The Experiences of Rural Areas and Culture of Minority Groups

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The experiences of different groups in rural settings are of significant importance to the study of rural geography itself. In particular, the experiences of both young people and travellers, often labelled as "others", are important in the way they provide a different perspective on rural spaces and cultures from the common `productivist' and `idyllic' cultural views. However, because they are minority groups and "different" from the "normal" majority, young people and travellers experience significant stereotyping from countryside cultures. This impacts on their experiences of rural space and culture.

In rural settings, young peoples' experiences are predominantly `nature' and agriculture based, but can also be heavily influenced by
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Many urban children have similar experiences of rural space and culture. An urban youth recalled seeing `cats, animals, grass, lots of trees and gates' on his drives through the country (McCormack, 2000: 15). Despite his experiences lacking the natural or agricultural depth that rural children enjoy, they show that even those youths that have little interaction with rurality can understand and partake in the more idyllic countryside notions. The same interviewee also drew his family engaged in a game of cricket while on a picnic in the country, surrounded by animals and trees. He related such experiences to the idea of spaciousness, explaining that residents could just `walk outside and go into one of the open fields' in order to play a game of cricket or have a picnic. Obviously the more sophisticated notions of rurality are lacking in these limited experiences but the essential components are there, illustrating that most children have had some experience of countryside spaces and cultures.

Travellers, another minority group, also have a number of different experiences of rural space and culture. Their historic need to move has meant they have developed a highly mobile way of life that ensures they only stay in one place for a short period of time. Thus they experience very different lifestyles from the sedentary majority. Depending

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