S/elective belonging: how rural newcomer families with children become stayers

T. Haartsen, A. Stockdale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Rural stayers are often defined as people who have never left their rural home region or village. However, rural regions and villages also receive new inhabitants. This paper explores if and how newcomers become inhabitants
who stay put. We interviewed couples of newcomers who moved to a rural area of the Netherlands at the family formation life stage, between 5 and 10 years prior to this study. We view the process of becoming a stayer through the lens of getting attached to and identifying with the new home region. We adopt the concepts of 'elective belonging' and 'selective belonging' to explore the newcomers' actual experiences of rural place and, in turn, the ways rural newcomer families become stayers. We identify two types of stayers: children-led and convinced stayers. Both envisage a re-negotiation of staying or leaving at a later life stage (either the empty nest or old age stage). They elected to belong to residential places in enchanted rural landscapes. But they also are selective in developing belonging to the rural.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCongress Proceedings XXVII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress
EditorsKristina Svels
PublisherInstitute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University
Number of pages2
ISBN (Print)978-83-947775-0-0
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2017
EventXXVII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress - Kraków, Poland
Duration: 24-Jul-201727-Jul-2017


ConferenceXXVII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress
Internet address

Cite this