An academic at the York Management School at the University of York plans to research into the role of village pubs in rural England.
Community cohesion and socio-economic activity is the key to the research which will be undertaken by Dr Ignazio Cabras, a lecturer in Economics, Business and Management. After researching into this field for five years, Dr Cabras has now received a British Academy award for the £7,700 study.
The pub was generally revered as the hub of the village alongside the post office and the local shop. For young and old alike, the public house was traditionally an opportunity to congregate, but is now thought to have seen a general decline in social influence.
Dr Cabras explains: “In rural England, pubs are often the nodes and centres of the local social network and perform important social, economic and community functions in maintaining village life. They play an important role in enhancing and stimulating socio-economic activities inside local communities, such as business activities, volunteering organisations and charities, and leisure services. These initiatives contribute to enhancing quality of life and wellbeing at a local level.
“Despite their important function, the number of village pubs has been constantly declining during the past decades. The loss of pubs for rural communities often means the disappearance of the only place for local people to meet and engage. It also results in the disappearance of social, economic and cultural benefits arising from initiatives that frequently have an origin in the village pubs, which work as a network tier for the entire area.”
Dr Cabras also is a proud member of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), the voluntary organisation which campaigns for real ale, community pubs and consumers. The group actively believes the pub is the centre for community living and seeks to uphold its importance in UK culture.
Having published over 30 works Dr Cabras joined The University of York Management School after working at the universities of Central Lancashire, Cumbria and Edinburgh Napier. The study will last 14 months and Dr Cabas believes the results will be vital: “The results will increase the level of knowledge about the formation of social and economic capital in rural areas, providing an excellent instrument for practitioners and policymakers for developing future policies and strategies.”