Downshifting or conspicuous consumption? A sociological examination of treechange as a manifestation of slow culture

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Abstract

Popular debates fleshed out by news media, property developers and local governance have grown over the past five years regarding the social trend, and thus marketability, of Australian country life as an alternative to the rat raceâ. Stereotypes equating country with slow are fuelled by economically-driven efforts to transform a traditionally unfashionable bush into a mecca for overstressed urbanites reported fleeing metropolises en mass to take up simple living in the romanticised hills of inland eastern Australia. Thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with tree changers in NSW and VIC examines if this socio-cultural migratory phenomenon reflects downshifting, simple and/or slow culture, or conspicuous consumption, as urbanites squeezed out of Australia's two major cities, Melbourne and Sydney, in search of refuge from urban population growth and inflation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCulture of the slow
Subtitle of host publicationSocial deceleration in an accelerated world
EditorsNick Osbaldiston
Place of PublicationHoundmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter6
Pages110-135
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9780230299764
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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