This study aims to explore rural life expressed through case-study English sporting estates in order to evaluate their place today within the overall rural mosaic. Sporting Estates are privately owned land-based businesses which are arguably assuming an increasingly prominent place within today’s ever-changing rural economies (Scottish Land and Estates, 2018). Research will touch on issues such as the contribution of the estates to the rural economy, how they fit in respect of the contested nature of rural politics, and how they draw upon, reproduce and sometimes transform rural space in terms of its practices, representations and everyday lives (Halfacree 2006).
To date, the whole ‘country sports’ angle of rural use and life has been little studied beyond Scottish examples (Higgins et al 2002; MacMillan et al, 2010; McKee et al, 2013), despite the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) estimating that shooting is worth £2 billion a year to the UK economy, and equates to almost 10% of the total amount spent on outdoor recreation. Thus there is a need for research into English examples, with this research having a particular focus on the injustices and often overlooked complexities shaped in the English countryside surrounding the politically charged area of sporting estates.
The research shall investigate:
- Historical background and politics of the English Sporting Estate
- Key pressures and opportunities facing the Estates today (Including in a Post-Brexit context and environmental)
- Social Justice, class, identity and relations of individuals and groups encountering these Estates both directly and indirectly