Reading Rural Consumption Practices for Difference: Bolt-holes, Castles and Life-rafts
Keith Halfacree: Human Geography, Swansea University, Wales, Great Britain
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Theme: Rural Media Spaces
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Based mostly on evidence from the UK, this paper challenges the rural’s usual association with predominantly conservative politics and practices. It advocates showing awareness of ambiguity in how representations, and specifically in this paper rural representations, and their numerous associated consumption practices are interpreted. A focus is given on the possibility of interpreting these practiced rural representations in the context of responses to the negative features within everyday life identified by writers such as Lefebvre. Drawing specifically on the “postmodern Marxism” of Gibson-Graham (2006), and particularly beginning to deploy what they term “reading for difference rather than dominance”, the paper introduces three “styles” of consuming the rural. These are expressed via the metaphors of bolt-hole, castle and life-raft, and it is argued that they can be read as expressing critique of urban everyday life. In the concluding section, the lessons learned from reading rural consumption practices for difference in this way are brought together to suggest that not only can the rural today be regarded as an active “heterotopia” but that this alternative status could be used to underpin an urban-focused social movement for reclamation of what Lefebvre termed “every-day life”.

Keywords: Rural; reading for difference; representations; consumption practices; everyday life; social movement

Volume 2, Theme:: Theme: Rural Media Spaces, Article 14, 2010

Keith Halfacree
Reading Rural Consumption Practices for Difference: Bolt-holes, Castles and Life-rafts
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
  • Keith H. Halfacre & María Jesús Rivera (2012). Moving to the Countryside ... and Staying: Lives beyond Representations. Sociologia Ruralis, 52(1): 92. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9523.2011.00556.x
  • Anna Sofia Lundgre & Bo Nilsson (2018). Civil outrage: Emotion, space and identity in legitimisations of rural protest. Emotion, Space and Society, 26: 16. DOI: 10.1016/j.emospa.2017.12.001
  • André Jansson (2013). The Hegemony of the Urban/Rural Divide. Space and Culture, 16(1): 88. DOI: 10.1177/1206331212452816
  • Sophie Wynne-Jones (2014). ‘Reading for difference’ with payments for ecosystem services in Wales. Critical Policy Studies, 8(2): 148. DOI: 10.1080/19460171.2013.857474
  • Keith Halfacree (2018). From Ambridge to the world? Class returns to rural population geographies. Dialogues in Human Geography, 8(1): 26. DOI: 10.1177/2043820617752003
  • Keith Halfacree (2011). ‘A solid partner in a fluid world’ and/or ‘line of flight’? Interpreting second homes in the era of mobilities. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography, 65(3): 144. DOI: 10.1080/00291951.2011.598238
  • Mark Scott, Darren P. Smith, Mark Shucksmith, Nick Gallent, Keith Halfacree, Sue Kilpatrick, Susan Johns, Peter Vitartas, Martin Homisa & Trevor Cherrett (2011). Interface. Planning Theory & Practice, 12(4): 593. DOI: 10.1080/14649357.2011.626304
  • Julie C. Keller, Sarah E. Lloy & Michael M. Bell (2015). Creating and consuming the heartland: Symbolic boundaries in representations of femininity and rurality in U.S. Magazines. Journal of Rural Studies, 42: 133. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2015.10.001
  • Keith Halfacree (2012). Heterolocal Identities? Counter-Urbanisation, Second Homes, and Rural Consumption in the Era of Mobilities. Population, Space and Place, 18(2): 209. DOI: 10.1002/psp.665
  • David B. Clark & Marcus A. Doel (2011). Mushrooms in Post-traditional Culture: Apropos of a Book by Terence McKenna. Journal for Cultural Research, 15(4): 389. DOI: 10.1080/14797585.2011.613219

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