Ruth McAreavey, David L. Brown | Palgrave Communications
Scholars on both sides of the Atlantic have grappled with the difficulties of conducting comparative research on rural issues in general, and on rural poverty and inequality in particular. Shortall and Warner have observed that “The UK-US dialog is highly illustrative of how seemingly similar situations turn out to be full of complexity and difference.” That complexity and difference can serve to turn researchers away from comparative collaborations. We begin our paper with an overview of some of the general differences (and similarities) between how rural scholars in the UK and US have examined poverty and inequality in rural areas. Analysis of the two welfare regimes in these countries provides the backdrop for examining specific aspects of deprivation for rural people and communities. Our paper draws on our experience as members of a trans-Atlantic research group to illustrate the type of organisational infrastructure that can support international, interdisciplinary collaboration. We conclude by offering suggestions for future comparative research. Our paper progresses earlier debates in rural studies on the challenges of doing comparative US-UK analysis.