The Adaptation of Rural Communities to Socio-Economic Change: Theoretical Insights from Atlantic Canada


  • Stacey C. Wilson-Forsberg Assistant Professor Wilfrid Laurier University


Why do certain rural communities have the capacity for renewal and innovation in the face of transformation, while others stagnate, decline, and die out? What factors are involved in the resiliency of the former communities, and what conditions cause the latter to falter in their capacity for survival? With the hope of gaining valuable insight in support of the economic development agenda of Atlantic Canada, this article reviews the definitional and theoretical literature surrounding the adaptation of rural communities to changes brought about by the transition to knowledge-based economies. The article defines and discusses the merits of community resiliency, community assets, community capitals, and social capital, placing these concepts within a larger entrepreneurial social infrastructure framework. The history and socio-economic realities of the four Atlantic Canadian Provinces are woven together in an effort to keep the literature review and arguments as relevant as possible to the current circumstances of the region. Keywords: Rural Atlantic Canada; natural resource dependence; economic development; community resiliency; community assets; social capital; entrepreneurial social infrastructure

Author Biography

Stacey C. Wilson-Forsberg, Assistant Professor Wilfrid Laurier University

Stacey Wilson-Forsberg is an Assistant Professor of human rights and human diversity at Wilfrid Laurier University (Brantford Campus). She is primarily a qualitative researcher specializing in immigration, multiculturalism, and especially the role played immigrants in community development initiatives.