Agents of sustainability: How horses and people co‐create, enact and embed the good life in rural places


Notions of the good life are often strongly linked to rurality. Existing conceptualisations tend towards an anthropocentric and individualised approach centred on personal wealth, status and happiness. In contrast, this article reframes the good life as an interspecies endeavur, which embeds people and animals alike by recognising their interdependent relational configurations within the wider natural-social environment. Specifically, we bring insights from the concept of buen vivir to bear on research among people who live alongside their horses in rural areas of the UK. We find that horses enhance, enable and mediate people's understanding and experience of the rural good life. In contrast to popular and scholarly conceptions that emphasise privilege and leisure, the interspecies iteration that emerges is characterised by hard work, collaboration and purposeful active learning. This has profound implications in turn for our understanding and experience of sustainability, as these interspecies relations lead participants into a more active stewardship of both the immediate and wider environment.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Marketing & Strategy
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. Sociologia Ruralis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Society for Rural Sociology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Good life,buen vivir,co-creation,human–animal relations,landscape,sustainability,Sociology and Political Science
Publication ISSN: 1467-9523
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2024 08:22
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2022 15:10
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Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 1111/soru.12387 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-05-28
Published Online Date: 2022-05-28
Accepted Date: 2022-05-13
Authors: Wadham, Helen
Wallace, Carrianne
Furtado, Tamzin



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only


Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

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