Living the “Real” Dream in la France profonde? Lifestyle Migration, Social Distinction, and the Authenticities of Everyday Life

By Michaela Benson

My latest article based on my fieldwork among the British residents of rural France has just been published in a special issue of Anthropological Quarterly on authenticities. This develops further my argument about the relationship between lifestyle migration and middle-class engagements in processes of social distinction.

Abstract: For the British residents of rural France, the desire for authentic (rural) living underscored the decision to migrate, while through residence they gain more nuanced understandings of authenticity. This article explores the purpose and meaning that these authenticities have for such lifestyle migrants. As the ethnography in this article demonstrates, claims to the authentic are equally claims to distinctiveness, and should thus be read within the context of the continual processes of social distinction in which these migrants engage.

The full reference of the article is: Benson, M. (2013) ‘Living the ‘Real’ Dream in La France Profonde: Lifestyle Migrants and the Ongoing Quest for the Authentic’, Anthropological Quarterly 86(2): 501-525.

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