Conceptual and Analytical Categories in the Social Sciences

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Conceptual and Analytical Categories in the Social Sciences

Globalization implies a general shift in spatio - temporal relations and the simultaneous deterritorialization of cultural phenomena orchestrated by the multiple global flows of people, id eas , and fashions. Within the context of globalization, it is troublesome for social scientists to continue using the “ urban – rural ” dichotomy as distinctive analytical and m ethodological categories because it tends to suggest a cont ingency in the pattern and character of social phenomena. This article sets out to theoretically rethink this conceptualization because of the multi - stranded and culturally embedded nature of human behavio r in both space and time which has led to difficul ties in delineating rigid subject boundaries today unlike in the past. Drawing on empirical data from diverse social phenomena, but particularly from the urban procurement and consumption of medicinal plant recipes, “ dualistic ” religious inclination and urban agriculture, we demonstrate that the geographic, spatio - temporal conceptualization of distinctive urban and rural phenomena are problematic. We suggest the notions of “ urban - ruralism ” and “ rural - urbanism ” as theoretical and methodological reconc eptuali z ations to capture multipl e embedded processes and to show that there exists a type of behavio ral continuum/consistency because individuals have adopted hyphenated identities.

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