The lawn grew too quickly! Perception of rural idyll by Czech amenity migrants

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Abstract

The arrival of amenity migrants has significant impacts for many rural areas in economic, environmental and social terms. While the causes of relocation from cities to remote rural localities can be generally understood as attempts to change the way of life, the consequences of this phenomenon are relatively diverse. Perception of rural space from the migrant´s point of view stems partly from the so-called rural idyll, which shapes the image of the countryside across society, especially through media, tourism and recreation. This study aims to discover links between rural idyll and motivational factors of the Czech amenity migrants. Semi-structured interviews with the Czech amenity migrants have been used in order to uncover the social dimension of the phenomenon of rural idyll. Emphasis has been put both on the genesis of their relationship to the rural environment, but also on the consistency and differences between expectations and the reality of rural life. I identify the key role of tourism and recreation in shaping the initial perception of rural space, whereas the role of media is rather implicit. In the perception of amenity migrants, the initial image of rural space differed only slightly when the physical environment of rural space is considered but a mismatch is found between initial ideas about rural communities and their real experience after moving there.

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