Agricultural Shows:Shaping the Rural, A Case Study of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy in Fine Art

Original languageEnglish
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Award date2018
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Abstract

Taking the case study of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, the largest event of its kind in Europe, this thesis examines the role that agricultural shows have in the modern-day countryside. Agricultural shows are a key fixture in the rural calendar. In recent years these events have changed from being a social and competition space, purely aimed at rural residents, to today displaying the finest livestock, mechanical, technological, and skills innovations serving a wide number of economic, social, cultural and environmental features targeted at the wider population. Despite their significance to rural society, agricultural shows remain largely unexplored in geography. Taking a mixed methods approach, and by undertaking an in-depth study of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, this thesis investigates the role that agricultural shows have in (re)imagining and (re)presenting their host communities. The thesis continues by examining the manner in which large-scale rural events can be seen as a nexus for knowledge exchange and innovation, before considering how large scale rural events influence the politics and governance of rural areas. This thesis suggests that agricultural shows are an important means of collective identity for rural people, and that these events reimagine their host communities. It also finds that agricultural shows are vital sites for the development of social capital in rural areas, have significant roles in knowledge exchange, and the development of rural buzz. Finally, it is concluded that agricultural shows inhabit a powerful, but extraordinary location within the political landscape of their host communities, having an influence on their politics and governance.

Keywords

  • Royal Welsh Show, rural, knowledge exchange, agricultural shows