Topic: Who’s place? Pending contests in multi-migrant rural areas
Keywords: In-migration, tourism, diversity, cosmopolitanism
The paper explores diversity processes in a rural mountain winter sport destination characterized by growing tourism and increased international labour in-migration. The paper applies to calls for research on studies of globalization and mobility as experienced in rural localities and by permanent populations. In particular, the notion of precarious rural cosmopolitanism (Woods 2018) is helpful to unfold the ambivalences in the locals’ thinking and practices related to what they experience as new and challenging configurations of the place. The analysis base on interviews with local populations, in a rural town characterized by multiple diversities due to in-migration and tourism (ethnic, social, cultural, economic). Local inhabitants alternate being self-confident in their experienced cultural skills learnt from living in the particular mobility era of the place, and feeling sub-ordinated and swamped by the same mobility. Rural prosperity is generally requested and applaused, by local inhabitants and local authorities. When in-migration and mobility are dominant aspects of local prosperity, discourses on the diverse populations’ impact upon or inter-relations with each other arise. It might be a paradox that in-migrant is a defining category in local communities characterized by high mobility. The question to be asked then is how does one become entitled to claim the recipe on how to inhabit (socially and culturally) in the local place?