chapter  2
14 Pages

The Countryside

Writing that considers alcohol, drinking and drunkenness in rural areas, although less voluminous than writing on the city, has sought to engage with the political, economic, social, cultural and spatial practices and processes that constitute ideological constructions of ‘the countryside’. In broad terms the rural landscape is commonly portrayed as an idyllic place to grow up (Bunce 1994; Short 1991). This imagining of the rural has as Kraack and Kenway (2002, 146) describe both ‘aesthetic and moral components’. The aesthetic component refers to the way that ‘the rural’ is commonly understood to be a picturesque, natural physical environment, characterized by trees, fields and open space. The moral component alludes to the way that rural communities are stereotyped as close-knit, harmonious environments, where residents can live out a simple/pure existence free from the stress, dangers and corruptions of urban life (Ward 1990). In this chapter we draw on these arguments to show that while ‘the rural’ has historically been characterized as the antithesis of the urban, theorists considering alcohol consumption have begun to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between the countryside and the city.