Object structure

Przedstawienia wiejskiej przestrzeni w publikacjach promocyjnych gmin = Representations of rural space in the local self governments’ promotional brochures


Przegląd Geograficzny T. 87 z. 2 (2015)


Bednarek-Szczepańska, Maria



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24 cm

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Subject and Keywords:

representations of space ; image ; rural space ; qualitative text analysis ; promotional brochures of communes


This article centres around an analysis and evaluation of how rural space is represented in the promotional publications that Poland’s local authorities in rural areas come out with. The purposes of the research were in fact served through the study of 33 promotional brochures of the above profi le, specially selected to reflect differences between Poland’s gminas in terms of location, social conditions and main economic functions, as well as the role assigned there to nature, environmental protection and infrastructure; and to the external environmental when it comes to the shaping of the said representation of municipalities. Studies have already shown just how diverse the approach taken by local authorities in creating an image of their rural area may be. Brochures are seen to be adaptable in the way that they can either weaken or reinforce certain cliché images of rural space. Efforts to break with stereotypical images of rural areas generally entail a playing-down of the productive functions of agricultural space, with simultaneous “talking up” of any manifestations of modernity and technological progress that may be present. Strengthening of the stereotypical image of rural space in turn occurs when and where the significance of – and commitment to – folk culture are alluded to, while valuable natural features also receive accentuation. The principal result of the study has thus been an identification of main motifs, which is to say recurring patterns resorted to as rural space is represented in the promotional brochures published by local authorities, with a view to a particular image being conveyed. The fi rst of these is the motif of space attractive from the point of view of tourism. Tourist attractiveness is a ubiquitous, most-common characteristic ascribed to rural space. Another identified motif is that of the comprehensively perfect space. Attractiveness for the purposes of residence, recreation, investment and work are emphasised here with equal force. The rural area thus features as a space combining attributes that appear mutually exclusive at first glance. In this ideal space the needs of different social groups can be met, with the theme of traditional modernity also being assembled by means of a similar principle of combining antagonisms. Symptoms of modernity (technological progress, modern infrastructure), harmonise with socially-appreciated forms of conservatism (respect for tradition and the ongoing cultivation of certain kinds of ceremony, for example). The research has also made it clear how the motif of dynamically-developing space is returned to repeatedly. In this context space is seen to be improving steadily and continuously, as supported by the vital ongoing processes of infrastructural and economic development. The presence of this motif acts to break the stereotype of the rural area as a place of stagnation. Beyond the aforementioned, yet further motifs capable of being distinguished were: space for the young-generation, space associated with celebration and folk culture, space associated with history and remembrance and unspoiled space.


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0033-2143 ; 10.7163/PrzG.2015.2.5


CBGiOS. IGiPZ PAN, sygn.: Cz.181, Cz.3136, Cz.4187 ; click here to follow the link



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Creative Commons Attribution BY-ND 3.0 PL license

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Copyright-protected material. [CC BY-ND 3.0 PL] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY-ND 3.0 PL license, full text available at: ; -

Digitizing institution:

Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences

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Central Library of Geography and Environmental Protection. Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization PAS

Projects co-financed by:

Programme Innovative Economy, 2010-2014, Priority Axis 2. R&D infrastructure ; European Union. European Regional Development Fund





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