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A town cannot be viewed only as a spatial location because this perspective does not fully reflect the complexity of this concept which also incorporates the cultural values of people, their aspirations, beliefs, and worldviews. Overall, this notion can be better understood provided that one focuses on the interactions between residents, their self-perceptions, and lifestyles. In many cases, a particular place has certain attributes, and they are mostly determined by people’s attitudes towards their own community and one another. Dungloe or An Clochán Liath is a location that can give researchers better insights into the experiences people living in rural Ireland. Such communities are usually more affected by economic difficulties.
As a result, many of the residents prefer to leave these places in search of new opportunities. This discussion presented in this paper will be based primarily on ethnographic and anthropological studies. Much attention will be paid to the arguments expressed by Nancy Scheper-Hughes (2001) and Yi-Fu Tuan (1977) who can show how individuals can perceive the communities in which they live. Moreover, the arguments will not necessarily reflect the experiences of every person living in this area. Nevertheless, it is possible to say that the spirit of Dungloe incorporates the feeling of separation from the urban life with its enormous tempo and pressure. More importantly, this place is based on the sense of community or closeness of residents who are more familiar to one another. Such individual are more likely to attach importance to the unity of their social group. These are the main questions that should be discussed more closely.
The background information about Dungloe
Dungloe is the main town located in such a region as the Rosses. This settlement emerged as a town in the eighteenth century. This city can be viewed as the main shopping center in the Rosses. Furthermore, Dungloe is located in the region which can be called the Gaeltacht or the place in which people speak the Irish language. Nevertheless, the percentage of such people is lower in comparison with the proportion of residents speaking English. This is one of the details that should be taken into account. Thus, it is possible to argue that the residents of this town may have a very complex linguistic identity. More importantly, linguistic preferences of a person cannot be viewed as the main attribute of this community.
To a great extent, local people can be exposed to the influences of Irish and English cultures. Still, this linguistic and cultural diversity is not the unique characteristic of Dungloe because such attributes are typical of other towns and cities as well. Apart from that, one should mention that Dungloe is a rather small community, and its population does not exceed 7.000 people. The demographic situation in this town influences the way in which people interact with one another because they usually know each other much better. This detail will be useful for describing and analyzing the spirit of this place.
One should also keep in mind that Dongloe attracts many tourists in summer. Some of them want to attend the music festival which is known as Mary from Dungloe. In addition to that, these people can be attracted to Dungloe Bay which is very picturesque. Overall, this natural landscape is of great value to many people living in Dongloe and other villages located in the Rosses. Moreover, they are important for the sustainability of the tourist industry in this place. In this case, much attention should be paid to the economic performance of local service organizations such as pubs, cafes, and restaurants since they are greatly dependent on the inflow of tourists coming from other parts Ireland as well as Great Britain.
Admittedly, this town has a well-developed infrastructure that is critical for its long-term sustainability. Nevertheless, this community does not have the attributes of large metropolises or even middle-sized cities; for instance, one can mention luxury hotels, the presence of large retail chains, urban sprawl, traffic jams, and so forth. The absence of these attributes can be important for understanding the experiences of these people. In many cases, these individuals are more reluctant to accept the stressors of the big city life that can pose challenges for some people. These are the main details that should be taken into account.
Analysis of Dungloe with the help of Scheper-Hughes’ arguments
In her book, Nancy Scheper-Hughes (2001) identifies the main issues affecting the residents of rural town or villages in Ireland. For instance, many of them accept the premise that many of their relatives have left the town in search of a better life (Scheper-Hughes 2001, 32). For instance, many of them can go to England or the United States (Scheper-Hughes 2001). Moreover, the local residents understand that their relatives or friends will not be able to achieve success in small towns or villages that represent the rural Ireland. This is one of the reasons why the authors describes these individuals as “people left behind” (Scheper-Hughes 2001, 32). In many cases, they understand that that the standards of living and social conditions in Dungloe or similar towns will not change considerably in the future. Nevertheless, they do not wish to leave this community because it offers them the sense of security.
Certainly, there are various employers located in Dungloe and in many cases, they are service organizations such as convenience stores, restaurants, hotels, cafes, and so forth. Nevertheless, employment opportunities are rather limited in Dongloe. Furthermore, it is important to mention the rural areas of Ireland have been more affected by economic challenges that manifested themselves during the last six years. As a result, Dongloe has largely retained its rural nature. This is one of the details that should be taken into consideration. Overall, it is important to study the economic environment of this community in order to understand the experiences of residents, especially their expectations about their future. This issue can also illustrate what kind of difficulties of local residents can encounter.
It should be mentioned that Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ research was first conducted and published more than three decades ago. Moreover, the standards of living in rural areas of Ireland have improved dramatically since that time. Therefore, one cannot suppose that each of her arguments is up-to-date and relevant. At the time, when Nancy Scheper-Hughes conducted her research, many rural communities were on the verge of disintegration due to immense economic difficulties. Apart from that, this author tries to show how the rural life of Ireland can be linked to the development of the mental disorders (Scheper-Hughes, 2001).
However, the claims of the author are not always properly substantiated. Nevertheless, some of the trends have been properly identified. In particular, many people, who are borne in this area, prefer to go to more urbanized areas. In this way, they try to raise their social status. These are some of the details that should be taken into account. More importantly, Nancy Scheper-Hughes enables readers to understand the peculiarities of life in the rural areas of Irelands. Therefore, some of the insights offered by this author can be accepted. In particular, these ideas can throw light on the behavior of people living in this community.
The concepts introduced by Yi-Fu Tuan
While discussing this town, one can apply the concepts developed introduced by the famous geographer Yi-Fu Tuan (1977). This scholar lays stress on the idea that any place is the reflection of many people’s thoughts and ideas. Moreover, individual tends to structure the tangible reality so that it could fit their inner world. Additionally, Yi-Fu Tuan distinguishes such notions as space and place. In his opinion, place can be primarily associated with the security (Tuan 1977, 3). In turn, for many residents of Dongloe, this town represents the sense of security and tradition.
Overall, the concepts introduced by Yi-Fu Tuan are useful for explaining the reasons why many people do not want to live this city. In turn, the term space is more related to the freedom of an individual (Tuan 1977, 3). Many people, who live in Dongloe, tend to attach more importance to space and freedom, rather than attachment to a particular location such their hometown. Thus, it is possible to say that the residents of Dongloe may have conflicting attitudes towards this location. Nevertheless, they understand that that this town will not turn into one of the largest urban areas. Furthermore, they see that town will be less susceptible to new trends that will affect large metropolises or middle-sized cities. These are some of the aspects that should be distinguished.
The spirit of this city
When discussing the so-called spirit of Dongloe, one should first mention that this town is not affected by the turmoil of the urban life. For instance, it is possible to speak about the immense tempo of life, the likelihood of conflicts, traffic jams, and so forth. Furthermore, the identity of this town reflects the idea that people living here are closely familiar to one another. In this case, one can use the word community which is used to describe a group of people sharing common cultural values and experiences. In contrast, this description may not be applicable to large metropolises in which people are more heterogeneous. It should be mentioned that people living in rural areas of Ireland usually lay much stress on the role of community as a means of protection against outside or harmful influences (Scheper-Hughes 2001). To a great extent, these attitudes are vital for the sustainability of this community.
Conceptual graphic model
It is possible to apply the conceptual graphic model that can illustrate the lifestyles and attitudes of people living in Dongloe. In particular, this chart can illustrate the process through which the spirit of this town is shaped.
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Overall, this diagram is supposed to demonstrate the factors that form the spirit of this town. In particular, it shows that the lack of employment of opportunities leads to the smallness of this community. Nevertheless, some people tend to regard this place as the source of security. This argument is partly based on the ideas expressed by Yi-Fu Tuan (1977). To a great extent, this chart is based on the premise that material and economic conditions shape the experiences and attitudes of people. Moreover, demographic situation is also critical for explaining the relationship between these individuals. Nevertheless, it is not possible to deny the importance of people’s values. In particular, many of the residents attach more importance to security, rather than freedom. This graphic conceptual model can be useful for describing the way in which the core values are shaped. These are the main details that can be singled out.
On the whole, this discussion indicates that Dongloe is a town which is not affected by the factors shape many urban areas. The spirit of this place lies in its separation from the vortex of the big city life. The rural nature of this town is an important attribute of this place. This circumstance shapes the experiences of residents who perceive this place as the source of comfort and security. This sense of community is the core of Dongloe’s spirit. In particular, many of the local residents attach much importance to the sense of belonging to a particular social group. These elements form the spirit of Dongloe. Still, it is also possible to say that the spirit of a place is a very subjective construct that does not always reflect the experiences of people living in Dongloe. This is one if the limitations that can be identified.
Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 2001. Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland. San Diego: University of California Press.
Tuan, Yi-Fu. 1977. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. New York: E. Arnold.