The following abstracts have been accepted for presentation.

Abstracts are posted here by alphabetical order of surname.

Anya Ahmed

University of Salford, UK

Retired British women living in the Costa Blanca: constructing ethnicity, belonging and community

Abstract: In this paper I focus on how a sample of retired working-class British women living in the Costa Blanca in Spain experience and construct belonging to an ethnic group while away from their country of origin. I explore how ethnicity and belonging are reworked while out of context and how belonging to an ethnic group, place and social networks overlap and represent different forms of community. These communities can be understood as symbolic, imagined and constructed through women’s agency and reinforced by speaking a language different to their hosts. Through structural narrative analysis and with a focus on ‘positioning’, I consider how English, British and European identities are presented. An important theme in this paper is the problematic nature of ethnicity for retirees, and how they experience being ‘foreign’ in Spain. For the women in this study, having an ‘English’ rather than a British ethnic identity is emphasised and they can be understood to have moved from the UK to Spain to escape Britain and return to England. In this sense, there is a time and space dimension since moving across space is synonymous with moving back in time. The different experiences of those who wish to stay in Spain and those who want to the return to the UK are considered in relation to experiences of belonging to these different forms of community.

Ulrika Åkerlund

Geography and Economic History, Umeå University

Aspiring for ‘the best of both worlds’: understanding the production and performance aspects of lifestyle mobilities.

Abstract: This paper is based on four individual studies of lifestyle mobilities, with a specific focus on long-term and semi-permanent mobility practices of Swedish retirees in Malta. Lifestyle mobilities are here defined as those mobility practices undertaken by individuals on basis of their freedom of choice, of a temporal or more permanent duration, with or without any significant ‘home base(s)’, that are primarily driven by aspirations to increase ‘quality of life’, and that are primarily related to the individuals’ lifestyle values. The aim is to understand how production and performance aspects of lifestyle mobilities are related, and how notions of identity and belonging are negotiated in relation to lifestyle mobility practices. The production aspect relates to those structures and frameworks that create, facilitate, or sometimes delimit opportunities for lifestyle mobility while the performance aspect focuses on individual agency and meaning of lifestyle mobility practices. The studies are based on in-depth interviews with Swedish movers in Malta, and focus on how structural frameworks and mediations influence the ways that movers maneuver, manipulate or adapt to structures and influences in order to arrange the best package of mobility practices to achieve ‘quality of life’. A second aim focuses on the ways that movers reflect upon their identities and belongings as they travel routinely between two (or more) significant places, and how this may influence mobility practices. It is concluded that structures and mediations are both facilitating and delimiting movers’ space of choice regarding mobility decisions. Through their agency, movers negotiate their space of choice by allocating resources and experience, accessing supportive networks and tailoring their access to entitlements. The production and performance aspects of lifestyle mobility practices are interlinked in complex ways.

Marco Allegra

CIES- University of Lisbon

‘We were looking for a quiet, nice place to live’ (on a geopolitical fault line). The suburbanization of Israel’s settlement policy in the area of metropolitan Jerusalem.

Abstract: The presence of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is one of the most controversial issues in the conflict in Israel/Palestine. Still, most of the academic and media discourse on the topic tends to focus on the immediate humanitarian, territorial and legal implications of the establishment of settlements, and on the national-religious, hard-line component of the settler world.

On the other side, the role of large suburban settlements in the transformation of the material and symbolic landscape of the metropolitan area has been consistently overlooked, and the dynamics of single settlements over time largely ignored.

My paper is based on a case study on the settlement of Ma’ale Adummim, a bedroom community located in the eastern periphery of Jerusalem founded in the early 1980s and now counting some 40,000 residents – a good portion of which are Jewish immigrants, especially from the US and the UK.

The paper is mainly based on contextual and historical data and in-depth interviews with residents of the community, and will focus on place attachment, community-making, and the construction of a new sense of “indigeneity”; personal geographies and histories of (transnational) mobility; the relation between the experience of the community and the broader conflicts which mark the area of Jerusalem; and the relation between all these elements and the production of space in the metropolitan area.

The underlying argument of the paper is that the presence of large, suburban and de-politicized settlements – and day-by-day quest for “good life” in terms of services, infrastructure, environment, community affiliation, etc. – has constituted a “quiet revolution” in the Israeli-Palestinian relations in the area of Jerusalem, creating a new socio-spatial definition of what Jerusalem is – which represents today the one of the most significant realities in the conflict.

Carla Almeida, PhD Anthropology

Researcher, CRIA, Univ. Nova de Lisboa

Senior Lecturer, Universidade do Algarve, ESGHT

Resident Tourists and the São Brás Museum: Becoming part of the “community”        

Abstract: The Costume Museum of São Brás, in the Algarve, includes among its users the Group of Friends of the Museum. This group, composed of foreign residents in the Algarve, organizes various cultural events on an annual basis. The Friends of the Museum emerged as a response to the opening of the Museum, for groups of volunteers who wanted to participate in its activities. The response from the foreign residents to the challenge made by the Museum was, given the intentions of the Museum, in itself paradoxical.

The Museum was trying, with this initiative, to involve the local population of the village. It was an initiative that sought to find partners for the recovery of memories, traditional festivities, and to revitalize local culture. The group that came to join the programme, however, was the antithesis of this “imagined community” of territorial proximity and cultural homogeneity. Indeed, those who came forward were “foreigners”, or “tourists” representing a deterritorialized, dispersed, rootless and cosmopolitan population. Yet they began to create, with remarkable perseverance, cultural and recreational programmes and thus established a “community” which gave a new identity to the Museum. The Museum is now also seen as a place for “foreigners”.

In this way, the Museum has become a “contact zone” between representations and community practices. A “contact zone” may be a vantage point for observing sociocultural processes of articulation, discovery, or cooperation between the “parties”. But it can also be a space for ambiguity, tension, “frontier” or “di-vision.” Above all, the Museum can be a field for the construction of cultural hybridization and in this sense, it is also a vehicle for identity reconstruction. Thus, the concept of “community” in its classical sense may become an object of departure –albeit surmountable and questionable- in the development process.

Charles Betty and Kelly Hall

University of Northampton – UK

The experiences of older British people in Spain who return to the UK

Abstract: Since the late 1990s there has been an increase in research on international retirement migration (IRM). Various authors have re-conceptualised the term and now lifestyle migration, residential tourism and amenity migration have become common place (Benson, 2009, O’Reilly, 2007). These perspectives have not adequately addressed the issue of older British people living in Spain who intend to, or have migrated back to the UK. Television programmes and newspaper reports suggest that many older people are considering, or have moved back to the UK (BBC News 31st March 2011; The Independent, 18th April, 2012), however these issues have not yet been considered by academics. This paper begins to fill the gap by looking at the experiences of older British people who are returning from Spain to the UK. On-going Ph’D research using qualitative ethnographic methods with older people in the UK and Spain will reveal the reasons, experiences, and challenges faced when returning to the country of origin for health, personal care, or financial reasons. Early indications suggest that in times of austerity and financial crisis the number of older British people returning to the UK will increase. This is likely to have implications for informal and formal care and supporting organisations in Spain e.g.- Age Concern Spain, Age Care Association, and the Spanish, and in the UK national health services.


Inês David


Mediating Lifestyle Migration – a radio-graphic approach

Abstract: Apart from instances of international place marketing so as to attract visitors and potential residents within tourism settings (i.e. Marques 2009; Jannson 2002; Spalding 2013) and clues from counter-urbanization reflections (i.e. Lindell 2009; Woods 2010), the role of media in the context of lifestyle migration seems under-researched.

To delve into practices of mediation of lifestyle migration we take the unusual approach of self-representation. Specifically, we focus on the social life of a station made by and for self-designated ‘expatriates’ in southern Portuguese. We explore how locally produced radio plays into the everyday lives of the English-speaking foreign population by focusing on a combination of broadcasts’ textual analysis and the ethnography of radio production and consumption practices. Drawing on the notion of mediation (Livingstone 2009, Couldry 2008 e Siapera 2010) and of communicative ecologies (Tacchi, Slater and Hearn 2003; Wilkins et al 2007) we relate the latter radio-specific practices with broader media diets and community making sociabilities.

The analysis of practices animating locally produced radio suggests thinking beyond dichotomies of inclusion and exclusion while qualifying transnational connectivity dynamics. Local and transnational radio-based sociabilities destabilize narratives of foreigners’ self-seclusion into an “expat bubble”. Yet, they contribute to creating variably intense stances of connection with Algarvean realities that are punctuated by the ambivalence typical of lifestyle migration (i.e. Benson and O’Reilly 2009). Embedded and engaged in a rich mediascape, such practices also question the pertinence of considering a category of media made by and/or focused on expats.

Marco Eimermann

PhD candidate in Human Geography,

Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CUReS), Örebro University, Sweden.

Ambivalent Dutch Lifestyle Migrants in Rural Sweden

Abstract: This paper focuses on Dutch families who moved to Hällefors (rural Sweden) in the early 21st century. It discusses contradictory and ambivalent discourses between life before and life after migration. As studied in this text, the direction of the move (north), the destination (a problematic municipality) and the structure for the decision process (provided by a municipality and an agency actively attracting incomers) are novel aspects to existing studies of lifestyle migration. The paper aims to examine the migration process of Dutch lifestyle migrants in Hällefors and their ambivalent attitudes towards returning. The main empirical question is ‘after migrating to Hällefors, what influences the Dutch families’ attitude towards returning?’ This question is addressed through an interview study, conducted in 2011. One of the findings is that long-term planning migrants show less ambivalence than spontaneous movers.

Aude Etrillard

Phd Candidate in Language Sciences

Université Rennes 2, France.

Towards a critical and ethnographic approach to language practices in lifestyle migrations

Abstract: In the context of a British migration in Central Brittany, a rural French area, languages are major concerns raised in the narratives of both migrants and native population. From a sociolinguist’s perspective, language is not only a tool to process information, but it is embedded in the emergence of space-based identity, culture and social hierarchy (Blanchet, 2000; Heller, 2011; Bourdieu, 1982). Critical sociolinguistics therefore question language as « a terrain that enables struggles over ownership, resources and legitimacy (…) » (Del Percio and Duchêne, 2011, p.44; see also Heller, 2011). In this paper, based on an ethnography of interactions of native and British individuals in Central Brittany, I will argue that answering the question « who speaks what when and why » reveals the complexity and variety of, sometimes conflicting, positionings on the field studied. From the abundance of English-speaking services to the injunction to « make the effort » to learn French, from English as a dominant international language, to English as the language of a minority, I will demonstrate that discourse and strategies regarding language in interactions reveal some important aspects of lifestyle migration (Benson and O’Reilly, 2009). Indeed, the language issue will enable us to question (trans)national identity (Ferbrache, 2011), the competitiveness of territories and the commodification of cultures, languages and identities (Heller, 2011), or briefly speaking the materialisation of High Modernity and Late Capitalism in a French rural territory.

Sofia Gaspar

Researcher at CIES-IUL/ ISCTE-IUL

Types and Patterns of Lifestyle Rural Migrants across Europe

Abstract: In recent decades, lifestyle migration has turned into a central motivation within the context of intra-EU mobility, leading to increasing numbers of European citizens to adventure life in cross-national idealized destinations. While most investigations had documented trends of quality life migration to coastal areas of Southern European countries, research to rural landscapes has been more scant. In order to expand knowledge on this subject, the aim of this paper is to provide a comparative analysis of patterns and types of lifestyle migration flows to rural areas in five EU countries: France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain. So far, such a comparison has not been undertaken since previous studies had mainly privileged national contexts, leaving aside a comparative approach which could point towards specific migrants’ enclaves in different destinations. Moreover, the originality and uniqueness of the sample under analysis – the European Internal Movers Social Survey (EIMSS) – guarantees the access to a pool of individuals who had exclusively migrated to rural European locations driven my quality of life rationales between 1974 and 2004. A multivariate analysis has been developed using socio-demographic variables such as country of residence, nationality, age, education and work status. The results showed the existence of a threefold typology of EU lifestyle rural migrants – retired migrants, professional migrants and mid-life migrants– depending on the host country they had settled in. These findings are particularly relevant since most research to date has been drawn on qualitative data, making difficult to sketch major trends and profiles of socio-demographic attributes of lifestyle rural migrants. At a final stage, the paper concludes by discussing how these country-specific dynamics in rural settings can be understood as part of broader migration patterns within the EU.

Greg Halseth

University of Northern British Columbia
Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

Opportunities and challenges: An introduction to second-home issues in British Columbia’s northern resource frontier.

Abstract: Rural communities and regions across all OECD states are challenged by social, economic, and political restructuring. They are searching for ways to bring greater stability to communities, and broader resilience to their economic foundations. Using the example of northern British Columbia’s resource frontier, this paper introduces and discusses a range of opportunities and challenges associated with tourism, amenity migration, and second-home developments. Among the opportunities are the diversity of target audiences for these new economic sectors and the “asset” of northern BC’s spectacular natural environment. Amongst the challenges are that attracting new residents or economic sectors means attention is needed to the availability of support services for those households and economic sectors. In addition, the fiscal capacity of local governments, and the delivery of certain services, is governed by the type of resident’s in the communities. The increasing share of the local housing stock allocated to seasonal, part time, or retired households has a significant impact upon the service delivery capacity of local governments.

Matthew Hayes

St. Thomas University

Practices of Racialized Identity in the Context of Residential Migration to Cuenca, Ecuador

Abstract: This paper explores the position of the “Gringo” in the shifting racial order of Ecuador, based on qualitative interviews and ethnographic observation of residential migrants in Cuenca.  Several thousand North Americans have since moved to Cuenca since 2009, when it was named a top retirement destination by internet-based lifestyle marketers.  I posit that the “Gringo” is a racial category, and while it does not carry the negative connotations in Ecuador that it does elsewhere in Latin America, it refers to a particular phenotype, often also marked by cultural symbols, such as clothing.  The paper explores strategies and practices adopted by North American “Gringos” in response to their status in Cuencano society as a visibly identifiable group.  Among other practices, the paper highlights two which appear to be reactions to being cast within a racialized identity which would be new to many of the migrants, and which now creates new problems for expatriates.  In the first, some North Americans have resorted to policing the behaviour of other North Americans, in order to manage the perceptions that the Ecuadorian community has of the racialized “Gringo,” reinforcing this self-identity rather than deconstructing it.  This is done in the name of the interests of the “Gringo” community as a whole, by individuals who often conceive themselves as “guests” and who desire continued harmonious relations with the Cuencano community, designated as “Other.”  The second, and sometimes overlapping set of practices is marked by individual attempts towards further integration into the Cuencano community.  Some North Americans adopt practices that aim to erase “Gringoness,” or diminish it primarily through linguistic and cultural integration.  Yet, even as integration promises to diminish “Gringoness,” the Andean “Other” encountered in Cuenca is raced and classed within the Andean social order.  Thus, contradictions emerge that re-inscribe “Gringoness” within privileged segments of Andean society, limiting both cultural and linguistic integration, and potentially posing new challenges to lower caste segments of Cuencano society.

Melanie Hühn

University of Leipzig

Travelling for Amenities: A Discourse on a New Type of Mobile People within Europe beyond Tourism and Migration

Abstract: Within contemporary Europe we can find many new forms of travelling induced by the freedom established by the European Union. In particular, retired people use this freedom to lead a life of leisure in sunny and/or scenic regions. This paper will focus on Torrox, a small town on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Torrox is considered the biggest German ‘colony’ abroad. Estimations assume that more than 10.000 Germans live in settlements on the Torrox coastline. Most of the Germans are retired and demonstrate a variety of travelling patterns between Spain and Germany.

All the Germans interviewed for this study said, “we are neither tourists nor migrants.” They are a highly amenity- and lifestyle-oriented group that is often described with terms like “long-term tourism”, “lifestyle migration” or “retirement migration”. In my opinion, these terms are no longer helpful to categorise the day-to-day life of European citizens with more than one residence. Even if you can find some aspects of “tourism” and some of “migration”, neither term is adequate to describe the case of elderly Germans in Spain (for example, those who use their “holiday” apartments for more than three months per year). For this group, I propose an alternative “type” to classify this kind of travelling beyond tourism and migration: the “birds of passage”. From an anthropological perspective, the “birds of passage” are a transnational, lifestyle-oriented group with a strong collective sense. Their lifestyle is characterised by activity and disengagement (two key terms in gerontology) and produces a subculture of ageing in Spain’s coastal areas that can be described as a “culture of amenities”.

Stefan Kordel

Institute of Geography, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Being a tourist – being at home: reconstructing tourist experiences and negotiating home in retirement migrants’ daily lives

Abstract: Occurring at the interface between tourism and migration, leisure-oriented mobility and lifestyle migration is commonly addressed as an individual practice to materialise the quest for the ‘good life’. Regarding the decision to move and practices in lifestyle migrants’ daily lives, many scholars have recently put emphasis on former tourist experiences and processes of home-making. However, they have still insufficiently pointed out, how both aspects are mutually dependent.

Drawing on the framework of a “critical geography of home” (Blunt / Dowling) that takes into consideration idealised, materialised and emotional dimensions of home, the paper explores how retirement migrants individually “make their homes” by reconstructing tourist representations and practices.

Empirically addressed by the application of self-directed and reflexive photography among German retirees in Southern Spain (Costa del Sol), the presented case study is based on visual stimuli, taken by the interviewees themselves that simultaneously project reproduced tourist images and interviewees’ normative values. Subsequently, photographs are discussed in order to initialise an in-depth interview that helps to socially embed the gathered data.

The analysis of empirical data reveals that retirement migrants permanently reproduce their desired lifestyle, embodied through everyday activities and materialised through housing. Ascribing symbolical meaning to idealised homes that represent the dream of living in the South and comparing this to ‘those back home’, individuals explicitly construct difference and thus re-territorialise space. Beside this, materialisations of the good life become obvious in terms of community making that is manifested within leisure-oriented associations and informal networks, providing desired sociability and a reliable social network. Despite notions of tourism and home are mutually exclusive at first sight, this paper, however, contends co-existing notions in lifestyle migrants’ everyday lives.

Mari Korpela

Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Tampere, Finland

Western lifestyle migrant children defining home and belonging in Goa, India.

Abstract: There is an increasing number of lifestyle migrant families in Goa, India. Most of them spend half of the year in Goa and the rest of the year in the parents’ countries of origin. This paper is based on an ethnographic study among such children (2-12 years old). Lifestyle migration is the decision of the parents and the views of children have not been much studied yet. The transnationally mobile life is the only lifestyle that the children have experiences of, which makes them fundamentally different from lifestyle migrant adults who usually originally lived in their native countries permanently. The paper discusses how the children define and negotiate home and belonging in their everyday lives. I argue that although the parents are often of different national origin and the lifestyle is transnationally mobile, the children are very talented in creating roots and belonging in their talk and practices. I also discuss how the children define and describe the various localities where they live and I elaborate on the significance of certain material objects, especially toys, in their transnational lives. I argue that although the children may seem to occupy an ambivalent position, they may not experience this ambivalence themselves and it is extremely important to listen to the children’s own conceptualisations. The parents have certain definitions for the good life they have found abroad but in this paper, the aim is to look at the good life (and practices related to it) from the children’s perspective.


Lecturer in Anthropology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitaet, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Distributed habitat as a mean of negotiating spatiotemporal characteristics of lifestyle migrants’ relationships with their kin members

Abstract: The proposed article will address the transnational practices of lifestyle migrants, focusing on the material culture aspect of the move – what are the ways lifestyle migrants engage with renovations and construction on their new dwellings and what are the ideas that are being embodied into those buildings. The particular case of distributed habitat will be examined: houses and apartments that are bought in the home countries as well as extra guest rooms organized in many houses in the new destination countries, majority of which are hardly ever used. Despite of their ‘unused’ status those rooms and houses become proxies for potential relationships that could take place. Such presence of absence has a productive capacity: these empty spaces have to be filled, creating a necessity for communication with those for whom the rooms have been made ready. Such organization of dwelling results in improving relationships with kin members back at home, despite moving away to a different country. Analyzing the distributed habitat of lifestyle migrants allows for better understanding of transnational practices that resolve potential generation conflicts in spatial terms, and at the same time making places where such relations could take place, enhance temporal aspect of lifestyle migrants’ relationships with their kin members. The case of British lifestyle migrants residing full-time in southwestern Spain will be used as an example.

Michelle Lawson

Doctoral student, Lancaster University

The more wine you drink, the better the French sounds: Representations of the good life within an online community of practice

 Abstract: This study explores the discourse of British lifestyle migrants in Ariège, south-west France. Until its recent closure, an online forum for English-speaking expats offered networking and advice in pursuit of ‘living in France’. While there has been some focus on discursive construction within the phenomenon of lifestyle migration (Torkington, 2012), little attention has been given to the online forum as a mechanism for learning about the new life and developing relationships within this context.  Wenger’s (1998) theory of community of practice offers a theoretical ‘lens’ through which to examine how ‘the good life’ is articulated through the practices of the forum, particularly the concept of ‘shared repertoire’ whereby routines of symbolic meaning are built up.

Themes of an ‘alternative identity’ (Benson & O’Reilly, 2009) and ‘distinction’ (Benson, 2009) have also emerged as major arguments within recent research.  Discourse analysis of the forum data shows, to an extent, how discursive behaviour gives form and meaning to underlying issues of power, as participants make social evaluations, invoke stereotypes and position themselves and each other, particularly within the British community. Bourdieu’s (1984) social, cultural and linguistic forms of capital offer a framework for a linguistic analysis of how participants make social categorisations and gauge the level of accomplishment within the integration and appreciation of French life.

An underlying theme within the lifestyle migration literature is that class remains and is rearticulated under new conditions through enduring habitus (Oliver & O’Reilly, 2010).  While this study gives some support to this idea, it also offers an interesting inversion of the ‘middle class’ habitus mediating lifestyle choice, as some migrants are seen to project a more working class habitus against the middle classes.

Roger Norum (University of Oxford); Casey McHugh (The George Washington University); Molly Clark-Barol (Independent scholar)

‘You’ve been serv’d’: Listserv rhetoric in the spaces of Expatria

Abstract: The listserv, or list server, is one of the fundamental (and earliest) forms of internet-based group communication, reflecting a class of social structures based on shared interests, activities and positions, while also being relatively flat with respect to hierarchical structure and openness to membership. In development and humanitarian contexts, email and online listservs function as easily-accessible resource forums for expatriates to obtain and exchange logistical information on their new local spaces, with common topics such as finding housing, joining sport groups and negotiating local bureaucracies. But these virtual bulletin boards also become communities in their own right, enabling members to engage with each other based on shared (or imagined) notions such as nationality, class and ethnicity. At the same time, the discursive spaces created by listservs enable the (re)production of boundaries between these ‘guests’ and their local ‘hosts’, the latter of whom may be disenfranchised from the technologies and/or social capital required for participation in such interaction. This paper explores rhetorical engagements in two divergent expatriate listserv communities, Liberia and Nepal, to show how ICTs mediate the negotiation of familiar and foreign norms, mores, values and categories through the reproduction of various individual and collective identities.

Meghann Ormond

Assistant Professor, Cultural Geography, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Resorting to Plan J: Singaporean retirement communities and nursing homes in Johor, Malaysia

Abstract: Iskandar Malaysia, a special economic development zone nestled within the Southern Malaysian state of Johor, is being heavily developed as Singapore’s hinterland. Greater numbers of long-time Singapore residents and citizens in search of the ‘good life’ are beginning to consider Johor, a mere 1 km from across the bridge from the tiny island country, as an alternative to what is framed as an over-priced, overcrowded Singapore. Malaysian, Singaporean and international developers are seeking to meet the desires and needs of Singaporeans of reduced and modest means by offering access to more affordable medical care, larger homes and the promise of greater personal mobility (while automobile permits are limited in Singapore, owning a car is much easier in Johor) than back at home. At the same time, faced with a rapidly ageing population, more Singaporeans are considering placing their dependent elderly family members in Johor nursing homes. This trend, endorsed by the Singapore Health Ministry as a way to reduce the economic burden shouldered by those responsible for elder care, has provoked significant outcry in Singapore in recent years with opponents negatively framing the practice as ‘outsourcing our elderly’, revealing some of the unstable political and social fault lines in the country’s neoliberal politics that pushes for greater self-responsibility and self-care and distances the state from its traditional welfare role as well as the de- and re-territorialization of care taking place within this emergent, experimental transborder space. This paper examines tensions between the official representations of Johor as a viable alternative to Singapore and Singapore residents’ popular opinion within the context of historically uneasy political and migratory relations between Malaysia and Singapore.

Filipa Perdigão Ribeiro

ESGHT/University of the Algarve, Portugal

Lifestyle migrants in the Algarve (Portugal): a multilingual challenge?

Abstract: The movements across languages inherent to the phenomenon of mobility, though important, are almost totally absent in most discussions and characterization of today’s global flows. In fact the great majority of critical literature on mobility overlooks this dimension of human migrations, which must be also understood as flows of languages. Travellers, tourists and migrants as they move are language speakers, of their native language and (sometimes) of non-native languages. The contemporary globalized world could be characterized as a multilingual and multicultural place, even though paradoxically a lingua franca – English – has hegemonically emerged.

According to the Portuguese National Census 2011, 17% of the resident population in the Algarve were foreign nationals, well above the 3.5% average in the national territory. Of these, around 3% are northern Europeans, who come searching for a more relaxed lifestyle, and whose language of communication is primarily English, and to a lesser extent German and Dutch.

This paper addresses the role of language(s) use in the complex process of adaptation and integration and focuses on how these ‘lifestyle’ migrants, who choose to stay on a more or less permanent basis, appear not to accommodate linguistically to the locals.

Based on a questionnaire survey we examine individual speakers’ language practices, focusing on respondents’ perceptions of the Portuguese language as a ‘valued’ tool for integration. Data analysis uncovers various themes: first, the majority of the respondents speak mostly their L1 language in the home/family and social domains; second, we find low importance attached to speaking fluent Portuguese; third, northern Europeans show low versatility in their language use, compared to other migrant groups (namely eastern Europeans); and fourth, we find ambivalent positions in terms of planning to stay in Portugal, feeling at ‘home’ and mastering the Portuguese language.

Dora Sampaio

Centre for Geographical Studies, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Ageing as an international retirement migrant in the Algarve: (re)negotiating an active later-life abroad

Abstract: In recent decades concepts such as “active ageing”, “positive ageing” or “successful ageing” have gained increasing relevance in scholarly and media discourses. In a context of later-life international mobility, these ideals assume particular significance as the migration process may represent a first step towards the (re)negotiation of the ageing process. Economic and social practices as part of the specific context of international retirement migration tend to reflect an adaptation to a new life context guided by principles of liveliness, lifestyle pursuit and self-realisation. Bearing this conceptual framework in mind, and having the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal, as a case study, it is aimed to examine both the economic (e.g. entrepreneurship) and social (e.g. volunteering and association involvement) activities developed by later-life expatriates established in the region. Following this purpose, it is intended to further delve who are the socially and economically more active migrants and which sorts of (social and economic) activities do these expatriates develop. Regarding this latter objective, it is aimed to explore, more specifically, if those activities are more oriented towards local communities or mostly to these migrants’ own/co-national community benefit. The analysis is drawn from a questionnaire-based survey applied to 150 international retirement migrants residing in (rural areas of) the Algarve. Results suggest that the later-life migrants surveyed tend to be more active socially than economically, thus reflecting the greater importance ascribed to a sense of liveliness and self-realisation (mostly within their community) in a context of retirement rather than the relevance credited to an active permanence in the labour market. Nonetheless, and given their more flexible character, entrepreneurial activities assume some significance among these expatriates. Furthermore, individual and migratory characteristics do not seem to play a decisive role in distinguishing between those migrants more (and less) socially and economically active.

João Sardinha

Centro de Estudos das Migrações e das Relações Interculturais (CEMRI), Universidade Aberta, Lisboa, Portugal

‘From the silence to the sights to the sipping’: Lifestyle migrants in Central Portugal

 Abstract: Known for its rural, underdeveloped life and disparities, the regions that constitute Central Portugal have historically been unable to secure a sustainable economic upkeep for many of its peoples. As a consequence, this has led to the depopulation of these territories which, in turn, has resulted in the abandonment of the Portuguese central interior, noticeable not only demographically but also visually in the built and lived world. Opposite to the perceptions held by the native born, however, what many see as a land that offers very few prospects, others from outside these regions, and above all outside the country, and see opportunities for a dreamed, idyllic lifestyle to be had in rural or small town settings. Such has been the case of newcomers originating from northern European countries (namely Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, among others) as well as North America. Based on work carried out since January, 2011 to the present, my paper looks at the incoming of such lifestyle migrants into two particular sub-regions of Central Portugal known as Pinhal Interior Norte (Interior Woodlands North) and Médio Tejo (Medium Tagus). Through the methodological process of data triangulation, bringing together narrations gathered through in-depth interviews with lifestyle migrants (45 interviews carried out), participant observation as well as internet blogs and cyber forum debate analysis, the aim of my paper is three-fold: 1.) It sets out to create a typology of the lifestyle migrants that settle in Central Portugal, 2.) to explore the decision-making processes of settlement and 3.) to examine the impact of these migrants of local communities and regional life.

Kate Torkington

Universidade do Algarve, Escola Superior de Gestão, Hotelaria e Turismo

‘The only Portuguese people I know speak English’: Lifestyle migrants, local language practices and ambivalent belongings

 Abstract: Although northern European lifestyle migrants in Portugal are generally positioned by their hosts as ‘desirable’ migrants due to their perceived economic capital, their level of local integration is often minimal. Many British in the Algarve, for example, are unable to speak or understand much Portuguese and live in seemingly self-marginalised communities with little or no contact with their hosts, despite (in many cases) having lived in Portugal for a number of years.

This paper sets out to investigate how talk about language learning and local language practices exemplifies the ambivalent sense of integration and belonging which appears to characterise this group of migrants. A discourse analysis approach to data from interviews conducted with British residents in the Algarve reveals a generally positive identification with the place and strong feelings of being ‘at home’. However, the data also show that this positive sense of place-identity is troubled by admitting to a lack of knowledge of the Portuguese language. Such an admission entails taking up a position that is doubly dilemmatic. On the one hand, it indexes a social identity that might be negatively perceived, either as someone who does not ‘legitimately’ belong in the place and/or as an elite, privileged ‘outsider’ who stands aloof from the local community. At the same time, this positioning also contradicts other, more positive self-representations – as a settled and therefore ‘successful’ migrant – by implying difficulties in adapting to life in Portugal. Besides exploring these ambivalent positionings, the paper also considers how the research participants seek to (discursively) resolve these dilemmas.

Fátima Velez de Castro

Department of Geography / CEGOT, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Good life practices/practising a good life in immigration context. A hedonistic foreigner’s perspective of a Portuguese rural area

Abstract: The presence of immigrants in Portuguese rural areas has been dawdling but scarring, especially from the beginning of the 21st century onwards. The choice of such places as migration destinations seems contradictory, given they are regions in which the common denominator is low population densities, a feature mostly faced by society and political decision makers as responsible for the disruption of territorial development processes at a regional scale.

However, the hedonistic sense of life defended by many of these foreign individuals, allied to a strong sense of ruralophilia, makes some locations of the country’s rural inland present as attraction poles from a migration point of view, especially the specificity of the landscape and the environment, in relationship with place and local community. It is a dualistic sense of the possibility to benefit from “good life practises”, generated by the singularities of local populations and physical territory, as well as having an active role through “practising a good life”, therefore generating positive effects in terms of regional development.

Being based on the work of a case study about the reality of migration in the border municipalities of the sub-region of Alto Alentejo (Portugal), it is intended to present and discuss the dynamics and the role of foreign residents in this area of the country, having into account the following questions:

a) Who are these immigrants, what is their geographical origin and life trajectory?

b) Which are the motivations inherent to the migration, why did they settle in this area of the country?

c) In what way do they relate with the place(s), how did the reterritorialisation process took place, how did they build the sense of belonging to this specific territory?

d) How have they contributed to the regional development, which are the consequences resulting from their presence in the landscape?

e) Can these individuals be considered as “lifestyle immigrants”, can (also they) make the difference in the future of the Portuguese low densities rural areas?

Lauren Wagner

Cultural Geography Group, Wageningen University

Cars from ‘outside’: Embodied mobile materialities of summertime diasporic visitors in Morocco

 Abstract: Some of the most resonant signs of the annual summer ‘return’ to Morocco of Moroccan migrants living in Europe and their diasporic families represent their cars. Images of an ‘overloaded vehicle’ travelling South is part of the permanent collection in the French national museum of immigration; such vehicles are infamous for creating traffic on the route through France and Spain, towards the ferry ports on the southern shore. The 700,000 or so of these cars crossing the Mediterranean increase the tally of vehicles in Morocco by nearly 50%. European plates become as common as Moroccan ones, representing the bodies inside them as ‘maghrarba min el-kharij’ or ‘Moroccans from outside’.

This paper explores interactions and occupations facilitated by cars for these next-generation ‘Moroccans from outside’, or diasporic visitors, as they seek and explore leisure spaces in Morocco on their summer holidays. From their European departure point to their Moroccan homes and leisure spaces, cars play an important role in their experience of Morocco as branded and visible commodities and as devices for mobility. Moving through Moroccan spaces, they become materially embodied through cars: at distances private vehicles can take them, speeds at which they can travel, and sticking points that congregate them voluntarily or stop them involuntarily, rendering them invisible and visible through vehicles as being ‘Moroccan from outside’.

Dennis Zuev

Research fellow, CIES-ISCTE, IUL

Associate Researcher  at Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany

Self-transformation through Work and Travel in USA: civilizing and decivilizing consequences of a summer abroad

Abstract: In this paper I wish to examine the mechanisms of personal transformation among Russian youth through the contact with America as an imaginary and real-life entity in the course of the program “Work and Travel”. I delineate several families of transformation: relational transformations, physical transfiguration and attitudinal transformations.  I argue that the transformations that occur with individuals during the contact with another culture or as an consequence of the trip are part of the (de)civilizing process of the individual. I use the conceptual framework of figurational sociology of N. Elias to analyze the empirical data collected over the period of 2008-2012. One of the practical questions behind the study is whether after being a guest in the other culture young people become positive towards others being guests in their home culture.

The trip to America by Russian youth involves several transformations that have been outlined as relational, corporeal and attitudinal. The effect of decreased regulation from the side of parents and close friends leads to personal emancipation (short-term).

Some of the effects of the trip have civilizing effect in the sense that they touch the structures of habitus and modes of knowledge. Through lived-in experience young people transit to the stage or reevaluation of their distance with parents and intimate partners. One of the important configurational changes is the reevaluation of the relationship with parents who initially serve the primary instance in regulating the trip (through financial and emotional support).

The physical changes in perception of one’s body and emotional management are reflected with ambiguous reaction: the body reaction to the contact with the fast-food culture resulting in weight gain increases refutation of American civilization, however the behavioural patterns of everyday communication can be adopted and attempted to be transplanted in home culture. One of the leading emotional changes concern the feeling of embarrassment for the behavior practiced or observed before the trip and after the trip: accepting money from parents became embarrassing for some respondents and seeing people behaving rude towards them was also considered embarrassing.

The findings also suggest that the trip to the Far Abroad does not make respondents feel more cosmopolitan or open to diversity in their home culture.

Hugo Marcelo Zunino (Director) &  Ieva Zebryte (Executive Coordinator)

International Centre for Studies on Patagonia, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco/Pucón, Chile

Pursuing the essence of existence: the daily quest of utopian migrants in Patagonia

Abstract: As previous research has shown, a marked flow of lifestyle migrants to the Chilean Patagonian region is taking place and transforming the socio-cultural matrix of towns and cities such as Pucón, Curarrehue and Puerto Varas (e.g., Zunino and Bauchmann, 2011; Zunino et al. 2012). Amongst those migrants in search of, what is loosely termed, ‘good life’ we also encounter individuals who hold a variety of worldviews informed by religious traditions such as Buddhism and by mystic understandings as those inspired by Native American shamanism. Who are these people? What do they profess? Where did they come from?  Why did they decide to migrate? What practices do they perform? How do they relate to the “other”? Do they have the potential to affect deeper structures of contemporary capitalist society? What does ‘good life’ mean for them? To answer these questions we will provide evidence from a set of in-depth interviews conducted in three locations where this segment of lifestyle migrants have settled and gained visibility through their daily practices. Indeed, they engage in eco-friendly lifestyles, embrace alternative education methods for their children, practice a wide range of spiritual rituals, and sustain a strong sense of community. Elsewhere (Zunino et al., in press), we have used the terminology ‘Utopian Lifestyle Migrants’ to refer to individuals who implement ‘good life’ projects emerging from a reflective and critical attitude towards life and society. In our case study — which embraces the religious and mystical inspirations of the migrants — we suggest using the term ‘Spiritual Migrants’ considering them to be a subset of Utopian Lifestyle Migrants. Though many hold that the social process described above has no relation to the ‘real world’ and is a form of spiritual escapism, we argue that ‘spiritual-utopian migration’ is a deeply political process challenging the basic foundation of the contemporary capitalist social order.