The Western European countryside from an Eastern European perspective: Case of migrant workers in Norwegian agriculture
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Countryside. 2014, 6 (4), 327-346. 10.2478/euco-2014-0018
In the wake of the EU enlargements in 2004 and 2007, large numbers of migrant workers from Eastern Europe in-migrated to the Western European countryside. In this paper I discuss how these migration streams in important ways challenge the dominant perspectives in contemporary rural studies, in particular their focus on lifestyle-related rural in-migration, on the post-productivist character of the countryside, and on the social constructions of the rural as idyllic space. These perspectives are examined based on qualitative material from in-depth interviews with 54 migrant workers in the Norwegian agricultural industry. These migrants’ everyday experiences in the rural West add important nuance to the dominant scholarly images of rural idylls and dullness, descriptions of rural communities as less marked by class structures than urban regions, and traditionalist presentations of rural social life and communities.