'We don't enjoy nature like that': youth identity and lifestyle in the countryside

Katherine King, Andrew Church

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is claimed that contact with nature and the countryside can bene There are concerns, however, that not only do young people encounter signi accessing these resources as part of their leisure experiences, but also they generally have less direct experience of nature. Research into youth leisure activities and their associated cultural dimensions suggests performance and enactment are an integral feature of related youth lifestyles. This paper argues that young people because past studies have not examined these interactions as part of a wider process of developing lifestyles and identities linked to youth leisure activities. Presenting the research involving a group of young people who live in urban and rural areas and who make regular use of countryside space for mountain biking, this paper shows the ways in which young people express their relations to nature and the countryside. By providing a speci leisure experience within the framework of identity and lifestyle the paper offers a more holistic understanding of how young people interact with the countryside exploring both the distinctive elements of the spaces offered by the countryside to develop symbolic ownership over space and the way inwhich, through embodied experiences and knowledges, the nature associated with these spaces is given meaning by young people.fit young people’s health and wellbeing.ficant barriers to’s engagement with nature and the countryside still remains only partly understoodfindings of primary qualitativefic focus on young people’s countryside
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

© 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Young people
  • Lifestyle
  • Identity
  • Leisure
  • Countryside
  • Nature


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