Dr. Ken Bessant

Ph.D. (University of Manitoba)

(204) 571-8516

Research Interests

I have been a resident and student of varying rural environments for the better part of my life, most notably as a long-term member of two Manitoba communities, a “part-time” farmer, and a rural social scientist for over 25 years. My research interests include:

  • social and community capital
  • rural community health, vitality, resilience…
  • academic versus lay definitions of “community”
  • the diverse functions, activities, and linkages among community (economic) development organizations
  • multiple job-holding within the farm family household (division of labour)
  • the role of women in agriculture
  • the farm “crisis” and farm stress
  • the changing structure of agriculture

In addition to the above rural-community-development issues, I maintain a keen interest in the dynamic interchange among theory, research, practice, and instruction in the field of rural community development and rural studies. My desire to become a more effective researcher and methods instructor is reflected in several publications in the fields of mathematics education, statistics, and measurement.

Although my research activities may appear, on the surface, to be somewhat diverse, they emanate from an unwavering concern for “rural” people and places.

Publications (Since 2000)

Bessant, K.C. 2018. The Relational Fabric of Community. Palgrave Macmillan: New York.

Bessant, K.C. 2016. Whither Gemeinschaft: Willing and acting together as a community. In Mathieu , D. (ed.), The Anthem Companion to Ferdinand Tönnies. 59-78.

Bessant, K.C. 2014. An interactional approach to emergent interorganizational fields. Community Development. 45(1): 60-75.

Bessant, K.C. 2014. The relational genesis of community: Self-other dialogue. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. 24: 467-478.

Bessant, K.C. 2013. Community development corporations as vehicles of  community economic development: The case of rural Manitoba. In R. G. Phillips and T. L. Besser (Eds.), Community Economic Development. New York, NY: Routledge (re-release of an article published in Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society (2005).

Bessant, K.C. 2012. The interactional community: Emergent fields of collective agency. Sociological Inquiry, 82, 628-645.

Bessant, K.C. 2011. Authenticity, community, and modernity. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 41, 2–32.

Bessant, K.C. 2010. Pluriactivity: More than just ‘fringe’ behaviour. In K. B. Beesley (Ed.), The rural-urban fringe in Canada: Conflict and controversy. Brandon, MB: The Rural Development Institute.

Bessant, K. C. 2008. A Reconsideration of Typological Method for Prairie Community Life. Prairie Forum.

Bessant, K. C. 2007. Multiple Discourses on Crisis: Agricultural, Farm, and Rural Policy Implications. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics. 55: 443–47.

Bessant, K. C. 2006. A Farm Household Conception of Pluriactivity in Canadian Agriculture: Motivation, Diversification, and Livelihood. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology. 43: 51–72.

Bessant, K. C. 2005. Community Development Corporations as Vehicles of Community Economic Development. Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society. 36: 52–72.

Bessant, K. C. and E. D. MacPherson. 2002. Thoughts on the Origins, Concepts, and Pedagogy of Statistics as a “Separate Discipline.” The American Statistician. 56: 22–28.

Bessant, K. C. 2001. A Commentary on Drodge and Reid’s “Embodied Cognition and the Mathematical Emotional Orientation.” Mathematical Thinking and Learning. 3: 315–21.

Bessant, K. C. and E. D. Monu. 2001. Motivational and Attitudinal Correlates of Female and Male Farm Operators’ Off-farm Employment in Agro-Manitoba. Prairie Forum. 26: 107–18.

Bessant, K. C. 2000. Part-time Farming Situations Among Manitoba Farm Operators: A Typological Approach. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics. 48: 259–77.

Book Reviews

Bessant, K. C. 2007. Book review: S. Markey, J.T. Pierce, K. Vodden, M. Roseland (2005), Second Growth: Community Economic Development in Rural British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press. Journal of Rural Studies, 23, 118–24.

Bessant, K. C. 2005. Book review: H. P. Diaz, J. Jaffe, and R. Stirling (Eds.)(2003), Farm Communities at the Crossroads: Challenge and Resistance. Regina, SK: Canadian Plains Research Center. Great Plains Research, 15: 166–68.

Papers in Progress

  • The search for rurality in the twenty-first century: Anachronism or reality?
  • A comparative analysis of academic and lay discourses on the meaning of community.
  • A cusp catastrophe model of the relationships among cognitive, affective, and statistics achievement variables.

Current Research Activities

  • A Field-Interactional Perspective on Interorganizational Relationships Among Local Development Associations
  • Community Capacity Building through Interorganizational Collaboration


88:352             Rural Restructuring

88:562             Rural Community Development

88:580             Guided Individual Study

88:592             Research Methods II

88:600             Thesis

88:602             Advanced Skills for Rural Development

88/90:260        Introduction to Community Development

88/90:261        Rural Society