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 commodification 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 configurations of historically layered and newer social relations which intersect within and between such places. These configurations 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.
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Urban Studies