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Martin Šimon

"Manche Leuchten, wenn man sie liest..."


Martin Šimon

E-mail: simon1@natur.cuni.cz
Phone: +420 22195 1391

Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Charles University, Faculty of Science,
Albertov 6,
Prague 2, 128 43,
Czech Republic

mazutka [ | external link]

new spots




  • … "economics is all about how people make choices; sociology is all about how they don't have any choices to make" …(Granovetter, 1985, p. 485)
  • [In the town] you've got these little boxes, haven' t you, and these little people too busy to talk to each other in their little boxes. … It doesn't seem natural to me to live like that. (Bell, 1992, p. 77)
  • The very thing to say about post-modern wor(l)d is that is inherently confusing. (And postmodernist are wont to perform cheap tricks like that, so we now no longer know if we´re talking about words or worlds, and are left feeling throroughly disoriented regarding their relationship - which we once took for granted as a straightforward matter of representation.) (Clarke, 2006, p. 107)
  • Everyone likes to live in the suburbs. Everyone pokes fun at the suburbs... Everyone respects those who made the suburbs. Everyone hates the kind of people who live in the suburbs. Everyone wants bigger and better suburbs. Everyone thinks there is just too much suburb. You and I believein the suburbs — it’s lovely to have a nice home in the suburbs. The whole idea of the suburbs fills us with dismay, alarm, and frustration. Almost everyone’s business is dedicated to making life in the suburbs more enjoyable. The suburbs are a crashing bore and desolating disappointment. Thesub urbs are exactly what we asked for. The suburbs are exactly what we got. (Carver 1964, p. 3)
  • Relations between teachers and students, between academics, and between researchers and outside institutions such as grant-giving agencies, constitute intellectual power fields with relations of domination and control just as severe, and in many ways nastier and more vicious, than those of the corporate world or even the family. (Peet 1998, p. 7)
  • To understand mobility without recourse to representation on the one hand or the material corporeality on the other is, I would argue, to miss the point. (Cresswell 2006, p. 4)
  • What you have inherited from your fathers, you must earn in order to possess. (Goethe)
  • A full ethical analysis of research with humans must reflect not only on how research is conducted but also on what research topics are pursued… what questions are investigated—and what questions are neglected. (Sherwin 2005, p. 157)
  • ‘To act, it is necessary at least to localize’. (Canquilhem 1989, p. 39)


Research projects

Counterurbanization in the Czech Republic

migration to the countryside, life style and changing residental preferences


Research period

  • January 2010 - December 2011


The changing relations between urban and rural areas or between ‘Gemeinschaft’ and ‘Gesellschaft’ have been always fascinating for many researchers. The dichotomy of urban and rural seems blurred from today’s point of view. Nevertheless we argue that there still exist essential differences between urban and rural lifestyle and between the everyday life activities in both types of environments.
The aim of our project is to analyze counter urbanization phenomena in the Czech Republic and to develop the typology of counterurban migrants. What are the motivations behind the escape out of the city? What are the pull factors on the rural side? Do counterurban migrants retain their urban lifestyle after moving to the countryside? Or do they conform to the rural one? Could we conceive counterurbanization as a threat for traditional local culture? Those are the key questions which we do answer in proposed research.
We use both quantitative and qualitative methods, utilizing strong sides of the methods from both different perspectives – geographical and sociological.
Counterurbanization research is complementary to suburbanization research and allows us to transfer knowledge and experiences for mutual learning. The proposed research will enrich our understanding of contemporary residential decentralization in the Czech Republic.



Abstract: This paper presents an overview of past and current debates over the conceptualization of migration into rural areas – counterurbanization. It begins with the history of the term itself, leading us from its original use to the contemporary plurality of its meanings. Key issues in the process of defining counterurbanization are examined, in light of the term’s historical development. The article illustrates a shift in counterurbanization research from the study of the settlement system to the study of local dimensions of counterurbanization and finally to the discursive production of counterurbanization. Secondly, contemporary residential decentralization in Czechia and the theoretical framing of counterurbanization are linked together in order to discuss the relevance of the counterurbanization research agenda in Czechia. The article concludes by stating the need for new ways to approach migration into rural areas.
Keywords: counterurbanization – suburbanization – migration into rural areas – amenity migration – post-productivist transition – neo-ruralism.

Abstract: In this paper I seek to contribute to our understanding of Romanian immigration in the Czech Republic that has been neglected so far in the scholarly literature. This article presents evidence on a selected Romanian community in peripheral village in the Jeseníkregion based upon biographic interviews. The emergence and function of the community are reflected in the migration history of Romanian families, their gradual integration in society and in place of residence (marginalized village). Special emphasis is placed upon crucial moments like emergence of the distinction between Romanians and Roma in the eyes of majority of the society. Positive as well as negative influences upon the integration are discussed. The paper shows empirical evidence which is in some aspects contradictory to findings about integration of foreingers in the Czechia as presented by Tollarová (2006). The paper concludes with some consideration about future development of the community.
Keywords: Immigrant integration, migration to rural areas, Romanian, Roma, Pentecostalism.

Abstract: Population deconcentration is the main feature of the Czech settlement system during the last two decades. It has been studied mainly as suburbanization or metropolization. The experiences from western countries and preliminary analysis of migration data suggest that the population deconcentration occurs also in rural areas. We can talk about counter-urbanization. The aim of the article is to discuss various conceptualizations of counter-urbanization phenomena, from its origin to contemporary plurality of its meanings as it is reflected in academic discourses. The specific attention is devoted to so called post-socialist counter-urbanization. Various ways towards the definition of counter-urbanization will be discussed especially in relation to urbanization processes. We argue that our research efforts should focus on local dimension of counterurbanization in order to understand the impact of population de-concentration on everyday life in localities.

Keywords: Counterurbanization, Suburbanization, Migration into rural areas, Amenity migration

Abstract: This article presents a short introduction to the topic of migration into rural areas. Its first section discusses differences and similarities in terms of lifestyles in urban and rural areas. The second part presents the findings of a research project concerning migration into rural areas. Five groups of migrants are distinguished according to their migration strategy and reasons for migrating.


Key research interests
  • theories and approaches in urban geography
  • post-socialist cities
  • mobilities and urban change
  • residental deconcentration
  • post-structuralist geographies

Current affiliation

PhD student at the Department of Social Geography and Regional Development at Charles University in Prague


Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science

Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Science

  • Master (Mgr.) - Sociology of contemporary societies (2008 - …)

Studies and research abroad

  • SS 2008: Geographisches Institut, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany, Program Socrates - Erasmus.


  • : ArcGIS, SPSS, webdesign (XHTML, CSS, SEO)

Conferences, presentations


201+ - SS
2010 - SS
2010 - WS

2009 - SS

Useful tools

Other sources

Post-socialist urban geographies

Jussi S. Jauhiainen: Post-communist urban geographies: an essay

  • plenary lecture presented at 3rd International Workshop on Post-communist Urban Geographies. 17-19 September 2009, Tartu, Estonia
  • free to be distributed / debated / criticized / neglected.
  • for questions: jussijauhiainen@utu.fi

Jiri Musil: Why socialist and post-socialist cities are important for forward looking urban studies

  • presented at the conference "Forward Look on Urban Science", Helsinki 26-28 May, 2005
  • Jiří Musil, Center for social and economic strategies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague

Robert Hassink - It’s the language, stupid! On emotions, strategies, and consequences related to the use of one language to describe and explain a diverse world

  • article from Environment and Planning A about production of knowledge, by Robert Hassink


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