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Professor Jo Little

Professor Jo Little

Professor in Gender and Geography


 Amory C424


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


I have a BA in Geography from the University of Wales. My PhD on rural class change and planning is from the University of Reading. After completing my PhD, I worked on research projects at Lampeter and UCL before lecturing in rural planning at the University of the West of England. I came to Exeter in 1994 and am now Professor of Gender and Geography. I have had many administrative roles in Geography.  I  was Head of Department for 2 years from August 2011.

My research has had two main strands - rural geography and gender and geography.  A number of projects have combined the two interests.  I have worked for many years on rural women's employment and identity. Most recently I have researched issues of gender and fear in rural communities and, in particular, the expereince of and response to domestic violence and abuse in the countryside.


BA (Wales),
PhD (Reading)

Research group links

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Research interests

Jo is and a member of the Nature, Society, and Rurality Research Group. Her main research and teaching interests are in rural communities and social identities and in gender and geography. She has been involved in research on women and the rural labour market for a number of years, looking at the constraints that impact on women’s access to employment in the countryside and the relationship between the cultural construction of rurality and women’s involvement in paid work. Jo’s  research interests in rural gender identities also developed to include work on the performance of sexuality and on the rural body.  More recently Jo’s research has developed in two further directions.  Firstly, in the study of local food and rural regeneration in the South West and West Midlands through a project run jointly with colleagues from Coventry and Exeter.  Secondly in work on intimate partner abuse and the rural community.  Finally, Jo’s work on the rural body has developed to include work on rural nature and on the links between healthy well-being and transformational tourism. The majority of Jo’s research has been in the UK although she is also involved in work on rural New Zealand.

Research networks

COST European network on rural poverty

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Pini B, Brandth B, Little J (2014). Feminisms and Ruralities., Lexington Books. Abstract.
Little JK (eds)(2005). Critical studies in rural gender issues. Aldershot, Ashgate. Abstract.
Little JK (2002). Gender and Rural Geography: identity, sexuality and power in the countryside., Prentice Hall.

Journal articles

Little JK, Pain R, Panelli R, Kindon S (In Press). Moments in everyday/distant geopolitics: Young people’s fears and hopes. Geoforum, 41, 972-982.
Little JK (In Press). Nature, Well-being and the Transformational Self. Geographical Journal Abstract.
Little JK, Ilbery B, Watts D, Gilg A, Simpson S (In Press). Regionalisation and the rescaling of agro-food governance: case study evidence from two English regions. Political Geography Abstract.
Little JK (In Press). Transformational Tourism, Nature and Well-being: new perspectives on fitness and the body. Sociologia Ruralis, 52, 257-271.
Little J (2020). Violence, the Body and the Spaces of Intimate War. Geopolitics, 25(5), 1118-1137. Abstract.
Little J (2019). Editorial: Emotional geography and Transactions. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44(2), 210-213.
Watts D, Little J, Ilbery B (2018). ‘I am pleased to shop somewhere that is fighting the supermarkets a little bit’. A cultural political economy of alternative food networks. Geoforum, 91, 21-29. Abstract.
Little J (2017). Running, health and the disciplining of women's bodies: the influence of technology and nature. Health Place, 46, 322-327. Abstract.  Author URL.
Little JK (2016). Understanding Domestic Violence in Rural Spaces: a Research Agenda. Progress in Human Geography Abstract.
Little J (2013). <i>Rural</i>. Key Ideas in Geography. PROGRESS IN HUMAN GEOGRAPHY, 37(2), 321-323.  Author URL.
Little J (2013). Pampering, well-being and women's bodies in the therapeutic spaces of the spa. Social and Cultural Geography, 14(1), 41-58. Abstract.
Little J (2012). ‘Pampering, Well-Being and Women’s Bodies in the Therapeutic Spaces of the Spa’. Social and Cultural Geography
Ilbery B, Watts D, Little J, Gilg A, Simpson S (2010). Attitudes of food entrepreneurs towards two grant schemes under the first England Rural development Programme, 2000-2006. Land Use Policy, 27(3), 683-689. Abstract.
Little J, Ilbery B, Watts D (2009). Gender, consumption and the relocalisation of food: a research agenda. Sociologia Ruralis, 49(3), 201-217. Abstract.
Little J, Panelli R (2007). 'Outback' romance? a reading of nature and heterosexuality in rural Australia. Sociologia Ruralis, 47(3), 173-188. Abstract.
Little JK (2007). Constructing nature in the performance of rural heterosexualities. Environment and Planning D Society and Space, 25(5), 851-866.
Little J (2007). Gender and geography in the United Kingdom, 1980-2006. Documents d'Analisi Geografica(49), 57-72. Abstract.
Little J (2007). Gender and geography: Developments in the United Kingdom 1980-2006. BELGEO(3), 335-348. Abstract.
Ilbery B, Watts D, Simpson S, Gilg A, Little J (2006). Mapping local foods: Evidence from two English regions. British Food Journal, 108(3), 213-225. Abstract.
Ilbery B, Watts D, Simpson S, Gilg A, Little J (2006). Mapping local foods: evidence from two English regions. BRITISH FOOD JOURNAL, 108(2-3), 213-225.  Author URL.
Little J (2006). Rural geography: Processes, responses and experiences in rural restructuring. EUROPEAN URBAN AND REGIONAL STUDIES, 13(2), 189-191.  Author URL.
Little JK, Kraack A, Panelli R (2005). Womens fear of crime: a rural perspective. Journal of Rural Studies, 21(2), 151-163.
Panelli R, Little JK, Kraack A (2004). A community issue? rural women's feelings of safety and fear in New Zealand. Gender, Place and Culture, 11(3), 445-466. Abstract.
Panelli R, Kraak A, Little JK (2004). Claiming space and community: rural women's strategies for living with, and beyond, fear. Geoforum, 36(4), 495-508. Abstract.
Little J (2003). 'Riding the rural love train': Heterosexuality and the rural community. Sociologia Ruralis, 43(4), 401-417. Abstract.
Little JK, Leyshon M (2003). Embodied Rural Geographies: developing research agendas. Progress in Human Geography, 27(3), 257-272. Abstract.
Little JK, Panelli R (2003). Gender research in rural geography. Gender, Place and Culture, 10(3), 281-289. Abstract.
Little, J. (2003). Riding the Rural Love Train: heterosexuality and the rural community. Sociologia Ruralis, 43(4), 401-417.
Little J (2002). Rural geography: Rural gender identity and the performance of masculinity and femininity in the countryside. Progress in Human Geography, 26(5), 665-670.
Halliday J, Little J (2001). Amongst women: Exploring the reality of rural childcare. Sociologia Ruralis, 41(4), 423-437.
Little J (2001). Civility in an English village. SOCIOLOGY-THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, 35(4), 1005-1007.  Author URL.
Little J (2001). New rural governance?. Progress in Human Geography, 25(1), 97-102.
Little J, Jones O (2000). Masculinity, gender, and rural policy. RURAL SOCIOLOGY, 65(4), 621-639.  Author URL.
Little JK (1996). Tourism: a gender analysis - Kinnaird,V, Hall,D. ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY, 72(1), 103-104.  Author URL.


Little J, Garland FS (2016). Children, Domestic Violence and Prevention: What do Family Intervention Workers Have to Offer?. In  (Ed) 'Domestic Violence. Interdisciplinary perspectives on protection, prevention and intervention', Palgrave MacMillan.
Garland FS, Little J (2016). Children, Domestic Violence and Prevention: What do Family Intervention Workers Have to Offer?. In Hilder S, Bettinson V (Eds.) Domestic Violence. Interdisciplinary perspectives on protection, prevention and intervention, Chapter 6: Palgrave MacMillan. Abstract.
Little J (2015). Rural Geography. In  (Ed) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition, 795-800. Abstract.
Little JK (2015). The development of feminist perspectives in rural gender studies. In  (Ed) Feminisms and Ruralities, Lanham: Lexington Books, 107-118. Abstract.
Little J (2012). Healthy rural bodies? Embodied approaches to the study of rural women’s health. In  (Ed) Rural Women's Health, 367-384.
Little J (2012). The new therapeutic spaces of the Spa. In  (Ed) Wellbeing and Place, 217-230.
Little J (2009). Gender and Rurality. In  (Ed) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 315-319. Abstract.
Pain R, Smith S (2008). Nature, fear and rurality. In  (Ed) Fear: Critical Geopolitics of Everyday Life, Guildford: Ashgate. Abstract.
Little JK (2006). Embodiment and rural masculinity. In Bell, M M, Campbell, H, Finney, M (Eds.) Country Boys: masculinity and rural life, Pennsylvania: Penn State Univesity Press, 183-203.
Little JK (2006). Gender and Sexuality. In Cloke, P, Marsden, T, Mooney, P (Eds.) Handbook of Rural Studies, London: Sage, 365-378.
Little J (2006). Gender and sexuality in rural communities. In  (Ed) Handbook of Rural Studies, 365-378.
Cloke P, Little J (2005). Conclusion: Marginality and rural others. In  (Ed) Contested Countryside Cultures: Rurality and Socio-cultural Marginalisation, 264-276.
Little J (2005). Employment marginality and women's self-identity. In  (Ed) Contested Countryside Cultures: Rurality and Socio-cultural Marginalisation, 133-151.
Morris C, Little JK (2005). Rural Work: an overview of women's experiences. In Little JK, Morris C (Eds.) Critical Studies in Rural Gender Issues, Aldershot: Ashgate, 9-26.
Little JK, Panelli R (2005). Women and crime: a rural perspective. In Little J, Morris C (Eds.) Critical studies in rural gender issues, Aldershot: Ashgate, 141-158.


Panelli R, Kraack A, Little J (2005). Claiming space and community: rural women's strategies for living with, and beyond, fear.  Author URL.


Winter DM, Lobley M, Johnson G, Reed M, Little J (2004). Rural Stress Review. RSIN, Rural Solution.

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External Engagement and Impact

Committee/panel activities

President of the European Society for Rural Sociology (2007-13)

Member of ARISTEIA panel of international academics evaluating a major research programme for the Greek National Council for Research and Technology.

Editorial responsibilities

Member of the editorial boards for Journal of Rural Studies and Gender, Place and Culture

External Examiner Positions

Exeternal examiner for undergraduate geography courses at UCL (2008-11), Bristol (2009-11) and Aberystwyth Universities (2012-) 

Invited lectures & workshops

Sociologia Ruralis invited key note speaker at the Congress for European Rural Sociology, Chania, August 2011.

Key note speaker at Gender and Rural Geography Symposium, National University of Ireland, Galway, July 2011

Key note speaker at Gender and Historical Rural Geography Seminar, University of Warwick, September, 2011

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Undergraduate modules:

  • GEO2308 Fieldtrip: New York City
  • GEO2122 Social Geography
  • GEO3101 Gender and Geography



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

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Office Hours:

I am working reduced hours this year so not running formal office hours.  If you want to contact me for any reason please use email in the first instance and we can arrange to meet. 

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