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    The ‘Suburban Imaginary’: Restructuring the rural village in Ireland and France

    Casey, Ruth (2006) The ‘Suburban Imaginary’: Restructuring the rural village in Ireland and France. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The phenomenon of the proliferation of holiday homes, particularly in remote and isolated areas, has provoked widespread concern regarding the fate of the indigenous rural community. The central concern of this thesis is to investigate how the rural community is adapting to the presence of the outsider as both a temporary and permanent resident, by examining the interaction between local and outsider resident in order to get a sense of the dynamics involved in the restructuring of the rural community. The study approached this central problematic, by looking at how rural space is being socially constructed as a result of this interaction, and how rural space is determining the dynamic involved in this interaction. The two rural villages which were chosen for this study, are located in regions of unique cultural and historical interest: Dunfarraig in the Burren region in the west of Ireland, and Gireux in the Cathar region in the south of France. Despite their empirical similarities, these villages have demonstrated quite different responses to the presence of the outsider, which has become apparent through a comparative analysis of the way in which concepts such as ‘community membership’ are played out in either context. The central findings of this research, has been to show how the landscapes of Dunfarraig and Gireux are being symbolically constructed as ‘suburban’ through the social practices of its residents, taking an abstract or social form in the French context, and a material form in the Irish context. Further, how these practices are appealing to a vocabulary of ‘suburbia’, located in the suburban imaginary of residents. These findings of ‘suburbia’ are premised on the theory that residents are constructing a view of the physical landscape for private consumption in the Irish context, and a view of the social landscape, for private consumption in the French context. However, the thesis ultimately defends the rural character of these two villages, maintaining that this interpretation of the ‘suburban imaginary’ is one way of understanding the complexity of these social practices.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Suburban Imaginary; rural;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Philosophy
    Item ID: 5232
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2014 14:28
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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