Accepted Paper:

Diversity in the mind: rural homestayers and their perspectives of the world out there  


Gertraud Seiser (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

How are locality, diversity, and belonging constructed in an environment that constantly fails to reproduce its means of subsistence? This paper addresses diversity as narrative, mediated through the stories of present and past generations of kin who have left the community.

Paper long abstract:

The paper is based on several periods of fieldwork in a marginalised rural area of Upper Austria, which is characterised by a high fertility rate on the one hand and continuous out-migration on the other. For more than 150 years, half of the members of a group of siblings, on average, have been leaving the region. Target areas have been urban centres with better job opportunities and other lifestyles within Austria and abroad. Contacts to the region of origin are upheld for at least two generations. The homestayers experience the world out there not only through the media but, in addition, through mutual visits and narratives by their relatives.

As a consequence, the rural homestayers are confronted with a plurality of different values, which influence their perception of life, of belonging and diversity. What they share are not common values, they share the knowledge of the diversity of values.

Panel W079
Globalising neighbourhoods or tradition-based parallel societies? Studying migration and cultural diversity in rural areas