Call for participants in Organized Session Proposal

October 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) June 19-22, 2017 in Umeå, Sweden

Symposium Theme: Contested Spaces: Bridging Protection and Development in a Globalizing World


Session proposal: Lifestyle migration, amenity migration and natural resources

Lifestyle migrants have been defined as “relatively affluent individuals, moving part-time or full-time, permanently or temporarily, to places which signify for the migrants something loosely defined as quality of life” (Benson & O’Reilly 2009). Although this dynamic definition has been open for amendment in light of new empirical data, and many studies have contributed to the bourgeoning field of lifestyle migration, little has been done to challenge or alter the definition. Recently, attempts have been made to relate this definition to more general theories of migration, considering the ways in which the term lifestyle migration was developed as an analytical tool and an alternative way of thinking about migration (Benson & O’Reilly 2015). The aim of this session is to contribute to further studies of lifestyle in migration by adding geographical dimensions and relating lifestyle migration and amenity migration to presence, absence and various uses of natural resources. Participants are invited to present empirical or theoretical studies including (but not limited to) the following themes and topics:

 Human geographical approaches to migrants’ narratives of place, space and settings, e.g.

– rural local development in different locations, with multiple or few amenities, in peripheries and hot spots, including struggles and synergies between extractive and attractive industries

– meanings of distance between sending and receiving areas for post-migration lives

– temporalities of lifestyle migration, including turnover and limited length of stay due to migrants’ strategic and flexible switching over the life course (related to the migrants’ sense of place and place ownership, and practices of multiple dwelling and multi-local living)

– lifestyle migrants’ social networks and their transnational social capital

Empirical considerations of lifestyle and amenity issues in conjunction with more general theories of migration, e.g.

– implications of globalisation and climate change for lifestyle migration decisions

– stayers’ and leavers’ gendered perceptions of health, intergenerational solidarity and informal care

– virtual and physical VFR mobilities and the tourism – migration nexus

– lifestyle entrepreneurship, local and mixed embeddedness of small firms

– the importance of fibre net and social media for e-commerce

Please submit your name and a title for your presentation to

International Association for Society and Natural Resources | 936.294.4143 |

ISSRM 2017 webpage


Practising the Good Life – New edited volume on lifestyle migration

April 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

Following the Practising the Good Life/The Good Life in Practices conference in Lisbon in October 2013, the organisers (Kate Torkington, Inês David and João Sardinha) have edited a volume of 14 papers, many of which are authored by LM hub members. The book is published by Cambridge Scholars:

Picture of Practising the Good Life

List of Contents:

Introduction       – Inês David and Kate Torkington

Part 1: Seeking Idealized Lifestyles and Appropriating Place(s)

1.In Search of the Rural Idyll: Lifestyle Migrants across the European Union – Sofia Gaspar

2. Idyllic Seekers and Liminal Beings: Lifestyle Migrants in Central Portugal – João Sardinha

3. House Ownership Home or Away: Distributed Habitat as a Means of Negotiating Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Lifestyle Migrants’ Kinship – Alesya Krit

4. Pursuing the Essence of Existence: The Daily Quest of Utopian Migrants in Pucón, Northern Patagonia – Hugo Marcelo Zunino and Ieva Zebryte

 Part 2: Ageing and Lifestyle Mobilities

5. Understanding the Production and Performance Aspects of Lifestyle Mobilities– Ulrika Åkerlund

6. Being a Tourist–Being at Home: Reconstructing Tourist Experiences and Negotiating Home in Retirement Migrants’ Daily Lives – Stefan Kordel

7. The Myth of No Return? Why Retired British Migrants in Spain Return to the UK – Charles Betty and Kelly Hall

Part 3: Mediation of Lifestyle Mobilities

8. An Exploration of a Lifestyle Migration Industry – Inês David, Marco Eimermann and Ulrika Åkerlund

9. “The More Wine you Drink, the Better the French Sounds”: Representations of the Good Life within an Online

Community of Practice – Michelle Lawson

10. “Small Items for Sale; Moral High-horse I’m Trying to GetRid of”: Online Listserv Rhetoric in Expatria – Molly Clark-Barol, Casey McHugh and Roger Norum

Part 4: Language and Identity Practices in Lifestyle Migration

11. A Critical and Ethnographic Approach to Language Practices in Lifestyle Migrations – Aude Etrillard

12. “The Only Portuguese People I Know Speak English”: Lifestyle Migrants, Local Language Practices and Ambivalent Belongings  – Kate Torkington

13. Lifestyle Migrants in the Algarve (Portugal): A MultilingualChallenge? – Filipa Perdigão Ribeiro

14. Negotiating White Privilege: Whiteness and Lifestyle Migration in Ecuador – Matthew Hayes

Updates to the Lifestyle Migration Hub!

March 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

By Michaela Benson

If you want to find out more about Lifestyle Migration, the lifestyle migration hub is a great place to explore. It has a bibliography, a list of scholars working in this area, and this great new description of lifestyle migration.

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants? The view from lifestyle migration research

March 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

By Michaela Benson

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

— Mauna Remarque Koutonin 2015

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants? This is the question that heads up the article, first published on Silicon Africa as Don’t call them expats, they’re immigrants like everyone else and published yesterday in the Guardian. Undoubtedly, this is a powerful political point. It is also one that gives us, as lifestyle migration researchers, the chance once again to reflect on how we work with the privilege of the populations that we study.

For those unfamiliar with lifestyle migration, this is a concept that has been developed to capture and explain migrations oriented primarily towards lifestyle considerations; it focuses more on migration as consumption rather than migration as production, a rendering that underpins most migration research. Recent projects in this area have included the study of North Americans moving to Latin American destinations, British and Japanese people living in Malaysia, the HK Chinese moving to the Chinese mainland, complements to the established research that often focussed on intra-European migrations. Importantly, we refer to these populations, who are often relatively affluent and privileged, as migrants. This is no accident; it is political. Simply put, referring to these populations as migrants has been an act that intends to subvert their privilege.

Koutonin stressed the racialisation that the label of the ‘expatriate’ implicitly includes, used mostly to refer to white, Western populations. This is one of the structures of privilege that underpins the lifestyle migrant experience, and which is now being reflected on more systematically. Within academic research, a focus on whiteness has been a central feature of the analysis of such migrant populations in Asia; works by Caroline Knowles (Goldsmiths), Pauline Leonard (University of Southampton), Meike Fechter (University of Sussex) and Catrin Lundström (Linköping University) reflect clearly on the formation of white radicalised identities among these privileged populations. My own recent work on North American migration to Panama – a predominantly white population – reflects on how privilege and postcoloniality intersect, with the result that the migrant experience is structured along axes that include ‘race’, class and ethnicity.*

So why is this important? In a wider context where migrant populations are stigmatised, it is important to turn the lens back in on itself and think again about who counts as a migrant.

*Please email me ( if you want copies of these:

Benson, M. (Forthcoming) ‘Class, race, privilege: structuring the lifestyle migrant experience in Boquete, Panama’, Journal of Latin American Geography.

Benson, M. (2013) ‘Postcoloniality and privilege in new lifestyle flows: the case of North Americans in Panama’, Mobilities 8(3): 313-330.

A call for papers for a workshop on “US Businesses Abroad: Migration, Immigration, and Ownership”. The workshop will take place during the Annual Convention of the French Association for American Studies (AFEA), Université de la Rochelle, France, May 27-30, 2015.

December 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

We invite paper proposals for a workshop on “US Businesses Abroad: Migration, Immigration and Ownership”. The workshop will take place during the the Annual Convention of the French Association for American Studies (AFEA) to be held at the Université de la Rochelle (France), May 27-30, 2015.

If movement and place are central elements in collective representations of America, what can we make of these notions in the context of globalisation? Borders on the American continent and across the globe are constantly challenged by the choices of entrepreneurs, who relocate abroad in search of new opportunities and markets and often live out their choices as full “lifestyle changes” they can write about, to inform others about the successes and pitfalls of exporting one’s business and entrepreneurial culture into foreign environments. Flows of goods, people and ideas issued out of the United States have indeed often acted as the vehicles of all kinds of exceptionalist visions of American identity and power—the American Dream, or the American way of doing business, among others. The growing body of literature on US nationals abroad, now merging with the numerous studies on big and small US businesses operating beyond the official borders of national territory, has been documenting the processes of internationalization, the subtle workings of soft power, and the spread of US values across the globe, for better or for worse. It points to the existence of numerous communities of Americans living, working, and
investing abroad, creating and running small and medium-size businesses, buying and developing property, and often, thanks to new technologies, sharing their experiences and newly-acquired knowledge and know-how with fellow business men and women, as consultants, writers, or bloggers.

This workshop seeks to address the motivations, incentives and projections of American entrepreneurs abroad, the variety of their experiences as business creators and investors, the nature of the economic power they exert in the territories where they choose to settle, and the ways these “pioneers,” as they sometimes call themselves, reflect and build upon their stories as they communicate with potential partners, investors, and clients at home. We wish to discuss the contrast between the fluidity of movement of people and capital with the fixity of identity, values and practices, by focusing on the processes of adaptation, as well as the strategies of resistance, that these businessmen and women develop as they build their new companies, and often their lives, in alien land.

We invite papers in English or French that document the experiences of American entrepreneurs and bridge the gap between business history, organisation studies and cultural history, to address both the business knowledge and the social and cultural representations resulting from adaptation to foreign legal, fiscal, business and work environments. Does this experience of mobility challenge their sense of identity as *American* entrepreneurs? What are the limits of immersion in terms of visibility, accountability and business failure? How do their relationships with local stakeholders relate to exchanges with stakeholders at home? Can one talk about cultural imposition and forms of domination or are change, adaptability and reciprocity relevant key words in this context? Connectivity is one of the great claims of discourses on globalization, but how do migrant entrepreneurs make use of ICT, and can these help bridge the intercultural gap? Can today’s narratives of relocation and living abroad in books, editorials, and blogs, be compared to earlier versions of colonial or imperial living?

Proposals of 500 words accompanied by a short bio should be sent to Agnès Delahaye ( and Eve Bantman ( before December 31, 2014.

New article by LM Hub member

November 27, 2014 § 1 Comment

A new article based on lifestyle migration research is published in the journal Mobilities.

The full reference is: Marco Eimermann (2014): Flying Dutchmen? Return Reasoning Among Dutch Lifestyle Migrants in Rural Sweden, Mobilities, DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2014.980128


This article aims to examine return reasoning among Dutch lifestyle migrant families in Hällefors, rural Sweden. It addresses two questions: after migrating to Hällefors, what influences return reasoning among Dutch families? What does this imply for return migration and transnationalism within lifestyle migration research? The questions are addressed through analysis of Dutch migrant families’ narratives, collected in 2011 and subsequent years. The findings are related to issues of transnationalism and return migration within lifestyle migration research. As many of these intra-EU urban–rural migrants are seriously considering returning, this study draws attention to temporary lifestyle migration over longer periods.

Key words: Lifestyle migration, Return migration, Transnationalism, Narratives, Dutch families, Rural Sweden

New book: White Migrations by Catrin Lundström

May 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

New Book:

White migrations: Gender, Whiteness and Privilege in Transnational Migration (Palgrave Macmillan)

Catrin Lundström

The migrant is often thought of as a non-westerner in search for a better future in Europe or the United States. From a multi-sited ethnography with Swedish migrant women in the US, Singapore and Spain, this book explores the intersections of racial and class privilege and gender vulnerabilities in contemporary feminized migration from or within ‘the West’. Through an analysis of ‘white migration’, Catrin Lundström develops theoretical tools to understand the dynamics that shape the women’s lives as wealthy housewives, expatriate wives and lifestyle migrants. By shifting the gaze towards privileged migrants, Lundström illustrates how race shapes contemporary transnational migration and how white privilege is reproduced through family formation, expatriate geographies or ‘international communities’ in response to the shifting boundaries of whiteness in different national and regional settings. Looking at how whiteness migrates through a transnational lens the book fills a gap in literature on race and migration, presenting some of the complexities of the current global power relations and the contextual variations that surround these.




About the Author

Catrin Lundström is Associate Professor in Sociology and Future Research Leader at the Department of Studies of Social Change and Culture, Linköping University, Sweden. Her publications include the monograph Swedish Latinas: Race, gender and class in the geography of Swedishness (2007) and articles in Social Identities, Gender, Place and Culture, Journal of Intercultural Studies, The European Journal of Women’s Studies, Women’s Studies International Forum, Nordic Journal of Migration Research and NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Studies.


Table of Contents

1. White Migrations: a Theoretical Framework

2. A Multi-sited Ethnography of Whiteness

3. Doing Similarity in a White-Women’s Network

4. Hierarchies of Whiteness in the United States

5. Racial Divisions in Expatriate Lives in Singapore

6. Disintegrating Whiteness in Southern Spain

7. Gender and Whiteness in Motion

8. Migration Studies Revisited

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