The British in Rural France

Lifestyle migration and the ongoing quest for a better way of life

By Dr Michaela Benson

The British in Rural France

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8249-8
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £70.00
  • Published Date: May 2011
  • BIC Category: Sociology, Migration, immigration & emigration, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration, Society & social sciences / Migration, immigration & emigration
  • Series: New Ethnographies


The British in rural France is a study of how lifestyle choices intersect with migration, and how this relationship frames and shapes post-migration lives. It presents a conceptual framework for understanding post-migration lives that incorporates culturally-specific imaginings, lived experiences, individual life histories, and personal circumstances. Through an ethnographic lens incorporating in-depth interviews, participant observation, life and migration histories, this monograph reveals the complex process by which migrants negotiate and make meaningful their lives following migration. By promoting their own ideologies and lifestyle choices relative to those of others, British migrants in rural France reinforce their position as members of the British middle-class, but also take authorship of their lives in a way not possible before migration. This is evident in the pursuit of a better way of life that initially motivated migration and continues to characterise post-migration lives. As the book argues this ongoing quest is both reflective of wider ideologies about living, particularly the desire for authentic living, and subtle processes of social distinction. In these respects The British in rural France provides a unique empirical example of the relationship between the pursuit of authenticity and middle-class identification practices. The book will be of interest to lifestyle migration and migration specialists, sociologists, social anthropologists, human geographers, scholars of tourism, as well as being accessible to individuals with a broader interest in this social phenomenon.


"I warmly recommend this book to those interested in issues of migration, lifestyle and mobility. Its accessible writing style and the multiple examples make it a good read for scholars, students and the broader public wanting to know what the life of British migrants in rural France 'really' looks like."

I realished the prospect of a new wave of ethnography and was particularly attracted to this study, resting as it does on a rich vein of the British imaginary, but sadly I found little of the old Mancunian flair.


Michaela Caroline Benson is currently a Research Assistant in the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Bristol.



Sociological review prize for Outstanding scholarship

The BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize


1. Introduction
Part I: Imagination, Migration and Post-Migration Lives
2. Explaining Migration
3. Negotiating Locality
4. A (Persistent) State of Uncertainty
5. Life in a Postcard
Part II: Distinction, Identity and the Ongoing Search for a Better Way of Life
6. At Home in the Lot
7. The Unexceptional Lives of Others
8. En Route to Authentic Living
9. Conclusion
10. Bibliography

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