural economy: Philip Lowe's work in rural and environmental social science

Neil Ward, Jeremy Phillipson

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Philip Lowe died in February 2020, and so an academic career spanning five decades in environmental and rural social science and the sociology of knowledge came to an end. A pioneer of the social science of environmentalism since the early 1990s, Philip Lowe had been closely associated with the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University in the UK and had been the intellectual force behind establishing rural economy as both a subject and mode of social science analysis. This article reflects on a career and the evolving concept of ‘rural economy’ as an economic form, a policy realm and a knowledge practice. Through this history, it presents an account of the contribution of Philip Lowe's research and writing that, as a result of his death, now stands as a bounded and complete body of work for the benefit of future generations of scholars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-742
Number of pages20
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number4
Early online date5 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Centre for Rural Economy
  • Philip Lowe
  • Rural Economy and Land Use Programme
  • environmental politics
  • rural economy
  • rural studies

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