Other visual changes that may symbolise connections to a 'middle class' discourse can be more official, such as signage. Studies into the proliferation of road signs (Eaton, 2003) bring into the question of who is being targeted. Other issues such as faster cars, extended road network, less local knowledge and a council 'duty of care' can all be involved within these parameters. However, they can also be viewed as the application of a dominant discourse, or hegemony as Bourdieu would describe it, on a rural population. For example, the incoming value system can be seen as needing to include familiar representations from urban environments, such as the tighter road control measures (speed limits, warning signs etc) required by higher human population density. Village economies are also evidence of these changes, both in decline and expansion. For example, on the one hand expectations placed on local providers may require a more varied stock holding whilst on the other a local provider may no longer be the main supplier for a specific area and therefore loose business to larger facilities.
The confusion between the two forms of rural identity is further exposed when situations such as intensive farming are brought under scrutiny, or when disease such as Foot and Mouth strikes. The ideals of healthy living so frequently connected with rural stereotypes is suddenly challenged by the reality of a rural economy. However, it could be said that the symbolic representation of the countryside uses the flexibility of middle class education to put an altered spin on these concepts, for example the image becomes on of the embattled countryside needing all the support it can get. Whilst this sounds flippant, as symbology is at the heart of this essay, the imported images applied to the reality need to be viewed qualitatively and this can be done through examining publications and public statements.