Article Information

OUTSIDE THE CITY: THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION MEDIA IN THE DAILY LIFE OF DOWNSHIFTERS

Alena Makshanchikova (amakshanchikova@hse.ru)

National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Makshanchikova A. (2020) Za predelami goroda: rol' sredstv kommunikatsii v povsednevnosti daunshifterov [Outside the city: the role of communication media in the daily life of downshifters]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 23(5): 155–177 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2020.23.5.6

Abstract. The article focuses on downshifting among the modern Russian intelligentsia as a type of spatial mobility associated with leaving cities and the general trend of de-urbanization. The author examines the migration of intellectuals out of the city, the format and nature of mobile infocommunications in the everyday practices of the migrants. The emergence and development of internet communication greatly simplifies travel over long distances (within the country, to neighboring countries, to other continents). One of the varieties of this mobility is associated with relocation to out-of-city spaces and a slowdown in the pace of life — downshifting, accompanied by a fundamental simplification of consumer needs and, in general, a change in the lifestyle. At the same time, the life of downshifters becomes closely associated with remote work, becoming a primary need to maintain an economic source of livelihood. The number of professions and specialties that allow working online is constantly growing. The attitude of downshifters to modern infocommunications in the context of life outside the urban environment is investigated and a typology of the role of modern means of communication in the everyday practices of downshifters is proposed. The supporting empirical material was gathered during fieldwork in the Manturovsky District of the Kostroma Region (2015–2017) where 37 in-depth interviews were conducted with residents of small settlements, supplemented by 10 in-depth interviews with informants living in small settlements in other regions of Russia. In the historical and anthropological perspective the author highlights the process of “production” of new localities (A. Appadurai) — the transfer of the meanings of urban life to the out-of-city space and the emergence of a new life world.

Keywords: de-urbanization, mobile technologies, downshifting, social transformation, production of locality.

Acknowledgement

This article is supported by a research grant from the Russian Science Foundation, project no. 19-18-00562.

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