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Strong process and rural becoming: Geography, organization, creativity, and metaphysics

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Title: Strong process and rural becoming: Geography, organization, creativity, and metaphysics
Author: Brown, Scott
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Rural Studies
Advisor: Lauzon, Al
Abstract: This dissertation situated in rural inquiry explores the movement toward a Whiteheadian (creative, eventful, speculative) approach to rural geography. I approach this endeavour in four formal and variously related chapters (Chapters 2-5) that are ordered sequentially only to a degree and that each stand on their own. In Chapter 2, I outline broadly what a rural geography inspired by Whitehead’s process philosophy (philosophy of organism) might look like. I utilize the fruitful, Lefebvrian model of rural space as developed by Halfacree and reinterpret its elements through a Whiteheadian model of becoming. The movement is one from spatialization (spatial dialectics) to concrescence (process philosophy). I trace a conceptual pathway from the former to the latter and outline some broad implications for rural studies. In Chapter 3, I combine some of the sensibilities of Chapter 2 with elements of the process organizational literature as inspired by Whitehead. The first part of this chapter articulates a commonality of place and organization as found in events. The latter part explores the applicability of this developed model via a modest case study of an organization called Gateway. In Chapter 4, I outline both a regulationist lens through which the coherence and direction of social enterprise in putative rural spaces can be interrogated, and an ‘eventful’ lens through which the hybridity and sociality of rural social enterprise takes on new meaning. In Chapter 5, I outline how Whitehead’s notion of creativity can supplement traditional and popular conceptions of creativity, and then explore some implications of this approach to creativity for an organization called the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (CCRC). This dissertation is also bookended by a preface (Chapter 1) which outlines an informal and educational narrative surrounding the building of the formal chapters, and an epilogue (Chapter 6) which attempts to partially locate and illuminate the nexus of inquiry around which the four formal chapters share a common orbit.
Date: 2023-01
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