Counterurbanisation and perceptions of quality of life in rural Scotland : a postmodern framework
This study is original in that it draws upon postmodern theories on the perception and representation of reality to investigate the relationship between the perception of quality of life and counterurbanisation in rural Scotland. Repertory grid analysis and a postal questionnaire were used in the research to determine the perceived importance of factors in the quality of life of various social and migrational groups in eight rural study areas. The research revealed that counterurbanisation in all its forms is widespread in the areas investigated, and that a significnt component in this process is migration to seek a perceived rural idyll, a form of migration which is unconnected to any economic component, or any changes in the location of industry. Postmodern theories regarding the perception of reality in rural and urban areas were used to explain people's perceptions of what was important in their choice of where to live. The study area of the respondents, their migrational histories, socio-occupational class, housing tenure, and most significantly their age group, were all predictive in determining how important many quality of life factors were perceived as being. However, the main conclusion from the study was the similarity that existed between the perceptions of all groups. Factors reflecting stereotyped images of the rural idyll and those of the problems of urban life, conditioned into the collective consciousness by the way in which these environments are portrayed on television, in the mass media, in literature, and in advertising, dominated in respondents' perceptions, along with other topical environmental concerns over factors which reflected more 'traditional' problems and concerns of rural life.