Rural gentrification: City dwellers in rural areas of Russia’s Non-Chernozem Region

Averkieva K.V. Rural gentrification: City dwellers in rural areas of Russia’s Non-Chernozem Region // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2023. V.8. №4. P. 137-151.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2023-8-4-137-151

Annotation

Under the long-term rural outflow to cities, urban migration to rural areas, especially of those not changing urban registration or staying in the countryside seasonally, is almost invisible. However, the influx of new residents affects rural areas greatly since city dwellers have rich social capital and other resources to transform the countryside. Foreign researchers suggest the term ‘rural gentrification’ to describe such processes. On the example of the Verkhovazhsky district of the Vologda oblast, the author shows how city dwellers participate in different spheres of the rural economic and social life or introduce new types of activities that could be characterized as sprouts of rural modernization if not for their close connection with the traditional rural life. The paper is based on the field studies conducted from 2019 to 2023, combining in-depth and expert interviews with participant observation. In the villages of the Vaga valley, there are guest houses, a center for wood-fired ceramics, a base for restorers of wooden architecture and other facilities created by city dwellers. At the same time, former city residents work in the rural social infrastructure — schools, cultural centers, shops, administrations, offering rural residents new, urban practices (public lectures, book crossing, separate waste collection, second-hand stores). On the one hand, former city residents contribute to changes in certain aspects of rural life; on the other hand, they adopt elements of rural lifestyle, which is manifested in clothing, everyday practices, and way of thinking.

Keywords

Countryside, migration from the city to the village, rural gentrification, cultural initiatives, Vologda oblast, Non-Chernozem Region.

About the author

Averkieva Kseniya V., PhD (Geography), Associate Professor, Faculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technologies, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Senior Researcher, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences. 101000, Moscow, Myasnitskaya str., 20.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

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