“Find Your Nature” in the Swiss Alps : In Search of a Better Life in the Mountains
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This paper reflects upon the nature/culture dichotomy while focusing on mountain landscapes understood as ideal places for a better life. Taking as example a region in the Swiss Alps, it analyses the motivations that lead mostly urban people to settle in mountain regions for the last three decades. Drawing on long-term multi-sited fieldworks in Swiss alpine villages, it highlights new forms of migration, not directly for economic reasons, as well as the representations of mountains as a trendy ‘culturalised’ natural place for living, especially for middle and upper urban classes. While giving voice to the research participants to understand the change in values and preferences towards mountain areas, this article enlightens the underlying factors behind amenity-led migration, lifestyle migration and multi-locality. It demonstrates how the nature/culture divide is being reshaped in the contemporary Swiss alpine context, where nature has become a cultural project.
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