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Tourism, Place Identities and Social Relations in the European Rural Periphery
Moya Kneafsey European Urban and Regional Studies 2000 7: 35 DOI: 10.1177/096977640000700103 The online version of this article can be found at: http://eur.sagepub.com/content/7/1/35

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TOURISM, PLACE IDENTITIES AND SOCIAL RELATIONS IN THE EUROPEAN RURAL PERIPHERY
Moya Kneafsey
University of Coventry, UK

Abstract
Rural areas in many peripheral areas of Europe have turned to tourism as an alternative development strategy in the face of changes to the agricultural food production system. Particularly in more remote and less agriculturally viable areas, national and European-level policies have often concentrated on trying to encourage bottom-up development revolving around the commodication of local cultural resources or knowledges. The extent to which this occurs, however, varies between places. The aim in this article is to use case-study evidence from two peripheral rural locations in Europe to explore why these variations occur. It is argued that the extent to which tourism is adopted or rejected by actors within rural places is determined by the unique congurations of historically layered and newer social relations which intersect within and between such places. These congurations shape the contested ways in which local knowledges are valorized and contribute to the existence of multiple senses of place identity. Qualitative methods, it is suggested, can lead to a more nuanced understanding of the complex ways in which such identities are constructed, and, in turn, to a deeper appreciation of the factors which promote or hinder tourism development at the local level.

Over the last decade or so, rural areas in many peripheral parts of Europe have turned to tourism as an alternative development strategy in the face of changes to the agricultural food production system. Particularly in more remote and less agriculturally viable locations, rural tourism is now well-established as a potential means of promoting both economic activity and an increased sense of community spirit among small and sometimes demoralized populations. Within these areas, national and European-level policy has often concentrated on trying to encourage bottom-up development revolving around the commodication of local cultural resources ( Jenkins et al., 1998). The extent to which this occurs, however, varies between places. The aim in this article is to use evidence from two case-studies of tourism in peripheral rural areas of Europe to explore some of the reasons why these differences occur. As Massey (1991) notes, localities are, of course, specic, but the challenge lies in understanding differences. Furthermore, there is a need to understand the interdependencies between localities in the sense of direct links and the ways in which changes are products of wider restructuring.
European Urban and Regional Studies 7(1): 3550 0969-7764[200001]7:1;3550;011024

While case-study research is common in the study of tourism, it tends to be theoretically thin and more often than not blandly pragmatic (Mordue, 1999: 630). The aim in this article is to present a case-study-based conceptualization which encompasses a consideration of the complex ways in which historically layered and newer social relations intersect within the framework of cultural economy approaches to rural development. In broad terms, it is hoped that the account presented here will contribute to the theorization of the relationship between tourism development and rural place identities as well as to conceptual understandings of the importance of the local.

Conceptual considerations: tourism, place identity and social relations Global social processes and the commodication of place
It is generally agreed that tourism has an impact on place identities. This impact has often been
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conceptualized in terms of social processes of global signicance that profoundly affect the world. Britton, for instance, identies the role of tourism in capitalist accumulation, economic dynamics and creating the materiality and social meaning of places (1991: 452). He argues that there are distinct spaces, and means of organising space, associated with the commodication of leisure (1991: 462). Certain places and sites achieve the status of tourist sites because of their physical, social, cultural and commercial attributes. As such they become partially commodied in their own right. Similarly, Urry (1995) argues that through commodication, places which are visited are often substantially reconstructed in order to meet the requirements of the tourist gaze. The forms which this reconstruction can take have been explored through research on the heritage industry (Boniface and Fowler, 1993; Ashworth and Larkham, 1994; Johnson, 1996; Dewailly, 1998), place-promotion or place-selling (Burgess, 1982; Gold and Ward, 1994), the promotion of products linked to particular places (Ilbery and Kneafsey, 1998) and the so-called reinvention of tradition (Hobsbawm and Ranger, 1983; Lowenthal, 1985), particularly in urban or exindustrial contexts (Ashworth and Voogd, 1988; Madsen, 1992). Many of these accounts recognize the political and economic dimensions of such processes. For example, Kearns and Philo (1993: 36) interpret image-creation as a form of sociation which involves the conscious and deliberate manipulation of culture on the part of decisionmakers to rst, reassure inhabitants that good things are being done on their behalf, and second, to attract inward investment. Other authors take an even more strongly critical stance. MacCannell (1992), for instance, conceptualizes tourism as part of the cannabilistic creature that is capitalism, a creature which has a voracious appetite and which rapidly commodies thirdworld and ethnic cultures. MacCannell argues that such commodication leads to the death of cultures and the destruction of authenticity. Similarly, Greenwood writes that commodication robs people of the very meanings by which they organise their lives (1989: 179), while in the case of Hawaii, Mason argues that tourism results in the prostitution of what was once a unique culture (1996: 121). The problem with these interpretations is their suggestion that there was once a real
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original precapitalist culture which we can somehow dig back to. Yet contemporary conceptualizations stress that culture can be seen to change, to be constantly contested (Hall, 1995; Crang, 1998). Further, the people who live in tourist destinations seem to be portrayed as unfortunate victims of modernity, whose own social relations and identities seemingly wither in the face of more powerful, global forces. Yet, as Ekholm-Friedman and Friedman (1995) demonstrate, more realistic and sensitive accounts can be developed. They point to the ways in which Hawaiians have in varying degrees resisted the takeover of their islands within the context of vast economic expansion in the Pacic, the development of a large-scale plantation economy and an era of USA global hegemony. Tourism is just one aspect of the pressures facing islanders and, furthermore, a strong Hawaiian selfidentity has emerged partly through the efforts of the Hawaiian movement. Similarly, Black, on the basis of in-depth research in Malta, has found that the existence of a sphere of cultural exchange in which culture is commoditized and sold to tourists has not prevented the persistence, and indeed, expansion of another locally autonomous sphere of cultural activity (1996: 15). Thus, as Boissevain suggests, the role of tourism in such instances is neither as crude nor as spectacular as the critics of cultural commoditization have suggested (1996: 114). Building on analyses such as these, the overarching perspective adopted in this article is that tourism is mediated through, and shaped by, existing aspects of place identity. In turn, place identities may exhibit changes as a result of tourismrelated activities.

Place identity and social relations


In the context of this discussion, the term identity refers to lived experiences and all the subjective feelings associated with everyday consciousness, but it also suggests that such experiences and feelings are embedded within wider sets of social relations (Rose, 1995: 88). The phrase place identity is thus used to evoke the meanings which are attached to particular places by different groups of people who experience places in different ways as residents, business people, policymakers and tourists, for

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example. This perspective is founded upon a conception of place as process. As Massey notes, places are constructed out of the articulation of multiple social relations (1991). This article adopts a broad denition of social relations as the interactions between individuals and organizations through business agreements, political structures, friendships, kinship ties and so on. These interactions span a myriad of spatial dimensions. Thus, as Oakes suggests, the local does not exist as an oppositional reality to the global, but rather constitutes a dynamic cultural negotiation with the changing structures of political economy, a negotiation in which dominant structures are mediated by individual agency (1993: 47). Correspondingly, identity has never neatly been provided by a naturally bounded place, but has always been negotiated within a complex and often confusing mesh of interaction across multiple geographic scales (1993: 47). In this article, it is suggested that the very nature of the confusing mesh of interactions shapes the ways in which local communities respond to the demands of commodication for tourism. It is important to note that the plural communities is deliberately used to indicate that several types of community can exist within one place, just as some communities may exist with no attachment to place (e.g. emerging virtual or Internet communities). In addition, it should be noted that although academics or outside observers may label some groups of people as a community (e.g. the farming community), they may not necessarily perceive themselves in this way. As Storey notes, members of a spatially dened community may not have common goals (1999: 309). Indeed, it is hoped that the case-study material presented here will demonstrate some of the conicts which can exist within places which are often assumed to house relatively homogenous communities.

A framework for understanding the relationship between tourism and place identities
The aim in this article is to demonstrate that tourism impacts are mediated through social relations within and between places; moreover, in certain places, tourism inuences the ways in which

these social relations are themselves congured. This overall interpretation can be more fully conceptualized by drawing on the notion of a culture economy approach to rural development, as introduced by Ray (1998). To this approach, it is advocated that a temporal dimension be added. As indicated by Ray, [T]he word economy signals that one is dealing with the relationships between resources, production and consumption, while culture tries to capture the reorganization of economies, at least partially, onto the geographical scale of local culture-territories (1998: 3). In theorizing rural development activity, the idea of a culture economy is concerned with the production side, that is the territory, its cultural system and the network of actors that construct a set of resources to be employed in pursuit of the interests of the territory (1998: 4). Ray identies four interrelated Modes which are distinguishable within the culture economy and which can be discerned within the case-studies presented here. Mode I is the commoditization of local/regional culture and refers to the creation and valorization of resources that have a place identity and that can be marketed directly or used in the marketing of the territory. Mode II involves the construction and projection of a (new) territorial identity to the outside, while in Mode III the territorial initiative is engaged in selling itself internally to the communities, businesses, groups and ofcial bodies of the local area. Finally, Mode IV emphasizes the normative capacity of the culture economy and can operate within each of the other three Modes. The culture economy thus consists of strategies to transform local knowledge into resources available for the local territory. As Ray acknowledges, the term local in local knowledge is contentious. It should be added that knowledge too is a contested construct, the meaning of which is negotiated through complex power relationships. Thus, it may be necessary to use the term local knowledges to tease out the nature of ownership of, and therefore benet from, any given culture economy. The casestudies presented here reveal some of the conicts inherent in attempting to mobilize local territorial knowledges. The case-studies also demonstrate that, as Ray proposes, the extra-local is implicated at all stages of analysis. From the perspective of the local territory, the extra-local can be seen as the consumers to which the territory seeks to sell itself.
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The culture economy thus ts with the emerging theory that development activity of local territories consists of endogenous and exogenous forces (1998: 4). Tourism can be seen as an important component of the culture economy. As indicated earlier, tourism involves the commodication of cultural, historical and environmental features (Mode I); in effect, places can become products. In the case of the peripheral regions under consideration here, tourism is also a means by which territorial identities can be promoted to both outside (Mode II) and inside (Mode III) gazes through local development initiatives which seek to construct distinctive representations of place. The concern in this article is to develop an understanding of the extent to which the culture economy approach is adopted by localized communities and to begin assessing the potential impacts of such approaches upon place identities. It is suggested that a temporal dimension should be added to the framework proposed by Ray, one which takes account of the interplay between (1) historically layered social relations which mediate attitudes towards cultural resources, tradition and community and (2) newer social relations existing within the locality and between other places. These relations can be dened as follows: 1. Historically layered social relations. These provide a sense of place, a sense of continuity to the actors enmeshed within the social relations of the here and now. Although the past is often nostalgically represented as a unied and coherent period, different actors may hold different constructions of history. Additionally, social relations are never static, but have always been changing over time. So for instance, in the case-studies presented here, farming has long been a practice which has shaped local identities. Thus, through participation in this activity, certain families or individuals may feel a particularly strong connection to certain places and they may have a particular perception of what those places were like in the past and should be like in the future. Yet farming techniques have always been in a condition of change, in response to new technologies, new demands, changing environmental, economic and political conditions. These changes have been mediated through the social relations which revolve around, and which are
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in turn shaped by, farming. Although this mutually interactive dynamism may not always be recognized in locally constructed versions of the past, it is these constructions which contribute to contemporary perceptions of place identity. 2. Newer social relations. These can include recent institutional and economic relationships with other places, the development of new types of entrepreneurial activity, the arrival of new inhabitants in rural areas and the emergence of new social trends such as green and heritage tourism. These are mediated through the existing local social relations such as kinship ties and organizations (e.g. the commune administration, the local historical society). The inuence of the European Union is particularly important in the current context, especially in terms of its role as catalyst for local development projects through schemes such as LEADER. All these newer social relations will gradually be subsumed into the historically layered relations and place identities will thus continue to modulate. Tourism development is tangled up in all of this. In well-established resorts, tourism-related activities could already be well integrated into historically layered social relations within and between places. In the cases under consideration here, tourism is a newer activity which is being promoted as a supplement or alternative to agriculture. On the basis of the conceptualization presented here it is argued that the extent to which tourism is welcomed by inhabitants is determined by the unique ways in which older and newer social relations interact. In order to illustrate this interpretation, the casestudies are now introduced.

Introducing the case-studies


The focus in this study is on geographically peripheral localities: Foxford in the West of Ireland, and Commana in Western Brittany (see Figure 1). Foxford is located within an Objective 1 area, is distant from large urban centres and is served by relatively poor roads and an infrequent rail and bus service. Commana is located in an Objective 5b region, is within commuting distance of the main

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Figure 1 Locations of Foxford and Commana Source: Coventry University Cartography Unit.

regional urban centre of Brest and is connected by noticeably better roads. Despite its peripherality, Foxford gives an impression of more synergistic behaviour than Commana, where there is a palpable sense of anomie due to the decreasing and ageing population and lack of shops and services. Both settlements are able to offer a similar tourism product, consisting of landscape attractions, outdoor activities, heritage sites based around a woollen mill and our mill respectively, and vague references to cultural resources such as traditional music and lesser-spoken languages. Both places are located within regions which occupy symbolic spaces within the cultural geography of the nation state. Following Britton (1991), the landscapes surrounding Foxford and Commana can be described as a type of leisure space which offer a romantic form of tourist gaze, in which the emphasis is put upon solitude, privacy and a

personal, semi-spiritual relationship with the sight (Urry, 1990: 31). These localities are either adopting or being encouraged to adopt the culture economy approach to rural development described by Ray. Mode I the commoditization of local/regional culture is evident in the form of a visitor centre at Foxford and an comuse at Commana. Mode II the construction and projection of a new territorial identity to the outside has also occurred in both cases. Commana is located in a Natural Regional Park which was established some 30 years ago to create a distinctive territorial identity, while Foxford is in the heart of the newly constructed Moy Valley. As the chief executive of Moy Valley Resources pointed out, the Moy Valley was not known before 1991. He noted that people did not even think of the area as a valley, let alone a coherent territory, and the concept still faces the challenge of parish
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animosity. Mode III, whereby territorial initiatives attempt to sell themselves internally, has been particularly evident in Foxford where the Resources Company (discussed in more detail below) has appealed to local businesses, community groups and individuals for nancial support. There is less evidence of Mode III occuring in Commana. Given the relatively recent nature of developments in Foxford it is difcult to assess whether any of these Modes has as yet become normative. The only example of a Mode which has become normative in any sense is the Natural Regional Park, which has existed for some time, and which is one of a number of such parks established and supported by the state in France. This article is based upon qualitative research and hopes to go some way towards meeting Squires (1994) call for an extension of the use of qualitative and ethnographic techniques in the eld of tourism studies. To date, qualitative approaches within geography have focused largely on the analysis of tourism images and texts and the ways in which landscapes in particular are endowed with meanings by tourists and promotional agencies (Hughes, 1992; Crang, 1997; Waitt, 1997; Hopkins, 1998). Theorists imply that the production and consumption of such meanings must have an impact on place identity. Shields (1991), for instance, draws on Lefebvre to argue for the reproductive and recreative powers of representations through their incorporation into the construction of place-myths. These contribute to a spatialised discourse which is key to the transformation of purely discursive (i.e. ideational, symbolic and linguistic) imaginary geographies into everyday actions, gestures, crowd practice and regional identities (1991: 645). He argues that spatializations have empirical impacts by being enacted, becoming the prejudices of people making decisions. More specically, Urry (1995: 165) states that identity in tourist destinations has to be produced partly out of the images constructed for tourists. Yet little empirical evidence exists to show the extent to which this does actually happen within the host population. As Crick (1989, cited in OConnor and Cronin, 1993: 10) notes, the local voice is often absent from studies of the impacts of international tourism. The methodology adopted for this study was guided by a wish to engage with and record such local voices. To this end, two main strategies were adopted: participant observation and
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semi-structured interviews. These were conducted with key informants such as local business people, tourism ofcials, politicians and development ofcers. The research was grounded as described by Strauss (1987; see also Strauss and Corbin, 1990) in that methods and analysis were not guided by strict rules but were adapted to the diversity of social settings and unexpected contingencies of research. While these methodologies are discussed in more detail elsewhere (Kneafsey, forthcoming), it is suggested that qualitative and ethnographic techniques can enable researchers to focus on local actors and capture cultural categories as both continuous and in transformation (Oakes, 1993: 47). It is also worth noting that the two strategies which were employed allowed for the collection of a wealth of primary qualitative data in the form of recorded interviews and eld diaries which contain accounts of events such as festivals and heritage days, descriptions of participation in social activities such as music sessions, dances, guided tours and walks, as well as observations made during attendance at local development meetings, political debates, talks and classes. These are supplemented with secondary data such as photographs, newspaper cuttings, postcards, tourism publicity, local archival materials, policy documents and development plans. Fieldwork was conducted over two intensive research periods of eight months in Brittany during 1994, and four months in Ireland in 1995. These were supplemented with short return visits to both locations in successive years.

Case-study 1: Commana
Commana is a small commune situated in the symbolically charged Monts dArre in the heart of Finistre in western France. It is la Bretagne intense, an area which has long been a magnet to druids, artists and intellectuals drawn by the myths and legends surrounding the strange rock formations and empty moorlands. Commana, described as the gateway to the Monts dArre, is perched on a hilltop at a height of 280 m, its tall church spire reaching heavenwards. The commune population has declined from over 2500 in 1901 to just 1117 in 1990 and there are very few employment opportunities in the area. The main

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cause of the decline has been the modernization of agriculture which is now intensive and monocultural, with the main crops being maize, rape and factory-farmed poultry and pigs. One of the results of this is invisible damage to local rivers, which now contain high levels of nitrates leached from the soil. The contemporary situation presents a stark contrast to the past when a whole range of agriculture-related industries gave the town a high level of economic vigour. Today there is no bus or train service to the village and only a limited number of shops. The church, with its fantastic interior a remnant of a time when each commune poured its wealth and imagination into religious architecture in an effort to outdo its neighbours is now damp and run-down and only a handful of residents attend the weekly mass. At the time of research, plans to redesign the village square had been shelved due to lack of money. Commana is part of the Parc Naturel Rgionel dArmorique, a geographical entity which comprises 39 communes from the Monts dArre. The Parc aims to maintain a strong sense of cultural identity within its territory in the belief that this in turn will foster an atmosphere of vigour and entrepreneurship. In the editorial of a newsletter, the President of the park urged members to be proud of a cultural identity which is our principal asset (Dihun, 1990). The park produces glossy visual representations of its people and landscapes and runs language classes and study tours to try and encourage people to rediscover their cultural heritage. Commana is the location of one of the parks comuses. The museum is at the site of an old our mill and consists of renovated farm buildings and displays of old tools, artefacts and clothes. The comuse tries to encourage locals to attend events such as concerts, festnoz1 and classes. However, at the time of research, attendance was poor. The Director joked that maybe there was too much competition from the television, or maybe people were just not interested. Interviewees, meanwhile, grumbled that the park was an expensive waste of money which did little for the commune. It was perceived as a separate entity which had few real links with the community. Although the state-sponsored comuses were originally oriented towards the community (Hoyau, 1988; Poulot, 1994), people in Commana seemed generally unimpressed and uninterested in

the content of their local comuse or any of the other show-pieces within the park. One person said she was ashamed to send people there because there was nothing to see, while another said that she personally was uninterested in the old tools and the lit-clos2 because, as she said, we knew those. Abram notes a similar degree of apathy towards an comuse in the Cantal, central France. She found that few local people visited it and suggests that by concentrating on the daily routine, or technology of work and thus glossing over the political context of the lives of the people who lived those routines, the comuse mythologises the life of the farm it represents (1996: 182). In other words, the museum invests the quotidian with new meanings which are not necessarily shared by the people who utilized the tools and lived their lives trying to escape the drudgery of agricultural labour. Indeed, many older residents of Commana remember when people still lived and worked at the site of the museum. Overall, there was little evidence of syncretizing behaviour in the face of tourism in Commana. On the basis of the conceptual framework proposed earlier, it is suggested that this absence can be explained through reference to the interplay between historically layered social relations and newer social relations which operate both within Commana and between the commune and other geographical entities such as the nation state. The following paragraphs explore this proposition in more depth.

Historically layered social relations


Brittany as peripheral other The unenthusiastic response to the comuse can be understood as part of a much wider reaction to the whole idea of a regional park within the context of historically constructed relationships between the region of Brittany and the centralized French state. These relationships, in the past, were often highly politically charged. The regional park was opposed for a number of reasons when it was rst established by the Ministry of Amnagement du Territoire in 1969. As one of several regional parks created throughout France, the territory was envisaged as a hinterland of green spaces, clean air, rural roots and an authentic ethnological heritage for urban
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dwellers (McDonald, 1987: 128). The left-wing Union Democratique Bretonne coined the term Reserve dIndiens to describe the park, while the Breton militant Morvan Lebesque described it as a double operation of power which created for the tourist an abstract Brittany without history, without present, without people, without culture (1968: 34, authors translation). The general fear was that the park would be used to halt economic development and preserve the region as a zone touristique. To Breton militants this was all part of a process of internal colonization whereby Brittany was plundered for its natural and human resources and the state attempted to crush linguistic and cultural differences which were seen as a threat to national unity. (For details of the debate see Lebesque, 1968; Reece, 1979; Meadwell, 1983; OCallaghan, 1983; Keating, 1988; Favereau, 1993.) To certain agriculturalists and business people, meanwhile, the park appeared as a threat to economic progress, an attempt to preserve quaint traditional lifestyles and impose upon residents cultural practices which they wanted to abandon in favour of progress and modernization. They were trying to shake off stereotypes which date back to the 19th century, when scholars and anthropologists regarded the Bretons as objects of curiosity and scientic interest, a race left behind on the fringe of Europe. Similarly, by artists and intellectuals, the region was seen as the other to metropolitan Paris, a place of exotic rural primitivism in contrast to the ordered, modern world of the city (McDonald, 1989). Such connotations have persisted well into this century. Berger (1977) draws a parallel between the images of Little Black Sambo who for generations of Americans symbolized the happy simple black and the cartoon gure of the servant girl Beccasine who for generations of French symbolized the happy stupid Breton. The Bretons were the servants, the prostitutes, the cannon fodder of France and escape from Brittany into French civilisation was held by schools to Breton children as the only route to dignity and selfrespect (1977: 166). Indeed, it was the experience of war which contributed to an emerging complex about Breton identity. The First World War brought villagers into contact with French speakers who derided the Bretons for their so-called stupidity and ignorance. The contact with other French people made the Bretons increasingly aware of their
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differences. At the same time, the fact that they had fought for France also gave them a stake in the nation and all that it stood for. Those who returned were going to make sure that their children took advantage of the rights for which they had fought, which meant learning French, the language of progress, equality, liberty and education (Hlias, 1978). Peasant farmers embarked on a campaign of rapid modernization, adopting new farming techniques and a new scientic approach to agriculture. They rejected the symbols of the old way of life the language, the festnoz, the dark country houses (McDonald, 1987). These factors act as a barrier to recognizing local knowledges such as language and traditions as potential resources to be utilized within a culture economy.

Farming lifestyles Like all the other rural communes in the area, Commana grew up around an agriculture-based economy. The occupational prole of the municipal council reects the historical dominance of farm-related employment in the commune. Of the 15 members, ve were farmers and three were retired, including the 69-year-old mayor. These individuals were responsible for decisions about local spending plans and seemed reluctant to devote resources to tourism development. Of course, the make-up of the council did not reect the opinions of everyone in the commune. For instance, one businesswoman said that If this commune wants to keep a young population which is already very small, it must absolutely open up towards tourism, while another complained that the local administration had done nothing to promote tourism. Another respondent, an architect who worked in one of the large towns within commuting distance, argued that the commune was paralysed by the people from the pays who are more conservative. In referring to the people from the pays, he meant the farming community, the older people who were born and bred in the area and who did not envisage tourism as an important development path for the commune. As one agricultural worker said, with some pride, We are agriculteurs rst of all, we work 365 days a year. He added that tourism represents only two months of activity in Brittany. In general, culture is not objectied among the farming population in the region. As shown by anthropologists such as

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McDonald (1989) and Chapman (1987), the people whom visitors might regard as exponents of genuine traditional lifestyles have often rejected them in the interests of progress, not least because they were educated into believing that they were symbols of ignorance and poverty. In the 1970s, when policymakers began to look at developing rural tourism, they found that:
a problem posed itself: the paysans, in becoming producers, were losing touch with their environment. Although in the past the country people knew perfectly the local history, maintained oral traditions and their own culture, these paysannes modernes were in the process of abandoning all that. (Burlat, 1991: 6, authors translation)

Yet although the agriculturalists may have abandoned old traditions and cultural practices, those symbols are now being re-evaluated and appropriated by new kinds of people mainly urbanites in search of a rural idyll. These new actors are constructing new social relations between themselves and other actors. Their presence helps to explain, in large part, why there is any tourism in Commana at all.

services, perhaps a small industrial factory, but not tourism. Others pointed out that only les anciens speak Breton in the commune now in any case. As the landlady of the bar-restaurant said, the worst thing was that even the people who know how to sing no longer do it. The biggest problem for project workers, who were often not locally born themselves, lay in convincing local people that tourists could actually be interested in language and traditions and that tourism could be a tool for local development. In other words, they had to encourage the objectication of cultural resources. In this task, they faced resilient social relations as described in the previous section. Their chances of success, however, were improved to some extent by the existence of new inhabitants in the commune.

Newer social relations


Public institutions At the time of research, a statefunded language organization in Commana was making attempts to establish cultural tourism in the commune. The plans (which were still ongoing in June 1997) involved developing a project to attract people to the area to learn about the language, culture and environment. It was argued that this would benet the local economy because it would be a kind of residential tourism which was not weatherdependent and could operate all year round. It would also boost the language, a primary aim of the working group. Yet the project faced considerable scepticism. One local councillor doubted that people would be interested in that kind of tourism, while another asked pessimistically What do we have to offer in relation to Rennes? Nothing! The general feeling among local decisionmakers was that the commune did not have a strong product to offer, nor did cultural tourism represent a viable or sustainable future. One councillor argued that what the commune needed was better infrastructure, more

Incomers As in many rural areas, new people are moving into Commana and it is they who are objectifying and commodifying culture and welcoming visitors to the real Brittany. This process is now well established, dating back to the post-68 years when, as McDonald notes, French social scientists began to talk of the end of the peasants and back-to-the-land enthusiasts started moving into rural areas shedding studies and degrees for soil and simplicity (1987: 127). Thus, in Commana most of the gte owners were people from urban areas who were seeking a more pure, peaceful and better lifestyle and they used tourism to fund the restoration of the old properties which they had bought. They were more likely to attend festnoz, go to the local museums and express an interest in the Breton language. Indeed, one recent incomer ran Breton nights at his auberge which included story telling, songs and traditional Breton food. As one local development worker said, most of the people involved in farm tourism were not the original farming families, but were those who had the capacity to invest and who have made a ferme-auberge in order to have a pretty farm. The commodication which is occurring is, on the whole, powered by actors from beyond the immediate locale. The two state-funded institutions (i.e. the comuse and the language organization) which have been discussed employed people who had lived in other places and worked in different cultural milieux. The director of the comuse
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explained that no local people were employed there because they did not have the right prole. Furthermore, the very denitions of what constitutes a cultural commodity are invented by agencies far removed from Commana. Thus, for instance, national regulations stipulate that a fermeauberge must offer meals consisting of regional specialities made with the produce of the farm. The effect is to impose on farmers a quite specic version of what the authentic Breton farmhouse experience actually is. The result is a multi-layered sense of place whereby commodication is being driven, accepted and rejected by different groups of people who hold different versions of what the place was, is and should be.

Case-study 2: Foxford
The second case-study is the town of Foxford in County Mayo in the West of Ireland. Sometimes known as Mayo God Help Us, the county has long been known as one of the poorest in Ireland, with large areas of blanket bog and hilly uplands. Foxford is near Lough Conn, a large expanse of water which laps at the foot of Mount Nephin. To the east are the rocky Ox Mountains and the world famous River Moy, renowned for its wild salmon, runs through the town. The current population of 987 represents a gure which has increased from about 600 in 1901, but decreased from a high of just over 1000 in 1986. The County as a whole has experienced high emigration since before the Great Famine. Although agriculture and related industries employ the largest proportion of the County workforce, much of this employment is sustained by EU price supports. Agriculture is not as modernized or as intensive as that around Commana; farmers mostly graze sheep and cattle on the mountain slopes and bogland, while the better land is used for dairy cattle. There are more shops, services and pubs and a general air of activity which gives an impression of vitality to the small town which is missing in Commana. Foxford generally is seen as a town that is doing well for itself. The main tourist attraction is a visitor centre and the River Moy is a strong draw to anglers. Although the surrounding mountains are remote and relatively undiscovered,

they are gradually being opened up for walking tours. Whereas in Commana the most obvious specic example of commodication was the transformation of old buildings into a museum which represented life as it was, in Foxford, the central example of commodication is the transformation of an old building into a visitor centre which represents a version of life as it was but also as it is. At Foxford Woollen Mills, visitors are told the story of how the mill came to be established by an English-born nun, who arrived in the parish to help the poor and needy over 100 years ago. Audio-visual devices, sound tracks, and full-scale human models are used to evoke the harsh conditions of poverty and starvation during the 19th century. Mother Agnes is portrayed as a heroine who managed to turn the mill into a viable nancial concern despite the towns remote location. Themes of community, hard work and commitment are brought to the fore through portrayals of the fair but disciplined work regimes adopted at the mill and the educational and training initiatives implemented by the nuns. The overall image is that this is a town which would not give up. Even when the mill burned to the ground, the community rallied together to rebuild and start again. In contrast to Commana, there is evidence of syncretizing behaviour in the face of tourism and a sense that key individuals are positively embracing tourism and its potential benets. As in the case of Commana, an attempt will be made to explain these differences through reference to the historically layered and new social relations which converge within the village.

Historically layered social relations


West of Ireland as peripheral, yet culturally central other The West of Ireland is often used to symbolize Ireland and Irishness. Nash (1993) shows that historically the West was, by virtue of its landscapes and people, constructed both in opposition to Englishness and within Ireland as a site of true Irishness. In the writings of Synge, the people of the West were endowed with qualities of lawlessness, sensuality and physicality, while certain nationalists praised their peasant resilience, puritanism and courage (Gibbons, 1996; Duffy,

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1997; Graham, 1997; Johnson, 1997). The West was seen as a repository of national identity, a place that was the most Irish part of Ireland. It is not difcult to nd examples of these connotations sustained in contemporary tourism images and texts (see for example Uris and Uris, 1978; Day, 1995; Howard, 1998). The cultural centrality of images of the West no doubt act as a positive draw to many tourists and incomers, and indeed, such images are often used to promote the country as a whole. However, as Nash (1993) demonstrates, another strand of meaning can be traced, whereby the West is historically seen as a problem area, an embarassment to the British administration, as a region of poverty and underdevelopment so close to the heart of the empire, and later to the Irish government, since both its decline and depopulation, or economic development, threatened loss of its cultural wealth, in particular the Irish language of the Gaeltacht3 regions (1993: 88). Moreover, the region has not escaped negative connotations of rural banality and suffocating social structures through popular artistic and literary representations. The language and traditions of the region have been abandoned by many, perhaps partly as a response to such representations. As in the case of Breton, the Irish language was often rejected as a symbol of poverty by those for whom it was the mother tongue. Such was the extent of this rejection that Hindley wrote despondently of the Mayo Gaeltacht that there is little prospect of any maintenance of Irish as a rst language here, for it is already abandoned by silent popular consensus (1990: 83). Despite this widely acknowledged loss of the language, there is a growing awareness of at least labelling things as Irish or Gaelic. So, for instance, pubs are given Irish names, Irish foods appear on menus, and in Foxford the town plan proclaims Failte (welcome) and the mill offers tours in the Irish language. This process may be made easier by the fact that the language does have national status and is associated with the real Ireland in tourist imagery and with the struggle for independence in some nationalist rhetoric. It does not have the same connotations of minority rebelliousness as Breton does in the context of French national identity, because Irish is a recognized icon of the national identity, albeit one which draws complex responses. At the same time, speaking or not speaking Irish does not seem to pose any conict with self-

identication as an Irish person (although see Tovey et al., 1989 for an opposing view), whereas to speak or not speak Breton is layered with symbolic meanings about being French or not. Furthermore, within County Mayo the use of Irish as a marketing or promotional tool can also be situated within a discourse of revival which is often cast in terms of opposition to Dublin. Local newspaper editorials are full of references to Dublins failure to do anything for the people of the West of Ireland generally, and there are ongoing battles to get better educational facilities, health provision and infrastructure for the County. An assertion of some of the local traditions such as language or music could thus be interpreted as part of a general reevaluation of territorial knowledges.

Farming lifestyles Foxford has grown up within an area which has historically survived through subsistence farming. The current farming economy is supported through EU grants, and a common view among development workers was that this had engendered what was described as a dependency syndrome. One representative from the government agency Meitheal Maigheo argued that, coming from an agricultural mind-set which is grant-oriented, people expected to be given help. Similarly a socioeconomic adviser from the state Agriculture and Food Development authority (Teagasc) suggested that for a long time people were very dependent too dependent, and were waiting for somebody else to do something for them. We have very much in this county a hand-out mentality. Furthermore, as in Commana, there was resistance to the very idea of tourism from farming representatives in North Mayo. However, this tended to be expressed at a county rather than local level because Ireland does not have a local government equivalent to the French commune (Linehan and OSullivan, 1993; Tannam, 1993). So, for instance, councillors expressed concern at plans for a National Park to be created in North Mayo and stressed that the farmers the backbone of the county with their time-honoured traditions and bond of families should be consulted (Western People, 1996). Thus, while in Commana it was possible to see how farmers exerted their inuence through membership of the conseil municipal, in Foxford there was no real forum for the expression
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of farmers views. Despite the attempts of a multitude of government and European initiatives to try and encourage farmers to diversify into tourism, they remain, for the most part, rmly wedded to a grant dependency culture. Having said this, the economic base in Foxford is broader than simply agriculture, even though many of the local businesses may be agriculture-related. This is because of the woollen mill, which has imported a manufacturing and service orientation to the local economy, and which is discussed in more detail in the following section.

Newer social relations


Integrated Resource Development Company Foxford Woollen Mills went into receivership in 1987 and an entrepreneur stepped in with the idea of developing a visitor centre based on the history of the mills. The woollen mill at Foxford represents a very different style of cultural commodication to that of the our mill at Commana. Whereas the Commana comuse presents a depoliticized, decontextualized version of an idyllic rural past, the Foxford visitor centre represents a version of the past that includes reference to politics, poverty, famine and religion. The story of Mother Agnes is no doubt romanticized and dramatized, but it presents a human dimension to the place that is Foxford. Furthermore, the portrayal of the past is used to make direct comment on the present. From the themes of community and hard work, an image of the contemporary workforce as dedicated and highly skilled is constructed. An Integrated Resource Development Company (now known as Foxford Resources) was established to run the visitor centre, which sustains itself through entrance fees and a restaurant and at the same time helps to provide a market for the woollen goods which are still produced at the mill. Resource companies were rst initiated in several pilot areas in Ireland between 1988 and 1990, with the aim of improving the employment situation, earning potential, quality of life and sense of community identity amongst people in rural areas (Shortall, 1994: 241). Moy Valley Resources, the umbrella organization to which Foxford Resources and other town companies are afliated, was established in
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1990. It operates LEADER schemes and has close links with Mayo Naturally, a dynamic new county publicity machine. As part of this network of resource companies, Foxford is thus being linked into new political and economic relationships. The establishment of this company which has on its board representatives of the Industrial Development Authority, Bord Failte (the tourist board), North Connact Farmers and the local business community facilitated an application for a grant from the European Structural Funds. In addition, large sums of money were donated by local individuals and businesses so that over six months 1m was raised and the mill and its new visitor centre opened in 1992. At the time of the research, the visitor centre was breaking even, but not all the employees could be maintained without government assistance in the form of various state training and employment authority schemes. It is interesting to note here that tourism development was seen as part of a strategy of resistance, a means of encouraging bottom-up development, of ghting back against neglect by the central state. As the manager noted, Its bottom up development, people have their own development in their own hands. OK, they need help, and central government, but they must be leaders. Foxford Resources is important not only because it has given a new lease of life to the mills and hence helped to create employment in the town, but also because it acts as a catalyst for other tourism development projects. The largest of these is a plan to develop a new visitor centre based upon the life of Admiral William Brown, founder of the Argentinean navy and a native of Foxford. At the time of research, the Argentinean Navy had already pledged documents and artefacts; the Argentinean Ambassador had given his support and President Mary Robinson had facilitated a meeting between the Foxford committee and Argentinean authorities. A call for support had gone out to Mayo Associations across the world and the 50 or so IrishArgentinean Associations in Argentina. The scheme seems to indicate a growing awareness of the idea of history as a resource and can be contextualized within the recent boom in the heritage industry in Ireland (Brett, 1994). A second scheme being implemented at the time of research was the establishment of a walking club to take advantage of the recently mapped network of trails and paths which have been established with the

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assistance of the County Council, Ireland West (Bord Failtes regional body), the Department of Agriculture, the Regional Development Fund and Coillte Teo (forestry department). These projects represent new and changing attitudes towards previously underutilized aspects of place identity such as heritage and environment. Foxford Resources has certainly been successful in attracting tourists to Foxford and in generating a certain amount of syncretic behaviour. Yet the process has not been without conicts and it would be a mistake to present a picture of harmonious community cooperation towards a common goal. Rather, the community consists of a variety of different actors operating with different agendas and motivations. Although local business people without exception had a positive attitude towards tourism, it soon became clear that despite the bottom-up nature of the visitor centre development, as one commentator said a lot of people felt they were never part of it, and should never be part of it. Partly this could be attributed to the existence of particular networks of friends and family members who were involved with events at the mill. It is also notable that several of the key players at the mill, including the manager, textiles designer and projects ofcer were relative newcomers to the town. However, this was also true for other actors such as the owners of the local hotel, one of the pubs and a nearby open farm. Not only did some people feel, in a sense, socially excluded, but they were also beginning to feel economically excluded. The mill welcomes large numbers of coach tours, whose participants are herded into the visitor centre for the tour and a trip to the shop and olde restaurant. One shopkeeper complained that visitors did not explore the rest of the town, so her business hardly beneted. Several interviewees made the point that some of the visitor centre employees are government employment and training agency staff, which means that they are supported by the state. This in turn was creating direct and unfair competition with other establishments in the town.

Conclusion
The differences between reactions to tourism in Commana and Foxford can be explained in terms of the interrelations of historically layered and newer

social relations within the context of attempts to promote a culture economy. An investigation of these social relations reveals that the concept of local knowledge, as Ray (1998) concurs, is indeed a contested one. This is especially clearly illustrated in Commana, where, despite the layering of place identity, a core of resistance towards commodication remains and nds voice through the local administration which represents agriculturalists who see little of commercial value in their cultural heritage. Just because the urbanites who once consigned rural Brittany to the status of banality are now rediscovering so-called old-world values and lifestyles, this does not mean that people living within these re-valued places can simply exchange their old sense of place for a new one. For instance, one respondent described the fact that he grew up speaking Breton as a handicap which he would not wish to impose on his own children, while a mother said she had not yet told her own children any Breton stories because of the conditioning she received when she was younger. Among those who might naively be described as the real Bretons, therefore, there seemed to be a distancing from the category of being or speaking Breton (McDonald, 1989). The point about this is that those people who are supposed to be the guardians of tradition very often do not regard this as their role at all. As Chapman notes in his ethnography of the shing village of Plouhinec, the inhabitants who appear to the outsider or tourist as the key-holders to an archaic traditional life do not necessarily see themselves in that light. They are the rst to admit that they have lost all their traditions, and show no particular regret for this loss (1987: 211). The commodication which is occuring in these cases is often driven by individuals who operate within different and newer sets of social relations. These relations in turn connect them to networks operating within arenas such as green tourism or the revival of interest in regional cultures which can often be found among the urbanised middle class elite who previously denigrated many parochial pageants (Boissevain, 1996: 115). In the Foxford case, the role of networks extending beyond the immediate locale was particularly striking. Foxford Resources had, as one business person said, put Foxford on the map, acting as a catalyst for development by raising the prole of the town and facilitating access to training,
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grants and business schemes (for a more in-depth account of the Foxford case, see Kneafsey, 1998). The resource company in turn is a result partly of state and EU initiatives to promote bottom-up development and partly of the presence of key individuals in a particular place at a particular time. It is a result of the unique combination of local resources, individual actions, institutional activities, European policy developments, counterurbanization, changes in agriculture, and even global cultural trends such as the current international interest in Irish cultural exports such as Irish bars, Guinness, and spectacular dance shows. As one respondent said, Its hip to be Irish at the moment. The developments at the woollen mill build upon the historically rooted social relations which converge in Foxford. The mill would probably never have existed if it were not for the arrival of the nun from England over a century ago. The Admiral Brown project has been made possible partly by the existence of a large Mayo diaspora which maintains strong links with the county and which is capable of mobilizing signicant nancial resources. The mixture of inuences within Foxford therefore provides an environment which encourages the commodication of local knowledges. This is not to say that this occurs without conict, as there are certainly actors within Foxford who do not participate and who, to varying degrees, feel excluded from some of the developments. Thus questions remain about whose knowledges are being commodied, through which networks of social relations. In summary, it is hoped that this paper has gone some way towards demonstrating some of the dynamic and complex social relations which combine within processes of tourism development in geographically peripheral rural areas. It has proposed a conceptual approach which takes into account the historical trajectories of social relations in places, as well as the contemporary relations which are continuously forming. It has begun exploring the application of Rays (1998) culture economy approach to rural tourism development and has highlighted some of the difculties inherent in attempting to dene and valorize local knowledges. It has also attempted to offer support for comparative and qualitative approaches which can enable researchers to follow the actors, trace the power relations inherent in rural tourism
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development and thus evolve better insights into contested meanings of community, culture and tradition. On the basis of this, it is suggested that more in-depth, qualitative work is required in order to gain a greater understanding of the importance of the local and the ways in which local place identities are formed through social interactions operating from a micro to a global scale.

Acknowledgements
I wish to thank the people of Foxford and Commana for responding to my many questions and hope that the present publication does not in any way violate the trust which was extended to me. This article is based on research which was carried out for a PhD at Liverpool University and funded by the ESRC. The article has beneted greatly from the comments of anonymous referees and my colleagues at the Geography Department of Coventry University. My thanks go to Erica Milwain of the Cartography Unit for designing Figure 1.

Notes
1

Literally, night festival: traditional dance usually held to mark the end of collective work efforts such as harvest. A raised bed which is enclosed behind curtains or wooden doors. Irish-speaking region.

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Correspondence to:
Moya Kneafsey, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Coventry, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK. [email: m.kneafsey@coventry.ac.uk]

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