Farming as an event: exploring rural change through educational programs on newly established family farms in Western Czech Republic
Anja Decker (LMU Munich)
Paper short abstract:
Drawing on participant observations on two family farms in Western Czech Republic, the paper explores the cultural logics and social dynamics of the eventization of farming in a peripheralized rural region.
Paper long abstract:
In the recent years, the commodification of rurality has become one of the core forces of rural change in remote rural areas across Europe. Fostered by EU and national subsidies and embedded in the logics of aesthetical capitalism and neo-liberalism, we can witness the expansion of agricultural and rural cultural heritage tourism, the growing demand for 'authentic' food with a provenance as well as the (re-)invention of rural traditions and events. These developments transform everyday-life, livelihood-strategies, local identities and the distribution of power within and across rural communities. The papers takes the case of two recently established ecological family farms in Western Czech Republic, which combine agricultural production with educational programs for children and farm-volunteers in a rural region, which is just recently and on a very small scale being 'discovered' by tourists. Drawing on ethnographic interviews and participant observations the paper explores the entanglements of work and life on small scale agricultural holdings which (besides producing food) become sites of educational events, offering 'authentic' rural experiences to visitors. The analysis considers the field of every-day management, subsistence and income production, mobility, knowledge production, urban-rural relations and gender roles. It also asks how the social position and self-perception of farmers change when they extend their activities to producing rural experiences.
The rural home as a site of production