Countercultural Cymrustories of lifestyle migration to rural Wales, 1965-1980

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
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    Award date2021
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    Abstract

    In the 1960s and 1970s, large numbers of people in the UK moved to rural areas in search of a better way of life. As part of the era’s counterculture they were dissatisfied with conventional life, seeking an escape from its consumerism, pollution, and political and economic uncertainty. Many of them found homes in Wales. Using interviews with a sample of people who moved to Wales between 1965 and 1980, I aim to discover why they chose to move, what their day-today experiences were like, and how living in a rural Welsh community shaped their lives and identities. The interviews are the lynchpin of the project, supplemented by library and archive research into alternative literature from the time. The experiences of countercultural migrants to Wales have been neglected in existing
    academic literature. As well as rectifying this absence this thesis sheds light on broader themes, including the relationship between different social groups in Wales, the relationship between the counterculture and the cultural norms of the time, and the lives of women in rural areas. The counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s is often viewed though stereotypes, especially in relation to Wales. Because of this, it often seems as though countercultural migrants to Wales
    were a single homogenous group, which can be cleanly juxtaposed against the Welsh host communities (and indeed, against those living ‘conventional’ lives anywhere else). I argue that the reality is far more nuanced. Rather than being a united entity, with common ideals, countercultural migrants had a diverse range of experiences, beliefs, and aspirations. Even when they did share goals or ideas, ways of putting things into practice varied significantly. Their story forms an important part of the history and heritage of Wales, and deserves to be
    recognised and understood.

    Keywords

    • counterculture, Wales, migration, hippies, rural