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The wheatbelt in contemporary rural mythology

Bell, SJ; (2005) The wheatbelt in contemporary rural mythology. Rural Society , 15 (2) pp. 176-190. 10.5172/rsj.351.15.2.176.

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Abstract

Urban mythologies of rural places and rural ideologies of agrarianism and countrymindedness have historically contributed to Australian cultural images of the stoic rural battler and idyllic visions of rural life. Rural places are of declining cultural significance in Australia and are ambivalently positioned in contemporary mythologies between the romance of the battler and contemporary dystopia of environmental degradation, and social and economic crises. This paper discusses the changing role of the wheatbelt region in Western Australian mythology. Mythologies are understood both as untruths and as naturalised ideologies. It reports the results of interviews with Western Australians who were asked the question ‘What do you think is the place of the wheatbelt in Western Australian mythology?’, with mythology explained as ‘the stories we tell each other about what it means to be Western Australian’. The responses indicate that the romantic battler is no longer current in Western Australian mythologies, that the wheatbelt is almost absent from contemporary Western Australian culture, and that the wheatbelt is increasingly associated with negative images of environmental destruction, social decay and economic decline.

Type: Article
Title: The wheatbelt in contemporary rural mythology
DOI: 10.5172/rsj.351.15.2.176
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.5172/rsj.351.15.2.176
Language: English
Keywords: Western australia, agriculture, rural, farming, culture
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10866
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