The Countryside: Towards a Theme Park?

Hugh D Clout

in The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560981
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

The Countryside: Towards a Theme Park?

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  • History
  • European History
  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)
  • Economic History



By the dawn of the twenty-first century, Europe's agriculture had been reshaped dramatically, since policy makers viewed rural space as more than a resource base of crops, animal products, and timber. Rapid urbanisation and industrial growth since 1945 has covered substantial stretches of rural Europe with bricks, concrete, and tarmac. Despite challenges and reversals, collectivisation was implemented throughout Eastern Europe by the early 1960s. In Western Europe, the main objective of the postwar farm policies was to increase food supplies. Changing patterns of trade, concern over the costs of supporting farmers, worries about food quality and animal health, the challenge of sustainability, and the need to retain viable economies in the countryside have reconfigured the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, and have shifted the attention of policy makers away from food to wider issues of rural management.

Keywords: Europe; agriculture; countryside; urbanisation; collectivisation; sustainability; Common Agricultural Policy; European Union; rural management; food supplies

Article.  8756 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945) ; Economic History

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