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Performing the Rural: Practicing Rural Space Through Cars

Hughes, Rosie J. (2014) Performing the Rural: Practicing Rural Space Through Cars. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The British notion of ‘rural’ concerns this thesis. How is it produced? How does it endure? What geographical scale does it manifest at? What do (re)productions of rural entail in practice? Beginning with the recognition that British rurality is both discursive and geographically locatable (Cloke, 2000), but, in practice, these notions are not mutually exclusive (Halfacree, 2006), the thesis seeks to fundamentally re-theorise how rural (space) is (re)produced. Realising the Research opens the thesis, establishing that the car offers a complex material lens through which the empirical research can ensue. Then, Read/Reworked comprehensively layers several theoretical influences to developing Halfacree’s (2006) triad for rural space. The theoretical foundation for the thesis positions the phenomenological body as the pivotal framing for subjective engagements with rural space, drawing on Merleau-Ponty (1958) and Ingold’s (1993; 2001) notion of ‘taskscape’, but also utilising Schatzkian (1996; 2001; 2002) Practice Theory to unpack how subjective performances can manifest through driving (and other) practices. Following the theoretical framing, Rudiments and Routines illustrates how the research was methodologically conducted. The thesis’ empirical discussion is presented in four chapters: Road demonstrates the import road spaces have in shaping rural engagement; Rhythm asserts that temporality is pivotal in the production of rural space through driving practices; Re/View tackles the visual primacy of dominant discourses of rurality by emphasising the embodied rendering of seeing that manifests in practice; but, Ride focuses wholly on drawing out the embodied negotiation of car and countryside in practice, offering in-depth insight into how rural space nuances performances in practice. Each of the empirical chapters illuminates how subjective rural spaces endure through discursive, material and embodied relationality. Thus, in the final chapter, Rural, the presentation of the thesis triad is the culmination of the thesis, where rural space is positioned as (re)produced through social practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.638963
Depositing User: Dr. Rosie J. Hughes
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2015 09:55
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:09
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8358

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