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27. Hospitable countryside? Rural food and drinking places between thriving, struggling and disappearing

Thursday, June 29, 2023
13:45 - 15:15


Prof. Gary Bosworth
Northumbria University

Clubbing Together: Social Cohesion in a Village Social Club


The UK has seen a rapid decline in the number of Social Clubs over the past 3 decades. Since their heyday in the 1970s, traditional “working men’s clubs” and similar venues frequented by predominantly white working class males, have struggled to adapt to changing lifestyles and new competition for people’s leisure time. In rural areas, this has been exacerbated by the changing nature of rural populations, particularly where trends of counterurbanisation and gentrification have been most evident. Unlike pubs, which are cherished as icons of British countryside, very little research has examined the decline of these venues but they offer a glimpse of the lives of rural people who are seeing their community changing around them.

This paper is based on auto-ethnographic research in a single case study of a village of some 500 residents in Northern England named Littlevale (a pseudonym). Through active participation in different aspects of Club life, from volunteering behind the bar, taking a role on the committee and helping to organise events, I have had unique access to people’s everyday lives in and around the Club. Drawing on social cohesion and social capital theory, I use this to present a different perspective on rural social change. The research also examines business constraints associated with Clubs facing declining markets while still being committed to the social needs and expectations of their core membership.
Dr. Matthias Gebauer
Institute Of Geography
University of Bayreuth

Creating “Culture and Pleasure Districts” around food- and culture-related museums in Franconia, Germany


In Franconia, Germany, a network of food- and culture-related museums, the “Culture and Pleasure Network” (Netzwerk Kultur und Genuss) aims at regionalizing and upgrading rural food tourism. Since 2022, a project study group of MSc students of Human Geography at the University of Bayreuth has been working together with the museum network in order to develop and create “Culture and Pleasure Districts” around selected museums. The aim of the project is to integrate the museums – as a tourist destination as well as a hub for knowledge conservation and development –and into their spatial and social surroundings. This is to be accomplished by developing culture and pleasure attractions and thematic tours around as well as between selected museums belonging to the network. By doing so, a twofold development is to be initiated. First, the museum is to be transformed from a place to store exhibits and preserve past knowledge into a space of active knowledge production by bringing together actors and institutions on food and food-related craftsmanship and thereby fostering the future of rural artisanal food production. Second, by expanding the museums as an edutainment realm into their socio-spatial surroundings, future hubs of high-quality hospitality tourism around food and culture will be developed, making local and regional tourism an authentic experience of a lived reality instead of a sole attraction. The presentation will provide insights into the project study and pose critical questions on the future of food and culture related rural hospitality tourism.
Prof. Dr. Doris Schmied
University of Bayreuth

Characteristics and viability of rural gastronomic enterprises in the "Genussregion Oberfranken" (Region of Taste Upper Franconia) in Germany


While a considerable body of literature focuses on the role of food and drink as cultural heritage and as a means for rural (local/regional) development, surprisingly little research has been conducted on rural food and drinking places and their owners/managers, their diversity, characteristics and viability. This presentation tries to start filling the research gap by concentrating on the “inner logic” of rural gastronomic establishments as indicated by the assessments and actions of gastronomes. It looks at a self-declared “Region of Taste” with a rich culinary heritage - a multifaceted region that caters for residents (villagers) but also attracts visitors (tourists and excursionists). Measured by the number of inhabitants, Upper Franconia in Northern Bavaria claims to have the highest concentration of bakeries and confectioners, the highest number of butcheries as well as the highest number of breweries in the world. In spite of this, the situation of many gastronomic establishments is weak and their future uncertain.
The presentation is based on a broad study conducted in early 2019, i.e. a questionnaire of all gastronomic enterprises in rural municipalities willing to provide information (N=248) supplemented by in-depth telephone interviews with gastronomes and experts from the hospitality sector, and on a smaller follow-up in early 2023.
Dr. Ryo Iizuka
Teikyo University

Restructuring and expansion of rurality through the development of traditional beer culture in the Arrondissement of Dunkirk, France


A trend to reinvent local traditional beer brewing and consumption culture characterises today’s craft beer movement. In some areas, such reinvention leads to a reconstruction of rural resources. This study explored the reorganisation of rurality through the revival of beer culture in the Arrondissement of Dunkirk, northern France, as a typical case. In the Arrondissement of Dunkirk, traditional beer culture with brewing and consumption had declined, but it has been reinvented since around 2010s and is regarded as a local tourism resource. In the area, beer culture is combined with rural tourism resources—such as rural landscape, culture, and history—through the tourism promotion programme of the tourism departments and by establishing comprehensive beer tourism. Moreover, the development of beer tourism in the Arrondissement of Dunkirk spread into transborder Belgian rural areas, where similar tourism programmes are administered, emphasising cultural commonalities of both as Flemish rural areas. Furthermore, Flemish rurality based on the beer culture accelerates the preservation of the local identity and is embodied in the regional language movement and rural migration of urban residents. In the Arrondissement of Dunkirk, the revival and development of beer culture have caused rural change through the regeneration and revaluation of Flemish rurality, which was once lost in the process of integration into the nation of France.

Session host

Elisbeth Kastenholz
University of Aveiro

Doris Schmied
University of Bayreuth



Contact for questions about abstracts or registration: groningen@congressbydesign.com 

Contact for questions about the content of the programme: ruralgeo2023@rug.nl