Whose Countryside? Contested Development in the New Rural Recreational Localities in Czechia from the Perspective of the Countryside Capital / Čí venkov? Problematika rozvoje v nových rekreačních lokalitách v Česku z perspektivy venkovského kapitálu
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 production to consumption known as the ‘post-productivist transition’ has produced a type of modern rurality characterized by the alternative use of rural space and by novel forms of social organisations and relations. The outflow of original rural inhabitants is compensated for the influx of other people who have often different perspectives of how local development should be achieved and maintained. Thus, modern rurality faces new challenges and demands. The most illustrative example is the phenomenon of the so-called Dutch villages that represent a specific form of international rural tourism combining elements of tourism and migration. The aim of the paper is to investigate rural development from the perspective of the so-called countryside capital. Focus is placed on social processes, particularly social networks that construct and use the social capital. Research questions are as follows: what type of rural space is emerging in the areas under study? Who is its active agent, and who, on the contrary, challenges and opposes the planned development, and for what reasons? What kind of tensions, dilemmas and challenges does the process produce? The theoretical-methodological framework of the paper draws on the anthropology of tourism in general, and the concept of tourism as development in particular. The paper is based on the qualitative data gained from the anthropological fieldwork held between 2008 and 2010 in the recreational localities Stárkov, Stupná, and Lipno nad Vltavou. At present, it only yields some preliminary data as the research is still in progress. An underlying aim of the project will be a complex comparative analysis of the interaction between foreign tourists and local hosts from the anthropological perspective which will reveal the differences and similarities in their conceptions of rural development
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