Komodifikace venkova a utváření identity regionu =The commodification of the rural and the construction of regional identity
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This paper focuses on the commodifi cation and marketisation of Czech rural areas and on the consequences these processes have for regional identities. Through a case study of a Local Action Group (LAG), the paper traces the construction of rurality and the ways in which rurality is employed as an identity tool and a market commodity. The study is grounded in a constructivist approach in rural sociology, emphasising the multiplicity of meanings ascribed to the rural by stakeholders. The study highlights the identity politics produced by rural development programmes and the implications these have for defi ning regional borders and for the very notion of ‘rurality’. Commodifi cation gives rise to a sphere of cultural economics, whereby the past and natural and cultural heritage are sold on the market. The establishment of a certifi ed brand of regional products is an important tool of cultural economics. Two layers of identity are traced in the study of this process (and of the activities of the LAG in general). The paper argues that the tension between the layers of marketised identity and quasi-natural identity refl ects the tension between professional and lay discourses of rurality.