Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Inclusion or Exclusion? The Spatial Habitus of Rural Gentrifiers

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Abstract:  Several rural areas all over the world have experienced the inflow of the urban better‐off. This rural gentrification takes various temporary and permanent forms, i.e., lifestyle migration, second‐home ownership, or short‐term visitors. Scholarly interest in rural gentrification is evidenced by the growing body of literature. Based on 105 semi‐structured in‐depth interviews conducted in two rural areas in Hungary, this article aims to explore the perceptions, motivations, preferences, and lived experiences of rural newcomers, their position within the community, as well as processes of inclusion and exclusion. We rely on Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of habitus and argue that it includes distinct spatial dispositions forming a “spatial habitus.” The interviews show that the middle‐class rural gentrifiers’ (spatial) habitus is entangled with their cultural capital and represents a mixture of urban and “ruralising” dispositions. Their spatial practices are interpreted as the result of middle‐class (spatial) habitus and middle‐class symbolic distinction. At the same time, middle‐class rural gentrifiers are active local agents who defy common notions of newcomers having to integrate into their communities of choice.

Keywords:  Bourdieu; gentrification; Hungary; rural gentrification; spatial dispositions; spatial habitus


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© Kyra Tomay, Viktor Berger. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.