EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010

(W112)

Transformation of rural communities in Europe: from production to consumption

Location JHT8
Date and Start Time 25 Aug, 2010 at 11:30

Convenors

Hana Horáková (Metropolitan University Prague) email
Andrea Boscoboinik (University of Fribourg) email
Mail All Convenors

Long Abstract

Recent major changes in rural development in Europe instigated by the decline in farming as a determinant, followed by population loss, lack of public services, economic and ecological degradation have brought about new demands made on rural space. A shift from the agricultural to the rural known as the 'post-productivist transition' has produced a type of modern rurality in which especially public space and rural landscape often became targets of both domestic and international forms of tourism.This workshop focuses the attention on rural development as a process of change and continuity, on how it is affected primarily by tourism. We invite papers that are grounded both in fieldwork and in theoretical analysis. They should cover all Europe, but papers focusing on Central and Eastern Europe are especially welcome. Topics may include contemporary forms of temporary mobility- second homes, international forms of tourism; how tourism influences rural development and practices (through agrotourism, e.g.); new forms of relationship between urban and rural contexts; rural development from the perspective of social capital and networks; cultural identities in rural development-how people claim and attribute identities as 'local'; contradictory nature of concepts such as community, environment, cultural landscape, challenging an easy connection between community, culture and identity. A comparative dimension would be of special value ('multi-sited ethnography' of both the cross-country and cross-regional nature) as well as papers dealing with restudies. The aim is to reveal the diversity in European rural development practices and outcomes from anthropological perspectives.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Where are the tourists? Shifting production, changing localities in a Szekler village

Author: Árpád Töhötöm Szabó (Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

Transylvania, and its easternmost part, Szeklerland are symbolic lands for tourists coming from Hungary to experience the authentic rural Hungarian life. In this frame those communities that cannot display any natural and/or Hungarian values are disadvantaged and caught in trap between their declining agrarian production and roadlessness: the restructuring agrarian sector force them to give up with production, to become buyers on the market, but in many cases there are no other solutions to use their environment as economic resource. In my paper I analyze the case of a community from Szeklerland whose members perceive themselves as losers of this transition (in which the landscape turned into saleable product) comparing their 'valueless' natural and built environment with those of the successful communities. This phenomenon will be analyzed by capturing the local factors, but also some external, seemingly successful examples where the locality has been reconstructed fittingly to the new demands.

Local identities and international tourism: hosts and guests relations in the Czech 'Dutch' villages

Author: Hana Horáková (Metropolitan University Prague)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

Due to the 'post-productivist transition' that has brought about new demands made on rural space, rural communities are increasingly engaging in new tourism-related activities. At the same time people are moving into rural areas looking for a better quality of life. These in-movers often have different perspectives on how local development should be achieved. The emergence of new economic and social organisation as a result of transforming rural needs inevitably draws attention of anthropology whose concern with rural communities dates back to the very origin of the discipline. This paper investigates the process of transformation of local identities due to a massive advent of Dutch tourists into Czech countryside after the Velvet revolution. Social and cultural complexity of such hosts and guests encounters raises a whole host of issues. I will touch, above all, upon the effects of tourism on local population and on local policies of mutuality and ignorance.

Short trip for the weekend: second homes and new social realities in the Catalan Pyrenees

Authors: Camila del Mármol (Universitat de Barcelona)  email
Juan Frigolé (Universidad de Barcelona)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

This paper focuses on the changes that have taken place in a valley of the Catalan Pyrenees during the last decades. Our aim is to analyze the process of change in the social structure, values, identities and life styles in the context of a 'modern rurality' modeled by the creation of a natural park, the encouragement of landscape's wilderness and the promotion of cultural heritage and tourism policies. Specifically, the paper will focus on the residents of the second homes as a social category and their discourses and practices in relation to local population and also their economic and political influence. Second homes' background description and analysis can help us shed light into the processes of changes that have transformed local society.

Lagging behind: the quest for 'development' in highland Epirus (Greece)

Author: Antonio Maria Pusceddu (Universitat de Barcelona)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

Critical perspectives on 'development' have pointed out the hierarchical relations and meanings it implies. This paper focuses on social representations of development entailed in EU programs for 'less favourite areas'. The discussion is based on ethnographic research accomplished in highland Epirus, a region involved in development issues since the II post-world period. The paper investigates the local perceptions of (continuously) unfulfilled 'development' in relation to the EU context. Recent rural development programs are affecting in various ways the local economy based on small-scale livestock farming. The close end of subsidized agriculture and the uncertainties of the 'post-productivist transition' complicate local farmers' prospects, not always able to cope with the new situation. Although tourism has not yet reached the area, significant changes in the use of spaces have been brought about by the regular presence of city dwellers native from the villages.

Tourism promotion and social stratification in rural areas: the case of two 'Historic Villages of Portugal'

Author: Luís Silva (Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA-FCSH/NOVA))  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

This paper focuses on the individuals implicated in the tourism businesses in two rural villages sponsored by a political program of local development entitled "Programa das Aldeias Históricas de Portugal" (Historic Villages of Portugal program). The main aim is to analyse the relationships between the development of the tourist industry and the processes of social stratification. I argue that inhabitants have unequal opportunities of access to the new economic model. In fact, only seldom can residents with worse socio-economic conditions participate in the tourist activity as entrepreneurs. Having no money to invest in the novel sector, they become employees or producers and sellers of handicrafts and home-made food products.

The husbandry of technology: ethnographically understanding changing agricultural engagements by UK farm families

Author: Clare Perkins (University of Worcester)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

Problems surrounding food security, environmental degradation and a growing world population have attracted significant attention. As one way of alleviating these problems, there have been calls to (re-) visit the 'GM debate'. For example, recent influential recommendations (Chatham House Report, 2009) suggest that GM might satisfy, sustainably, a growing demand for food. (Re-) invigorating productivism, these calls have the potential to challenge attempts to create a 'new post-productivist' rurality.

This paper will explore the potential to understand how these challenges might be worked through 'on-farm' process, practice and routine. It is particularly concerned with interrogating the ways in which, as a result, farm families might 'co-produce' 'new' technologies. This paper argues that comparative, multi-sited ethnography places this 'on-farm' activity within the context of rural consumption and production. Outlining a theoretical framework that draws upon social anthropology and agricultural geography, it seeks to understand the changing diversity of the agricultural landscape.

Households in Europe: from production to consumption

Author: Patricia Zuckerhut (University of Vienna)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

My paper will focus on changes regarding the setting of priorities in economy in the context of the hegemony of Political Economy/National Economy and its followers (Neoliberalism) in the Business Sciencies. For a long time a concept from Antiquity dominated the thinking, ans acting of European people. This is expressed e.g. by the "Houses of Nobility" as well as by the entity of the "Whole House" (Ganzes Haus) with its relations of production and consumtion as it existed at the peasant population of Austria. Though the separation of the domains of production and reproduction (respectively consumtion) already started earlier, at least with Adam Smith (1723-1790) it occured in National Economics, which were increasingly shaping state politics in Europe. Exchange value and no longer practical value now dominate the value of goods (or better: commodities). Work counts as source of the wealth of a nation; maximization of efficiency and by this of wealthiness happens by division of labour. But only those activities are seen as productive, that create "marketable products" (=separation of production and reproduction). Consequently households are excluded from the economic spere and are only significant regarding to market relevant decisions (related to consumption). In the further development increasingly peasants are also excluded from Economics. Only farmers, who produce by labour division and with industrial means, exclusively for the (global) market are of economic relevance. The changes in rural domain, as they were expressed in the call for papers, are a logical consequence of these developments.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.