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The countryside is a national institution in a range of countries; most people aspire to live there, many people use it for leisure and recreation and we can all watch rural life played out on our television screen, read about it in novels or consume its imagery in art and cinematography. The aim of this book is to explore the way that these aspirations and perceptions influence the way that the term '¬Srural'¬ is used across different academic disciplines. Definitions of rural are not exact, leaving room for these interpretations to have a significant impact on the meanings conveyed in different areas of research and across different economic, social and spatial contexts.