© 2012

Seeking Authenticity in Place, Culture, and the Self

The Great Urban Escape

  • Authors

Part of the Cultural Sociology book series (CULTSOC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Nicholas Osbaldiston
    Pages 1-27
  3. Nicholas Osbaldiston
    Pages 73-90
  4. Nicholas Osbaldiston
    Pages 125-144
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 145-175

About this book


In recent times, there has been a substantial push by people to escape the metropolis for lifestyles in small coastal, country, or mountainside locales. This book explores the narratives emerging from amenity-left migration using methods developed within the 'strong' cultural sociology.


community methods migration sociology

About the authors

Nicholas Osbaldiston is a Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne

Bibliographic information


"This fine book significantly contributes to our understanding of modern social and emotional life. Written from a neo-Durkheimian perspective, it persuasively demonstrates that the contemporary search for a bucolic Eden derives from a pervasive desire for authenticity and self-realization. The unintended consequence is that the 'last real places' tend to evolve into overcrowded playgrounds for the rich. This irony, and much else, is fully explored in a text that is both sophisticated and elegiac." - Charles Lindholm, University Professor of Anthropology, Boston University

"In this pioneering book, Osbaldiston sheds light on the cultural phenomenon of seachange, the migration of urbanites in search of meaning. Through the lens of cultural sociology, he presents a compelling and theoretically rigorous argument for how the construction of authentic places by planners, promoters, and seachangers is thoroughly and inextricably entangled with a sense of the authentic self. The result is unmatched, with Osbaldiston narrating a nuanced and thoroughly engaging account of the impact of seachange on places and on individuals." - Michaela Benson, author of The British in Rural France