Rural policy across Europe addresses rural tourism as one saviour in the regional turmoil left behind by modernity and agricultural restructuring. Hopes for rural tourism as a provider of sustainable growth in a countryside, in which traditional production (primary industries and secondary industries) is replaced with a consumption-based economy, are partly rooted in postmodern ideas on cultural consumption; rural tourism entrepreneurs commercialise rural representations to satisfy tourists’ demand for rural experiences. However, ”touristification” is rarely part of the myths and rural representations traded in rural tourism. One of the chief rural representations at the heart of most rural tourism products, that of the rural idyll, with its foundation in beliefs about the authentic tranquillity of the countryside, are not necessarily compatible with the realities of tourism, which often are adhered to be the rural idyll’s antonyms, such as inauthenticity and bustle. This PhD-project investigates the negotiations that take place between different representations of ruralities in spaces commercialised and consumed by rural tourism. The interplay between rural representations and rural tourism in a changing countryside is addressed from a Halfacreean understanding of rural space, aiming at making conceptual contributions on the understanding of “rural space”, “authenticity in tourism” and “local food”. The project is part of CULTOURFOOD (2007-2012), a Strategic Department Project at Centre for Rural Research, funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Project period: 2007-2013 Supervisors: Professor Nina Gunnerud Berg and Associate professor Karoline Daugstad
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