Images Of A Good Village: A Visual Analysis Of The Rural Idyll In The “Village Of The Year” Competition In The Czech Republic

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Abstract

This paper presents a sociological analysis of the image of a “good village”, as portrayed in the annual Czech competition Village of the Year. It focuses on the positive representations attached to the rural in the political and expert discourse. The analysis is rooted in cultural rural sociology and in its study of rural idyll. It is argued that a specific kind of rural idyll is produced in the competition. This idyll is analysed using the photographs submitted to the competition by the villages themselves. A combination of visual methods is employed to uncover the positive values attached to the images. The results show that activity and social life play a key role in the image of a “good village” thus produced. On the other hand, there are virtually no references to agriculture.

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