‘Liquid Migration' Beyond the City: Environmental Values Vs. Urban Everyday Life

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 6D P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Nikita POKROVSKY, General Sociology, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
Recovering the ancestral reunion with nature is not only a matter of personal choice; it is becoming an imperative. This trend stands true for many societies in the contemporary world, including Russia. Against this social background, a new migration trend takes place. The residents of big metropolitan capitals, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg who represent relatively wealthy middle class professionals, begin to acquire local property in the remote rural sites of the Kostroma Region in the Near North of Russia. This includes traditional log houses and barns, which are turned them into so-called “dachas” or summer homes. The newcomers exceedingly extend their presence in the summer houses, turning them into their main residential family places, densely packed with all modern commodities and info-communications. The latter allow the reinvented rural dwellers to continue their professional work in the mode of a distant office. In this context, the quality and benefits of the natural become critically important in the urban residents’ decision to substitute their city life with rural existence. As such, the notion of “natural capital” (Costanza, 1997), which refers not only to the physical characteristics of fresh water and atmosphere but also to the condition of the surrounding virgin woods and the general aesthetics of landscapes becomes central in the radical remodeling of one’s life. However, newcomers are not inclined to settle down in the villages permanently for the rest of their lives and, hence, to destroy all ties with a city. On the contrary, their state of mind is something that one may describe as “liquid migration” (Nikita Pokrovsky, 2011). Mobility potential and possibility of being “on the move” are principally important to them. Is this migration tendency episodic and temporary? Does it represent an early warning sign of a significant historical cycle?