Accepted Paper:

In search of a "better" way of life in the Swiss Alps  

Authors:

Viviane Cretton Mballow (University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Western Switzerland)
Andrea Boscoboinik (University of Fribourg)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution is based on an ethnography done in Valais in the Swiss Alps since 2011. It will point at the relationships between new lifestyle migrants in search of a « better quality of life » and the « natural » alpine environment they have chosen to live in.

Paper long abstract:

As a recent phenomenon of international concern, amenity or lifestyle migration is also globally widespread in the mountains and particularly in the Alps (French, Italian and

Swiss). For 2 decades, individuals and families are attracted by living conditions they consider to be superior to urban conditions. Based on data collected in Valais in the Swiss Alps since 2011, this contribution will point at the relationships between new amenity migrants or lifestyle migrants in search of a « better » quality of life and the « natural » environment they have chosen to live in.

These types of migrants are not forced to migrate. They usually are native from rich countries like the USA, France, UK, and they are mostly wealthy.

In search of living conditions they consider not finding in their country, these new migrants depict their « better quality of life » as the result of living in the mountains, close to the nature and in a safer, healthier and relax environment.

Ideology and representations that frame the alpine world, - like the idea of an egalitarian society that lives out of time and in full harmony with nature, - has been questioned by regional ethnology in Switzerland since the seventies. This paper will point at the current underlying ideology behind such urban and upper classes conceptions of the « nature » that is worldwide widespread and specifically embedded in the Swiss Alps.

Panel P100
Revisiting the culture/nature divide under the conditions of global forces