The objective of the article was to update Tarde's approach by directing attention to the rural space and the concept of rural imitation. It analyses an empirical study of people settling in five Danish rural areas using Tarde's key concepts of imitation and monads. Mixed methods were employed, including surveys, participant observation and photo-ethnographic interviews. The data analysis applied the grounded theory approach to add a structural dimension to Tarde's approach. The analysis revealed that Tarde's approach and his key concepts of imitation and monads can be used to develop contemporary perspectives on rural experiences. The pivotal point in the rural-urban relationship is the ability to be in contact with an identity constructed from decisions about specific emotional states and a sense of the present. Within a broader perspective, this view of identity building based on rural settlement in nature calls for attention to health studies regarding how nature is associated with coping and how it can help relieve stress, one of contemporary society's most common ailments. The analysis suggests the existence of a triangle of monads in contemporary rural imitation. This triangle of monads is what stabilises, reproduces and supports the creation of rural identities.
- photo ethnography
- rural-urban relation