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Lifestyle Migration Expectations, Aspirations and Experiences
Edited by Michaela Benson and Karen O’Reilly
Studies in Migration and Diaspora Series Editor: Anne J. Kershen, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
Studies in Migration and Diaspora is a series designed to showcase the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature of research in this important field. Volumes in the series cover local, national and global issues and engage with both historical and contemporary events. The books will appeal to scholars, students and all those engaged in the study of migration and diaspora. Amongst the topics covered are minority ethnic relations, transnational movements and the cultural, social and political implications of moving from ‘over there’, to ‘over here’. Also in the series: International Migration and Rural Areas Cross-National Comparative Perspectives Edited by Birgit Jentsch and Myriam Simard ISBN 978-0-7546-7484-9 Accession and Migration Changing Policy, Society, and Culture in an Enlarged Europe Edited by John Eade and Yordanka Valkanova ISBN 978-0-7546-7503-7 Migrant Women Transforming Citizenship Life-stories From Britain and Germany Umut Erel ISBN 978-0-7546-7494-8 Polish Migration to the UK in the ‘New’ European Union After 2004 Edited by Kathy Burrell ISBN 978-0-7546 7387-3 Gendering Migration Masculinity, Femininity and Ethnicity in Post-War Britain Edited by Louise Ryan and Wendy Webster ISBN 978-0-7546-7178-7
Expectations, Aspirations and Experiences
Edited by Michaela Benson Keele University, UK Karen O’Reilly Loughborough University, UK
© Michaela Benson and Karen O’Reilly 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Michaela Benson and Karen O’Reilly have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the editors of this work. Published by Ashgate Publishing Limited Ashgate Publishing Company Wey Court East Suite 420 Union Road 101 Cherry Street Farnham Burlington Surrey, GU9 7PT VT 05401-4405 England USA www.ashgate.com British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Lifestyle migration : expectations, aspirations and experiences. -- (Studies in migration and diaspora) 1. Emigration and immigration--Psychological aspects. 2. Expectation (Psychology) I. Series II. Benson, Michaela. III. O’Reilly, Karen. 304.8-dc22 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Benson, Michaela. Lifestyle migration : expectations, aspirations and experiences / by Michaela Benson and Karen O’Reilly. p. cm. -- (Studies in migration and diaspora) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7546-7567-9 (hardback) -- ISBN 978-0-7546-9840-1 (ebook) 1. Developed countries--Emigration and immigration--Social aspects. 2. Lifestyles-Developed countries. 3. Immigrants--Developed countries. I. O’Reilly, Karen. II. Title. JV6225.O74 2009 304.809173'2--dc22 2009022742 ISBN 9780754675679 (hbk) ISBN.V)
Contents Notes on Contributors Series Editor’s Preface
Lifestyle Migration:Escaping to the Good Life? Karen O’Reilly and Michaela Benson
When a Trip to Adulthood becomes a Lifestyle: Western Lifestyle Migrants in Varanasi, India Mari Korpela
Pursuing the Good Life: American Narratives of Travel and a Search for Refuge Brian A. Hoey
Romance Tourists, Foreign Wives or Retirement Migrants? Cross-cultural Marriage in Florence, Italy Catherine Trundle
Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retirement Migration Per Gustafson
6 Social Capital in the Sun: Bonding and Bridging Social Capital among British Retirees Maria Angeles Casado-Diaz
3 4 5
The Children of the Hunters: Self-realization Projects and Class Reproduction Karen O’Reilly
A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France Michaela Benson
9 Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey Ozlem Nudrali and Karen O’Reilly
Lifestyle Afterthoughts Jacqueline Waldren
Notes on Contributors Michaela Benson (Editor) has carried out ethnographic fieldwork with the British population of the Lot (southwest France), the topic of her forthcoming monograph The British in Rural France (Manchester University Press) and a series of articles. Her research interests include the intersections of lifestyle choices with migration, the negotiation of everyday life within destinations, and the historical and material conditions which give rise to lifestyle migration. She is currently employed as The Sociological Review Fellow. Maria Angeles Casado-Diaz is a sociologist working in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of the West of England. Her main research area has been international retirement migration, with a particular focus on northern European migration to Spain. She is co-editor of International Retirement Migration in Spain (2005) and has published numerous articles on this topic in peer-reviewed journals. She has also recently carried out a research project on the role of leisure in the creation of social capital among British retirees in Spain. Per Gustafson is a sociologist at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, Sweden. He has a general research interest in different forms of mobility (travel, migration) and territorial belonging. One of his research fields has been seasonal retirement migration between Sweden and Spain, which was a topic in his PhD dissertation and the basis of several articles appearing in peerreviewed journals. Brian A. Hoey is an anthropologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Marshall University. Hoey’s research encompasses a number of themes including personhood and place, migration, narrative identity and life-transition, community-building and negotiations between work, family and self in different social, historical and environmental contexts. He has a particular interest in the non-economic migration internally within the US. In the last few years, this has been the subject of numerous publications and presentations. He is currently in the process of preparing a volume entitled, Opting for Elsewhere: Relocation and the Remaking of Self in the Post-Industrial Middle Class. Mari Korpela is teaching anthropology at the Department of Social Research in the University of Tampere, Finland. Her research interests include transnational communities, counter cultures as well as gender and travel. She has recently
completed her PhD thesis based on ethnographic research among Westerners in Varanasi, India. She has also published articles in peer-reviewed journals. Ozlem Nudrali has an MSc in International Business and an MA in Sociology. Her research interests include global media industries, urban transformation and lifestyle migration. She has co-authored articles in Turkey and has several published translations. Her contribution to this collection is based on qualitative research carried out among the British community in Didim, a coastal location in Turkey. Karen O’Reilly (Editor) has research interests in contemporary migrations (and mobilities) and their implications for sociological ‘problems’ of nation, ethnicity, class, gender, age, community, home and belonging. Her ethnographic research in Spain spans over 15 years, and she is author of The British on the Costa del Sol and Ethnographic Methods (both with Routledge) and numerous journal articles in the fields of tourism and migration. Catherine Trundle is currently completing a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her research explores English-speaking migrant groups in Florence, Italy, with a particular focus on expatriate women’s involvement in charity. She has also carried out historical research on the Grand Tour to Italy and Florence. She is an anthropology lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Jacqueline Waldren is a long-term resident of Déia, Mallorca, the site of her ethnography Insiders and Outsiders: Paradise and Reality in Mallorca (1996), a study of the relationships between locals and foreigners which advanced tourism studies in anthropology. She currently splits her time between Déia and Oxford University, where she is a research associate in the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology and is a member of the International Gender Studies Centre.
Series Editor’s Preface Lifestyle Migration ‘The sun is nice but it doesn’t pay your bills; that’s the bottom line.’ These were the sentiments expressed by a British expatriate in May 2009 to a reporter from The Times working on a story about the increasing number of lifestyle migrants returning to Britain from Spain. For many, living the dream was becoming a living nightmare. A weakened pound, unemployment levels above 17 per cent and a stagnant property market was pushing middle-aged migrants home, whilst pensioners, unable to sell their homes on the Costa Del Sol and doubly hit by the reduction of interest rates in Britain and a strong euro, were finding their quality of life deteriorating by the week. The article exemplifies the way in which lifestyle migration, defined by one contributor to this volume as ‘the search for personal fulfillment by the affluent, geographically mobile’, though an individualist concept, is fashioned by the global rather than the personal. As the contributors to this volume illustrate, lifestyle migration can be defined in a variety of ways. Similarly the actors fall into several categories. There are those who make a permanent break, as did the ‘foreign’ wives in Florence or the internal migrants to rural mid-west America, the latter seeking to ‘find themselves’ and identify with place rather than just set up a home. Others have become permanent transnationals – living their lives in two places – as returning longstay backpackers in Varanasi and global wanderers; as sun-seeking cold weather retirees from Sweden and Britain in southern Spain or, as the disillusioned and despondent returnee quoted above, families seeking a safer and better quality of life away from the pressures and dangers in Britain. Though perceived as the territory of the affluent retiree, lifestyle migrants range from the very young, as evidenced by the account of the experiences of English schoolchildren in southern Spain, through to the widower pensioner in Didim, Turkey. Another (mis)perception is that, by making the decision to migrate and create a new, and better, life elsewhere, the migrant will want to become part of the local community. It is clear that this is not always the case and, as several of the contributors demonstrate, the migrants’ Britishness is reinforced as ‘British communities’ are constructed by those who, having left family and friends behind, seek to create networks and support systems to compensate. In this context residential strategies are played out as the actors determine issues of citizenship, tax liability, language and interaction with neighbours. Lifestyle migration is an The Times, 16 May 2009.
ongoing learning process which only begins at the point of arrival and, in reality, has no end. In putting together this volume, Michaela Benson and Karen O’Reilly have moved migration studies forward. As they so rightly suggest, recent studies have either focused on the economic migrant or failed to unite the range of concepts that contribute to lifestyle migration. This book addresses these lacunae and confronts one of the growing trends of the first decade of the twenty-first century. It is clear that the local and the global have to be combined in order to fully appreciate the dynamics of the phenomenon. In reading this book – and acknowledging the forces at play as the second decade of the twenty-first century stands in the wings – we can begin to comprehend the implications and varied manifestations of lifestyle migration. Anne J. Kershen Queen Mary, University of London
Lifestyle Migration: Escaping to the Good Life? Karen O’Reilly and Michaela Benson
At first glance, it is not immediately apparent what British migrants in rural France, Swedish seasonal visitors to the Spanish coasts, Westerners in Varanasi, ‘residential tourists’ in Spain and Turkey, and ‘corporate refugees’ in the mid-western United States could possibly have in common. They travel from and to very different places with apparently diverse motivations; they demonstrate distinct mobility patterns, some returning annually while others migrate permanently; finally, they migrate at various points in the life course and in different familial situations. However, the authors in this volume have spent long periods of time living amongst and collecting the in-depth narrative accounts offered by these relatively affluent twenty-first-century migrants. The accounts offered here reveal in intimate detail the meanings, dreams and aspirations that inspired each individual migration trajectory, the impetus supplied by personal tragedy or simply the dread of more of the same, and the inspiration provided by specific landscapes. What is revealed is the singularity of a fascinating phenomenon sharing several important themes in common, albeit with disparate threads, with the common pursuit of the ‘good life’ uniting these lifestyle migrants. The chapters in this collection explore the lives and lifestyle choices of a range of contemporary migrants, including both international migrants and domestic, downsizing, migrants, backpackers and retirement migrants, second-home owners and those in cross-cultural marriages, and reveal a common narrative through which respondents render their lives meaningful (Cortazzi 2001). Each and every one of these mobile individuals presents migration as a route to a better and more fulfilling way of life, especially in contrast to the one left behind. This way of life can be distinguished from that sought by other migrants, such as labour migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, in its emphasis on lifestyle choices specific to individuals of the developed world; migration for these migrants is often an antimodern, escapist, self-realization project, a search for the intangible ‘good life’ (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming). The volume offers a dynamic and holistic analysis of contemporary lifestyle migration, incorporating decision-making processes and experiences of migration (and continuing mobility and settlement). It demonstrates similarities in rhetoric, as well as the disparate ways migrants imagine a better way of life, the places where they hope to find it, the ways in which they try to realize it, and the realities
and experiences of everyday life following migration. Several of the chapters also contextualize migrations, exploring how lifestyle goals emerge from individual histories as well as from specific historical and material conditions. As a whole this volume thus illustrates some of the impacts and impetuses of global social transformations and the ways individuals and groups interpret and respond to changing circumstances (Castles 2008). Lifestyle Migration as a Conceptual Framework Despite the significant and increasing incidence of various privileged forms of migration (with an increasing number of locations involved as both sending communities and destinations), in general they remain poorly understood and collectively conceptualized (Amit 2007). Previous research has attempted to link the mobilities to wider phenomena using umbrella concepts such as retirement migration, leisure migration, (international) counterurbanization, secondhome ownership, amenity-seeking and seasonal migration (Buller and Hoggart 1994; King et al. 2000; Rodríguez et al. 2005; Casado-Díaz 2006). As a result of their restricted scope, to date none of these conceptualizations has succeeded in uniting the various elements of what we believe is a wider phenomenon or thereby addressing its full complexity. We are therefore using lifestyle migration as a conceptual framework, through which to examine both the similarities and differences within this growing trend as well as to begin to draw attention to its location in wider structural and historical forces and its local and global impacts. To offer a dynamic definition, which remains open to amendment in the light of new empirical data, lifestyle migration is the spatial mobility of relatively affluent individuals of all ages, moving either part-time or full-time to places that are meaningful because, for various reasons, they offer the potential of a better quality of life (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming). The different lifestyles sought by respondents in the chapters in this volume share some fundamental features, including alternative lifestyles (the ‘good’ or ‘simple’ life), escape from individual and community histories, or from changing circumstances, and the opportunity for self-realization. These are often reflected in the migrants’ everyday lives in the new destination. Lifestyles following migration thus involve the (re)negotiation of the work–life balance, the pursuit of a good quality of life and freedom from prior constraints. It is through these strategies of reorientation that the migrants seek the greater good in life; lifestyle migration is thus a search, a project, which continues long after the initial act of migration. Examining these strategies within the context of the wider lifestyle choices that individuals make in their daily lives both before and after migration enables migration to be seen as a part of the individual’s trajectory through life, avoiding a narrow focus on the decision to migrate (which is often reconstructed after the event), and concentrating instead on the entire migratory process as it develops across space and over time (Castles 2008).
Lifestyle Migration: Escaping to the Good Life?
However, these personalized stories of what appears to be a typically Baumanesque pursuit of the individual good life (Bauman 2008) must also be understood within their wider sociological, historical and material contexts. The search for a better way of life, which on the surface appears no different to that held by all migrants, is distinctive, reflecting the wider lifestyle choices that individuals in the late, liquid or post-modern world make on a daily basis. Indeed, although personalized quests for utopia have persisted for centuries, the recent increase in this phenomenon implies it emerges partly as a result of the reflexive assessment of opportunities (whether life will be better here or there) that Giddens (1991) identified as only recently made possible, rather than a direct outcome of relative economic privilege. There are a host of social transformations that have given rise to, or enabled, this type of migration and which explain its emergence as a distinct phenomenon over the last 50 or 60 years, These include, for example, globalization, individualization, increased mobility and ease of movement, flexibility in working lives, and increases in global relative wealth (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming; cf. Giddens 1991; Bauman 2000; Amit 2007; Urry 2007). Finally, the material and social construction of particular places offering an alternative way of living is crucial; this is what explains the exact destinations chosen, revealing the role of imagination, myth and landscape within the decision to migrate. Explaining ‘Lifestyle’ The stories here – from middle-class professionals in the United States escaping the drudgery of city living, to young Westerners seeking spiritual enlightenment (or good vibrations) in India; from second-home owners constantly on the move between two or more homes, to British people in rural France, who only leave once a year to visit friends and family – reflect the drive towards a better way of life, the meaningfulness and values ascribed to particular places, but also the potential for self-realization that is embedded within the notion of spatial mobility. The ‘good life’ takes many shapes and forms; narratives articulate ongoing quests to seek refuge from what they describe as the shallowness, individualism, risk and insecurity of contemporary (Western) lifestyles in the perceived authenticity of meaningful places. As the examples presented in this book (as well as many previous studies) demonstrate, lifestyle migration is about escape, escape from somewhere and something, while simultaneously an escape to self-fulfilment and a new life – a recreation, restoration or rediscovery of oneself, of personal potential or of one’s ‘true’ desires. The Quest for a Better Way of Life Lifestyle migrants’ quest for a better way of life is a relative endeavour, pitted against negative presentations of life before migration. Migration is therefore described as ‘getting out of the trap’, ‘making a fresh start’, or ‘a new beginning’
(e.g. Helset et al. 2005; Karisto 2005; Salvá Tomás 2005). Overwhelmingly, the migration stories told in these chapters (cf. Benson, Hoey, Nudrali and O’Reilly) include tales of escape, from monotony and routine, or from the individualism, materialism and consumerism of contemporary lifestyles. Sometimes the migrants are fleeing as a result of real experiences such as redundancy, divorce or crime; at other times it is unpredictability and risk in their working lives, uncertainty about economic futures or anxiety about crime that they describe as driving their mobility (Benson this volume; cf. O’Reilly 2007 and Benson forthcoming-a). They want to avoid the futures they both foresee and dread, involving predictable monotony, the burden of debt, lack of security, dead-end jobs or a lonely and isolated retirement (Nudrali and O’Reilly this volume). But in many cases these were only imagined futures, perceptions of a life not worth living had they not migrated (Casado Diaz this volume; Oliver 2008). What is relevant is the way they narrate their migration in terms of a trajectory away from negative lifestyles towards a fuller and more meaningful way of life. In Korpela’s chapter, on Westerners who sojourn in Varanasi for six months each year, this sense of escape is writ large. These lifestyle migrants wholly and actively reject life in ‘the big, bad West’, condemning voraciously the excessive consumption, stifling working practices, unpalatable futures and daily misery they have willingly fled. Alternatively, they warmly embrace what they perceive as the spiritual and community ethos, the slow pace of life and the closeness to nature provided through the ‘good vibes’ of life in India. The lives the migrants anticipate in the destination thus gain their value in opposition to negative depictions and predictions of life ‘back home’. Desiring refuge or retreat from those personalized and societal-level features of contemporary Western lives discussed above, they seek community, neighbours, family and togetherness with people who share similar ideals (O’Reilly this volume; Casado Diaz this volume; and cf. Oliver 2008; Benson forthcoming-a). As expressed in several chapters (Benson, Casado Diaz, Gustafson, Korpela), they desire a slow and more meaningful way of life that is characterized, at least in part, by leisure and relaxation. Despite the focus on leisure, some migrants work after migration but they portray this in terms of the improvement to their lives brought about by downshifting or increased autonomy. Many of the migrants express an entrepreneurial spirit, establishing their ‘dream’ businesses or demonstrating their flexibility within the labour market. In these cases, migrants explained that they had wanted to be their own boss; working for themselves was seen as a more fulfilling alternative, allowing them greater control over their working lives (Hoey this volume). Others work in low-paid jobs in order to realize the quality of life they aspired to. In some cases, lifestyle migrants even return to their countries of origin in order to earn enough money to finance their next trip to the migration destination (Korpela this volume). For many of the migrants, establishing a more favourable work–life balance was a key feature of the ‘good life’ of imagined future lives. But the key feature of the imagined new ‘way of life’ is that it should be more meaningful. A meaningful way of life is often described in terms of authenticity,
Lifestyle Migration: Escaping to the Good Life?
implying simplicity, purity and originality; it allows migrants to get ‘back to basics’, or to the things that are important in life (Hoey this volume; Korpela this volume; and cf. Benson forthcoming-a). This desire is reflected in migrants’ practices as well as their descriptions of the new life. For example, as described in chapters by Benson, Hoey and Korpela, they celebrate their consumption of locally produced and non-processed foods, of ‘simple’ or ‘pure’ religion, of an unalienated relationship with the products of their labour, and/or of a slow pace of life. Finally, many of the migrants in these chapters emphasize the desire to provide a better way of life for their children, who they wish to protect from the materialism, excessive consumption and insecurity of Western lifestyles (Benson this volume; O’Reilly this volume; and cf. Matthews et al. 2000). The Rhetoric of Self-realization Behind the expansive (post-hoc) justifications and rationalizations for migration discussed above lies a belief that spatial mobility in itself enables some form of self-realization. As Caroline Oliver (2007, 2008) has shown for retirement migrants living in Spain, migration can be perceived as an opportunity to recast one’s identity, to wipe clean past mistakes, misadventures, and even ties and commitments (cf. O’Reilly 2000; Amit 2007). Migration is thus aspirational, not only in the sense of what it holds in store for you, but also in terms of what you can become. Nudrali and O’Reilly’s chapter describes the migration of British working-class people living in Didim, Turkey, for whom migration operates as an individualized escape strategy, a turning point in their ‘DIY biographies’. Similarly, Trundle’s chapter explains how ‘Anglo’ women now living in Florence, married to Italian men, had initially travelled to Italy as ‘romance tourists’. Their tales of travel, to a Florence which enabled them to embrace their creative spirits, symbolized also the freedom inherent in the transition phase between childhood and adulthood (and see Korpela this volume). When placed within the context of lives before migration (or lives imagined without migration), narratives of selfrealization demonstrate the transformative potential of lifestyle migration (cf. O’Reilly 2000; Oliver 2008). However, as we reveal later in this introduction, it is not so easy in practice for the migrants to shed the skins that are their past lives. How the migrants understand the decision to migrate and its impact on their lives and identities is also revealing of a wider rhetoric of self-realization. They present themselves as pioneers, breaking new ground, a metaphor underpinned by the belief that they are somehow different, committed to their new lives while others may not be (Benson this volume). Many claim a pioneering spirit, rejoicing in their bravery and courage in making such a move (Korpela this volume); or portraying themselves as worthy risk-takers (Nudrali and O’Reilly this volume). Several migrants’ narratives also emphasize migration as an unmediated personal choice (Trundle this volume), through which they gain personal agency that was otherwise out of their reach (Oliver 2008). Finally, migration may emerge as a response to some kind of personal crisis, a watershed event in life (Hoey 2005, this
volume; Benson forthcoming-a). Ironically, their migration to escape the horrors of the contemporary world, many of which stem from excessive individualism, is facilitated and explained precisely by the migrants’ own individuality. Geographies of Meaning One theme that unites the chapters in this volume is the search for, or move to, specific geographical places which hold certain meanings for the migrants in terms of their potential for self-realization. Lifestyle migrants seek literal and figurative places of asylum or rebirth, characterized as therapeutic (Hoey 2007, this volume), as self-making and enabling (Korpela this volume; Nudrali and O’Reilly this volume; Trundle this volume), as hedonistic (Casado Diaz this volume; Korpela this volume) and as providing escape. These representations of the destinations chosen were drawn from both personal experiences of the places through prior tourism and travel, but were also derived from wider cultural narratives. They can be categorized under three main headings: the rural idyll, the coastal retreat and the cultural/spiritual attraction (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming). Both Benson’s and Hoey’s chapters highlight the role of imaginings of rurality in migration. For Hoey’s downshifting middle-class American workers, the Grand Traverse in rural Michigan has been imagined in the American psyche as a therapeutic and restorative landscape. It is thus through mobility that these lifestyle migrants, whose migration often coincides with a specific watershed event in their lives, restore their health and emotional well-being, but also their faith in the American dream of personal fulfilment. ‘The rural’ offers them the possibility of belonging, but also of self-transformation and personal renewal. Benson’s chapter highlights the persistence of an idealized and romantic rurality – the rural idyll – within the migrants’ renderings of the Lot, arguing that these representations are later reflected in their discussions of how to live following migration (cf. Benson forthcoming-a). By presenting themselves as adhering to the moral principles of rural living, principally community involvement and social integration, they distinguish themselves from other lifestyle migrants. Alternatively, the most widely studied lifestyle migrants have been heliotropic, retirement (and younger) migrants in the Mediterranean and the southern United States. The chapters by Casado Diaz, Gustafson, Nudrali and O’Reilly, and O’Reilly explore some of these mobilities to coastal destinations. Here the social construction of tourism spaces as places for leisure, pleasure and escape from routine is relevant for migrants’ expectations of their lifestyles post-migration and for their performance of mobility (O’Reilly 2009). Leisured lifestyles and visits to the tourist destination from friends and family facilitate a particular style of sociability in Casado Diaz’s chapter, while Gustafson’s chapter describes migrants who want to have the ‘best of two worlds’, seeking regular dwelling in the good life. In contrast, Trundle’s chapter tells a tale of the initial enchantment with Florence as a ‘renaissance wonderland’, a unique urban idyll with a long history of culture, which was also characterized, at least for her respondents visiting as young
Lifestyle Migration: Escaping to the Good Life?
women, by an undeniable spirit of play. Korpela’s chapter similarly describes how Varanasi, a large sprawling city in India, has come to represent ‘good vibrations’ and a more spiritually engaged life (see also D’Andrea 2007). These associations between places and the imaginings of life available there are not just drawn out of the air; they rely on long histories of prior engagements and reflect wider cultural imaginings about particular places. The destinations chosen have culturally specific meanings derived from long histories – for example, Florence as a destination on the Grand Tour (Trundle this volume), and India due to colonialism (Korpela this volume) – which imply the privilege underlying these particular manifestations of lifestyle migration (cf. Amit 2007). Investigating Everyday Lives The explanations given for migration (even where reconstructed after the event) are important not only in what they reveal about the motivations behind migration, but also because they provide insights into the lives the migrants envisage leading following migration. Several of the chapters in this collection take as their focus the everyday lives of the migrants within the destination and how they negotiate the resulting transformations in their lives. When understood within the context of migration explanations, a series of contradictions and ambivalences become clear. Negotiating New Lives Migration is undoubtedly a massive upheaval, bringing about many transformations in the migrants’ lives. Within the context of the individualized quest for a better way of life, these transformations are presented as personal challenges to be overcome through the migrants’ individual and group agency, as they learn how to live with their lifestyle choices. As the chapters in this collection demonstrate, the challenges of everyday life post-migration range from how to cope with lives led in two or more places (Gustafson this volume), to how to make new friends and, indeed, who to make friends with (Casado Diaz this volume); from negotiating cultural difference (Gustafson this volume; Trundle this volume), to how to achieve one’s dreams (Benson this volume). Gustafson (this volume) explores the ways in which Swedish seasonal migrants to Spain negotiate multiple dwellings through different mobility strategies and distinct relationships to place. However, Gustafson also explores how lifestyle migrants manage intercultural encounters, demonstrating their changing and ambivalent relationship with Spain through their residential strategies. Trundle’s chapter emphasizes that for her respondents in Florence, cultural difference, which was exciting and exhilarating when they experienced it as ‘romantic tourists’, became the source of their disenchantment with the Italian way of life following marriage to Italian men. They found that, as married migrants, they had become
part of the hierarchical structure of the Italian family, with the result that their personal autonomy, which enabled their migration in the first place, had been limited. Their lives following migration are thus characterized by compromise and frustration. The chapters also reveal the reality of migrants’ practice following migration, often in contradiction to their stated aspirations. As chapters by Casado Diaz, Korpela, and O’Reilly demonstrate, despite the geographies of meaning discussed above, many lifestyle migrants seek social amenities which are often similarly attended by their compatriots and other lifestyle migrants. Casado Diaz’s chapter, which focuses on members of the University of the Third Age (U3A), clearly demonstrates the extent to which establishing new social relations is part of everyday life following migration. Through their participation in certain clubs, voluntary organizations and attendance at particular events, migrants build up new social relations and embed themselves within the ‘local’ social structure, in the process accumulating social capital. But, as O’Reilly’s chapter demonstrates, the local that migrants refer to is often made up of other incomers, with the result that there is little contact with host communities (O’Reilly this volume). The Contradictions between Expectations and Realities The long-term qualitative research on which the chapters in this volume are based allows for insights into life following migration and the extent to which expectations were often idealized and romantic. As several of the chapters demonstrate, reality bites once they have settled into life in the destination. The reality of the ‘simple life’ is revealed to be somewhat out of keeping with their positions of relative privilege, their embodied knowledge, or habitus, and their prior conceptions of the good life. Emphasizing the aesthetic appeal of their surroundings or venerating the local way of life, the migrants thus often choose to neglect the mundane, which by definition is routine, commonplace and even dull. Indeed, this neglect has been reflected in much early literature on this type of migration, which focused exclusively on trying to explain the decision to migrate (Buller and Hoggart 1994; King et al. 2000). There is an irony in the fact that the ‘simple’ lifestyles which these migrants have the luxury to pursue are lives led out of necessity by their hosts, who would often happily give them up in favour of the more privileged lives of the migrants. The social distance between those living in the desirable locations and the migrants can be great and often becomes increasingly apparent following migration. As expectation meets reality, migrants come face to face with the limits of their knowledge of the local setting and way of life. While some had hoped for integration, they find it difficult to learn the local language (Huber and O’Reilly 2004; Oliver 2008; Benson forthcoming-b); the close-knit families that they had admired are experienced instead as controlling and even sexist (Trundle this volume); or they find themselves spurned by members of the local community (O’Reilly this volume). Despite their pretence that their lives before migration are
Lifestyle Migration: Escaping to the Good Life?
deemed irrelevant, it soon becomes clear that they long for elements of them, or benefit from a regular return (Gustafson this volume; Korpela this volume). Ambivalence and Lifestyle Migration Lifestyle migrants’ well-documented ambivalence, or liminality (cf. O’Reilly 2007; Oliver 2008; Benson forthcoming-a), is not only the result of being caught between two cultures, but reflects the tension between reality and imagination. Following migration, everyday life becomes a constant negotiation whereby the migrants seek to reconcile their experiences with their hopes and dreams. Some do not manage, despite protestations to the contrary, to release themselves from the perceived shackles of life before migration; structural difference and inequalities are reproduced rather than undermined (Oliver and O’Reilly forthcoming). O’Reilly’s chapter about the children of lifestyle migrants living on the Costa del Sol in Spain who attend an international school specifically examines the extent to which lifestyle migration can be considered the individualized quest they present it to be; it is apparent that class remains salient as the children distinguish themselves from the wider Spanish population. Although they claim to desire the benefits of community, this emerges as a largely imagined community, at odds with their experiences of the ‘real’ Spanish community. In Benson’s chapter, the self-presentations of British living in rural France are influenced by a middle-class habitus despite their allegations that they had left Britain to escape ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. They continually engage in class-based processes of distinction when comparing their lives in the Lot with the lives of their friends and families back in Britain, lifestyle migrants in other destinations, and even their compatriots living locally. While lifestyle migrants may wish to leave their old lives behind, they rely on aspects of these to facilitate their migration and their post-migration lifestyles. Korpela’s chapter demonstrates the ambivalent position of Westerners in Varanasi, who return to their home countries in order to earn the money they need to support their lives in India, thus both relying on and reproducing the existing social structure and their Western privilege. Indeed, the lives they lead in the destination are not comparable to those of many of their Indian neighbours; the migrants do not work, engaging in musical and spiritual pursuits and might even employ people to work for them in their homes, or regularly pay for massages. It is thus a result of their Western privilege (and money) that they are able to experience a more fulfilling way of life in Varanasi. Past lives are not left behind in migration, despite claims to the contrary; lifestyle migrants are and continue to be structurally located within a global elite. But the migrants are not the only people with expectations. In some cases, particularly in Spain but increasingly in other destinations including Panama, Egypt, Costa Rica and Malaysia, local agencies are specifically promoting their destination for ‘residential tourism’, the extension of tourism through foreign investment in the second-home market. Despite the abundance of literature
critiquing the early developments in Spain, very little attention is paid to the negative consequences which can be similar to the environmental, social and cultural degradation wrought by tourism (Mantécon 2008). Nudrali and O’Reilly’s chapter uniquely focuses not only on what lifestyle migration means for the workingclass Britons moving to Didim, but also examines the ambivalent reception of the extant Turkish population. The Turkish are positive about the financial stimulus brought by investment and in-migration but express a number of concerns, which often mirror their wider ambivalence about their position within the European Union. Some expressed unease about the power and influence incomers might eventually obtain, leaving themselves ‘second-class citizens’ in their own country. Other anxieties concern the degradation that could be wrought by the cultural and religious differences between the two populations; they deprecate the culture of their new British neighbours, on the grounds that they have no community or family values and suggest the incomers have little respect for Turkish cultural values. However, few chapters in this volume address such issues and it is clear there is a call for a greater degree of research into the wider consequences and impacts of lifestyle migration. These migrations often perpetuate privilege yet have their own social needs, related to factors such as ageing in place and the migration of children. The Ongoing Quest As the chapters in this collection demonstrate, migration is not a one-off move to a permanent destination, nor is it the final part of a journey. The search for the ‘good life’ remains an impulse in their daily lives. As Benson argues in her chapter, the British in rural France, through their continual efforts to distinguish their lives from those of others, (re)define their identities while confirming their progress en route to a better way of life. Trundle’s chapter similarly demonstrates both the persistence and the changing nature of the quest for a better way of life within the life trajectories of ‘Anglo’ women living in Florence. In her chapter, O’Reilly argues that, engaged in this quest, lifestyle migrants are, to a degree, reminiscent of Bauman’s liquid modern ‘hunters’, continually searching for a new hunting ground. In this rendering, the ongoing quest parallels Bauman’s (2008) argument that as ‘artists of life’, we are all continually engaged in the pursuit of (an albeit vaguely defined) happiness. We might be seeking to live in utopia, but this is always just out of reach. The ongoing quest for a better way of life explains the ambivalence that many of the migrants feel, while at the same time indicating that the initial destination may not be the final destination. While Korpela’s Westerners admit to refining their image of the ideal place to live, other migrants are not so explicit about future migration. Instead, they stress that they are keeping their options for further migration open, emphasizing that if the place they had originally chosen becomes spoiled by extensive in-migration of other lifestyle migrants, they could move on to another place which offers the promise of the elusive good life. In this respect,
Lifestyle Migration: Escaping to the Good Life?
lifestyle migration can mirror the tourist’s search for the authentic, which, in the process, destroys the authenticity it seeks (MacCannell 1976; Tremblay and O’Reilly 2004). However, there is the additional sense that the good life is there, in their chosen destination, to be had if only they could learn how to get hold of it. Their stories tell tales of constant change and transformation on the level of the individual as they strive to negotiate their way through life. Daily life following migration is presented as a journey, as the migrants recall their travels through life (Hoey this volume). Their success en route to a better way of life reinforces the sense that they are bettering themselves; as individuals in the contemporary world, they have taken their lives into their own hands and are engaged in the process of improvement. Overcoming the obstacles in their way, their difficulties at adapting to life in the destination are presented positively. They learn how to cope with insecurity, turning it into a positive attribute, accepting their lack of pension (Korpela this volume), or their uncertain futures (O’Reilly this volume). Indeed, they express a sense of empowerment from taking individual responsibility for their actions and lifestyles. Investigating the everyday lives of the migrants following migration, the chapters in this collection demonstrate the extent to which dreams of self-realization and improvement have been realized. They also demonstrate the ongoing nature of the quest for a better way of life, presenting migration as one lifestyle choice within a wider lifestyle trajectory (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming). Nevertheless, the chapters also demonstrate that lifestyle migration is experienced and rendered differently. Lifestyle migration is a complex and nuanced phenomenon, varying from one migrant to another, from one location to the next. It holds at its core social transformation and wider processes; it is at once an individualized pursuit and structurally reliant; and it is a response to practical, moral and emotional imperatives. The chapters in this contribution shed some light on its diverse and complex nature, but even as we write, more locations are becoming involved, privileged actors are placing their own unique signature on migration and everyday lives within destinations are changing. References Amit, V. (2007) ‘Structures and Dispositions of Travel and Movement’, in Amit (ed.) Going First Class? New Approaches to Privileged Travel and Movement. (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Bauman, Z. (2008) The Art of Life. (Cambridge: Polity Press). Bauman, Z. (2000) Liquid Modernity. (Cambridge: Polity Press). Benson, M. (forthcoming-a) The British in Rural France: Lifestyle Choice, Migration, and the Quest for a Better Way of Life. (Manchester: Manchester University Press).
Benson, M. (forthcoming-b) ‘The Context and Trajectory of Lifestyle Migration: the Case of the British Residents of Southwest France’, European Societies. Benson, M. and O’Reilly, K. (forthcoming) ‘Migration and the Search for a Better Way of Life: A Critical Exploration of Lifestyle Migration’, The Sociological Review. Buller, H., and Hoggart, K. (1994) International Counterurbanization. (Aldershot: Ashgate). Casado-Díaz, M. (2006) ‘Retiring to Spain: An Analysis of Difference among North European Nationals’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32(8): 1321–1339. Castles, S. (2008) ‘Understanding Global Migration: A Social Transformation Perspective’, unpublished conference paper. (Oxford: Conference on Theories of Migration and Social Change). Cortazzi, M. (2001) ‘Narrative Analysis in Ethnography’ in Atkinson, P., Coffey, A., Delamont, S., Lofland, J. and Lofland, L. (eds) (2001) Handbook of Ethnography. (London: Sage). D’Andrea, A. (2007) Global Nomads: Techno and New Age as Transnational Countercultures in Ibiza and Goa. (London: Routledge). Giddens, A. (1991) Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. (Cambridge: Polity Press). Helset, A., Lauvli, M. and Sandlie, H. (2005) ‘Jubilados Noruegos en España’, in Rodríguez, V., Casado Díaz, M. and Huber, A. (eds) La Migración de Europeos Retirados en España. (Madrid: CSIC). Hoey, B. (2007) ‘Therapeutic Uses of Place in the Intentional Space of Purposive Community’, in Williams, A. (ed.) Therapeutic Landscapes: Advances and Applications. (Aldershot: Ashgate). Hoey, B. (2005) ‘From Pi to Pie: Moral Narratives of Noneconomic Migration and Starting Over in the Postindustrial Midwest’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 34(5): 586–624. Huber, A. and O’Reilly, K. (2004) ‘The Construction of Heimat under Conditions of Individualised Modernity: Swiss and British Elderly Migrants in Spain’, Ageing and society 24: 327–351. Karisto, A. (2005) ‘Residentes Finlandeses de Invierno en España’, in Rodríguez, V., Casado Díaz, M. and Huber, A. (eds) La Migración de Europeos Retirados en España. (Madrid: CSIC). King, R., Warnes, A. and Williams, A. (2000) Sunset Lives: British Retirement to Southern Europe. (Oxford: Berg). MacCannell, D. (1976) The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. (London: Macmillan). Mantecón, A. (2008) The Experience of Tourism: A Sociological Study of the Process of Residential Tourism. (Barcelona: Icaria). Matthews, H., Taylor, M., Sherwood, K., Tucker, F. and Limb, M. (2000) ‘Growing up in the Countryside: Children and the Rural Idyll’, Journal of Rural Studies 16(2): 141–153.
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Obrador P., Travlou, P. and Crang, M. (eds) (2009) Cultures of Mass Tourism: Doing the Mediterranean in the Age of Banal Mobilities. (Aldershot: Ashgate). Oliver, C. (2007) ‘Imagined Communitas: Older Migrants and Aspirational Mobility’, in Amit (ed.) Going First Class? New Approaches to Privileged Travel and Movement. (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Oliver, C. and O’Reilly, K. (forthcoming) ‘A Bourdieusian Analysis of Class and Migration: Habitus and the Individualising Process’, Sociology. O’Reilly, K. (2009) Hosts and Guests, Guests and Hosts: British residential tourism in the Costa del Sol, in Obrador P., Travlou, P. and Crang, M. (eds) Cultures of Mass Tourism: Doing the Mediterranean in the Age of Banal Mobilities. (Aldershot: Ashgate). O’Reilly, K. (2007) ‘Intra-European Migration and the Mobility-Enclosure Dialectic’, Sociology 41: 2, 277–293. O’Reilly, K. (2000) The British on the Costa del Sol. (London: Routledge). Oliver, C. (2008) Retirement Migration: Paradoxes of Ageing (London: Routledge). Rodríguez, V., Casado Díaz, M. and Huber, A. (eds) (2005) La Migración de Europeos Retirados en España. (Madrid: CSIC). Salvá Tomás, P. (2005) ‘La Inmigracion do Europeos Retirados en las Islas Baleares’ in Rodríguez, V., Casado Díaz, M. and Huber, A. (eds) La Migración de Europeos Retirados en España. (Madrid: CSIC). Tremblay, R. and O’Reilly, K. (2004) ‘La mise en tourisme des communautés transnationales : le cas des Britanniques en Espagne et des Québécois en Floride’, Tourism Review 59(3): 20–33. Urry, J. (2007) Mobilities. (Cambridge: Polity).
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When a Trip to Adulthood becomes a Lifestyle: Western Lifestyle Migrants in Varanasi, India Mari Korpela In the West life is dull compared to here where you get much more vibration. Everything is more powerful and flavourful in India. (Nicolas, 27)
India has been a popular travel destination since the colonial era (Ghose 1998a, 1998b), and in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it became a popular backpacking destination among hippies (see e.g. Alderson 1971; Wiles 1972; Odzer 1995; Tomory 1996). Today thousands of backpackers tour India every year (Hutnyk 1996; Wilson 1997; Hottola 1999). After their trip, most of these backpackers return to their home countries; some, however, like India so much that they end up returning there repeatedly. Rather than travelling around, they spend long periods of time in certain locations in India, returning to their countries of origin – or other Western countries – only in order to earn money. In this chapter, I focus on a group of Westerners who repeatedly return to live for extended periods in the city of Varanasi in northern India, where they claim to have found ‘more vibrations’, as Nicolas put it; that is, a better life in comparison to life in their societies of origin. For them, the backpacking experience has led to lifestyle migration. I first briefly discuss the phenomenon with regard to literature on backpacking and lifestyle migration, and then describe the kind of life that these Westerners criticize and what constitutes the good life that they claim to have found in Varanasi. I argue that they are able to maintain their lifestyle because they are privileged – and above all Western – actors on the global arena (cf. Amit After the interview quotations, I use a pseudonym and the correct age of the interviewee. Most of my interviewees are not native English speakers but I have not corrected their grammatical mistakes in this text because I want to let them speak in their own style. Varanasi is also known as Banaras or Kashi. I refer to them as Westerners due to the fact that in Varanasi, differences between their various nationalities seem irrelevant in opposition to the Indian ‘other’. The category of Westerners includes also a few Japanese and South Korean people. These are individuals who spend their time with the ‘Westerners’ rather than their fellow Asian citizens as is usually the case with these two nationalities in Varanasi.
2007) but I also suggest that becoming a lifestyle migrant at a young age involves a risk, as it becomes difficult to return to the West after several years’ absence. I eventually define the Westerners in Varanasi as mobile lifestyle migrants for whom an ‘alternative’ lifestyle and bohemian – artistic and spiritual – aspirations are significant. Overall, I argue here that in spite of criticizing ‘the West’, the practices and values of the Westerners in Varanasi are in fact intimately tied to it (see also O’Reilly and Benson this volume). Backpackers and Lifestyle Migrants Scholars often explain backpacking as a self-imposed rite of passage (LokerMurphy and Pearce 1995, 827; Noy 2004, 81, 84). In many Western countries a backpacking trip to an exotic destination has become a sort of initiation rite to adulthood for middle-class youth. Such a trip is usually undertaken after secondary education or before graduating from further (academic or professional) studies; or at least before committing to a career or setting up a family. The trip is often understood in terms of personal growth (see Elsrud 2001, 605) but young backpackers may also be escaping or postponing decisions regarding adult life (Loker-Murphy and Pearce 1995, 825); that is, they are extending the carefree phase of youth (Caprioglio O’Reilly 2006, 1006). All in all, whether backpacking is understood as an escape, suspension or growth, it nevertheless is some sort of a temporary in-between liminal stage. In this chapter, I focus on people for whom a backpacking experience that was supposed to be a temporary phase results in a lifestyle that means spending a significant part of each year in Varanasi. By definition, lifestyle migration refers to people who migrate from/in the developed world because they believe there is a more fulfilling way of life available to them elsewhere (Benson and O’Reilly, forthcoming; O’Reilly and Benson this volume). The Westerners in Varanasi justify their present lifestyle in very similar terms but their case is peculiar since they have originally left their countries of origin as backpackers; that is, they have not necessarily made a choice to become lifestyle migrants but have eventually ended up in such a situation. Moreover, they do not consider Varanasi their ultimate destination although they are currently sojourning there. Yet, I prefer to call them lifestyle migrants rather than, for example, lifestyle tourists because their sojourns and practices abroad are characterized by more permanency than their brief returns to their countries of origin where they go only in order to earn money for their next trip to India (Korpela 2009). They could be defined as seasonal lifestyle migrants (Gustafson 2002, 907; O’Reilly 2003, 303–5) but they are different from many other seasonal lifestyle migrants because instead of commuting between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ home, many of them frequently move between various places both in ‘the West’ and in India. A significant proportion of lifestyle migrants are retirees (see e.g. Gustafson 2002; Huber and O’Reilly 2004), yet, they are not the only ones. The Westerners
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in Varanasi are an example of relatively young lifestyle migrants. Very often, lifestyle migrants are characterized as having left their careers; they may be having a voluntary break or they have been made redundant (see Williams and Hall 2000, 8; Benson 2007, 13–14). The Westerners in Varanasi are different in this respect because most of them have left so young that they do not have careers or even professional training. Interestingly, although migrants nowadays predominantly move from economically less developed to more developed countries, throughout modern history most international migrants have moved in the opposite direction, ‘from colonizing countries to subjected areas of the world’ (Faist 2000, 25). Many studies of lifestyle migration have focused on the phenomenon within Europe and very often on British nationals (see for example O’Reilly 2000; 2007; Benson 2007; Forsdick 2007; Geoffroy 2007; Puzzo 2007; Smallwood 2007); but lifestyle migrants also travel to and from other parts of the world (see Armbruster 2007 on Namibia; Wood 2007 on Thailand; Bousta Saigh 2007 on Morocco). Lifestyle migration to Asia or Africa can be considered to be an interesting continuation of colonial practices (Korpela 2010), and India, as an example, is a popular travel destination (and consequently also a popular lifestyle migration destination) partly because its colonial past has resulted in English being widely spoken and in an extensive railway network. The colonial system was based on Western privilege and, in this chapter, I show that contemporary lifestyle migration to India benefits from a similar privilege. Who, Where and When? Varanasi is a holy city of Hinduism situated on the banks of the holy river Ganges, with a current population of over a million. There are about 200–300 Westerners there every winter coming from Europe, Israel, Canada and Australia. Most are 20–35 years old but there are also many 40–50-year-olds, with men forming the majority. Typically, the Westerners come from middle-class families. Most of them have completed secondary school, and although many women have also started university studies (but have not completed their degrees), most men did not continue their studies beyond secondary education. Usually, the Westerners work for a few months in simple jobs or selling Indian textiles and handicrafts in their countries of origin (or some other Western countries) and then spend the rest of the year in India, living on the money they have earned in those temporary jobs. The popular season for the Westerners in Varanasi starts in October and ends in May. In Varanasi, they live in the same houses year after year and have all necessary household utensils there. In Varanasi, they all live in one particular area within walking distance from each other, renting rooms or It is impossible to know the exact number of Westerners in Varanasi as most of them do not register there officially.
apartments in local houses. They typically live alone or with their partner if they have one, but they never seem to share apartments with their friends, although there may be several Westerners living on the same compound. Most of them play Indian instruments, some do yoga, meditation or charity work. Yet, a lot of time is spent socializing with friends. When they are back in the West, they usually live with their friends or with their relatives, thus avoiding paying rent. While in the West, they do not have much time for the activities that they are engaged with in India, that is, music, yoga or meditation, since they are usually working hard in order to earn money for returning to India as soon as possible. This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Varanasi in 2002–2003 for 13 months. The fieldwork took place in two parts: I returned to Finland during the summer reflecting the migratory flows of my respondents, many of whom also left Varanasi to return to the West at this time. While in Varanasi, I participated in the everyday activities of the Westerners and kept a detailed field diary of my participant observation. The very intense social life of the Westerners includes parties and concerts as well as frequent visits, cooking, eating and hanging out together. In addition to participant observation, I interviewed 44 Westerners who were staying in Varanasi for at least two months (most for longer) and who had been there for long periods before as well. When I use the term ‘Westerners in Varanasi’ instead of ‘interviewees’, I am drawing on discourses that take place outside of as well as within the interview context. Big Bad West The Westerners in Varanasi often say they feel unsatisfied with their lives in their countries of origin and explain their stay in India as a choice to search for a better and more interesting life (cf. Benson and O’Reilly, forthcoming; O’Reilly and Benson this volume). When I asked my interviewees why they have left their counties of origin, they described them in very negative terms. In this context, ‘the West’ often becomes understood as universal and homogenized; that is, my interviewees do not talk merely about their specific countries of origin but about the ‘West’ in general. They understand this ‘Western-ness’ to mean, above all, having certain kinds of education and knowledge of certain popular culture in addition to sharing certain values – above all, individuality. In many respects, this ‘West’ is understood as an opposite to India. In the following, I elaborate on what constitutes ‘the West’ that they criticize. I don’t like this mood of all people becoming old the same, same trouble, same way: buying TV, buying house, making very big [loan] and after you work 10, 12, 20 years for paying this […] They chain you for all your life and after that June, July and August are extremely hot and wet in Varanasi and, in consequence, most Westerners prefer to leave the city for summers.
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they start to say ‘ok, you have the house but you need also one big DVD and one very beautiful screen’ […] ‘beautiful car’ and you pay a lot of money, another loan. (Anton, 32)
All of my interviewees mentioned consumerism as a factor that they do not like about the West. They are not anti-materialistic in the sense that they would completely refuse modern commodities but they emphasize being content with fewer material goods than ‘average Westerners’. Also the aspect of freedom is significant in their anti-materialism; loans tie one to a job and thus also to a sedentary life. In fact, all my interviewees share a critical attitude towards wage work. Having a permanent job is also seen in very negative terms. As Tom, aged 36, explained, ‘You have to go to work at nine o’clock in the morning and work five days a week, few weeks holiday. To me it just felt like a bad choice in life to work all the time.’ The main argument against wage work amongst the Westerners in Varanasi is that it ties them to unwanted routines. Their negative views towards wage work may partly be a result of the fact that without much education, they are usually working in rather menial jobs. However, their own explanation is that working prevents them from enjoying life. When criticizing the West, the Westerners in Varanasi often refer to the rat race: everything is expensive, thus one has to work hard in order to get money, and as a result, one does not have time to enjoy life, and eventually one becomes unhappy. Such an understanding reveals a rather simplistic view of the ‘West’. Under closer examination, it emerges that the ‘West’ that the Westerners in Varanasi criticize actually refers to certain kinds of middleclass lifestyles and values. In fact, such a lifestyle exists not only in the West but among middle classes everywhere, including in India. The Westerners in Varanasi, however, are not in contact with the middle- or upper-class Indians and, therefore, do not confront their lifestyles. They are, however, very familiar with the middleclass lifestyles in Western countries, since most of them come from middle-class families themselves (see also Benson this volume; Hoey this volume). Lifestyle migrants typically explain their choice in terms of escaping the rat race or low quality of life in their countries of origin (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming; O’Reilly and Benson this volume). The case of the Westerners in Varanasi is, however, very particular since most of them have left whilst young and thus have not themselves experienced the life that they are criticizing; they want to ‘run before it is too late’. In other words, unlike most other lifestyle migrants who want to liberate themselves from the past (see O’Reilly 2000, 81; 112), the Westerners in Varanasi want to liberate themselves from the future that they see waiting for them. Sara, aged 32, expressed this escape from the future concisely, as she reflected on her visits to the supermarket back in the West, ‘I was going shopping in the supermarket and I was looking at some 50-year-old people and they all seem to have something to regret.’ The Westerners in Varanasi do not want to regret their lives, therefore they have changed the situation drastically, by leaving – or at least this is how they articulate their present situation.
When they set off for their backpacking trip, they had no intention of staying abroad permanently. But although they may not initially have made a clear choice to leave the West, they have made the choice to gain distance from it and not to return permanently. When return trips to India continue for years, it is no longer a temporary phase but becomes justified as a lifestyle choice (see also Gustafson this volume) and they consider themselves very lucky to have left behind the boring and meaningless life in their countries of origin. A lot [of people] are not happy. They listen to me, maybe I go to India for three months, they say ‘oh, I wish to go, ah, you are lucky’ and blaah blaah but ‘hallo Bombay, calo Bombay’ I say, ‘no come on’. They prefer one newspaper, one big sofa, put the legs up, watching TV until sleeping. Sex one time a week after the news of the night, Friday … Because the day after you do not work, so you can sleep a little bit more and you can enjoy half an hour more … yeah, it is like this for a lot of people. (Anton, 32) I get this overwhelming feeling in my country of origin that people are […] doing a prison sentence. They are in, they got this amount of time they gotta do. They are just trying to get through this the best they can […] It’s all about making the time go by. (Jamie, 26)
The Westerners in Varanasi present themselves as active agents. Many of my interviewees define themselves as courageous and independent in comparison with people who have stayed in their countries of origin. When talking about lifestyle choices, they hold a very individualistic view. In their understanding, the possibility and responsibility to have an interesting and meaningful life lies with each individual, and they claim everyone can move abroad if they so wish. Individuality is typically a central value for lifestyle migrants who often emphasize that through their own actions they have been able to transform their lives (Benson 2007, 100). In fact, many lifestyle migrants even hold a view that instead of it being their right, it is actually their duty to search for the good life (Huber and O’Reilly 2004, 328). Lifestyle migrants typically share a negative image of their countries of origin (see O’Reilly 2000, 98–9), and I have here shown that the same applies to the Westerners in Varanasi. Their understanding of ‘the West’ is also rather simplistic. To some degree their views are even ‘imagined’ since most of them have never personally experienced the life they are criticizing and escaping from. In the following I show that their views on India are also simplified and in fact much romanticized.
Calo (Hindi): Let’s go.
When a Trip to Adulthood becomes a Lifestyle
The Good Life There is a fisherman somewhere on the beach by the south sea. An American tourist comes to him and asks: ‘What are you doing?’ The fisherman replies: ‘I’m relaxing. I catch fish every day for an hour, and then I sell it.’ The American gets excited to give him advice: ‘If you fished for eight hours a day, you could buy a big boat and you could make more money. Then, you would be safe and you could relax.’ The fisherman looks at him and replies: ‘That’s what I do now.’ (Raymond, 48)
The story illustrates well the ethos of Westerners living in Varanasi; their ideal is a relaxed life. Having plenty of time is a crucial aspect in the good life that the Westerners claim to have found in Varanasi. I’ve just got this beautiful freedom, I can talk to people, I’ve got time … If I meet somebody at the tea stall, I can sit for an hour if I like, and just have a chat with them or whatever […] I just love that freedom, I just go ‘what shall I do today?’ It’s nice. (Paul, 47)
The pace of life among the Westerners in Varanasi is slow. Visits are often unplanned and last for hours, which indicates that the Westerners’ everyday life is to a great extent based on the idea that everyone has plenty of time. Their life is also very impulsive; one is supposed to be able to participate in common activities on short notice. The Westerners in Varanasi also emphasize the importance of living in the present. You asked me just before how India has changed me … I live mostly in the present now. Before I was living in the past or the future but never in present because we are not used to this in Europe. After, after, after, and you don’t live. It’s happening to you, you don’t see because you feel I have to do this for this and this, even when you start working, you put money back, just for, when you get old, it’s crazy. You never live the time you have here. (Sara, 32)
Being content with the present results in very relaxed attitudes towards the future. Most of my interviewees claim not to have clear future plans. In their understanding, such plans are futile as one cannot control what will happen. However, although the Westerners in Varanasi do not have clear future plans, they are sure of one thing: they are not going to stay in Varanasi forever, although they currently enjoy being there. Instead of planning to stay permanently in Varanasi, most Westerners there believe that their future will take them to many geographical locations in their search for the ideal place to live. For example, many dream of a house in the Versions of the same story are told in various parts of the world.
countryside but they are not quite sure where that would be. The ethos among the Westerners in Varanasi is that one has to find a nice place to settle, it is not the place where one was born. Moving to Australia seems to be a dream for many Europeans and Israelis, whereas Canadians, Japanese and Australians often dream about moving to Europe; that is, the ideal location is always somewhere far away from one’s country of origin. Within Europe, Ibiza and Italy are the most popular destinations. One could actually define the Westerners in Varanasi to be temporary lifestyle migrants in India who are hoping to become permanent lifestyle migrants somewhere else in the future. A comfortable climate is an important criterion for a ‘dream destination’ but these places are also believed to be tolerant towards people with alternative (here intended to mean countercultural) lifestyles. Moreover, the company of likeminded people is very significant when considering an ideal location to settle down: many Westerners in Varanasi dream of some sort of communal living with people who share similar ideals and values. The emphasis on alternative lifestyles makes the Westerners in Varanasi a particular kind of lifestyle migrant, that is, bohemian (Benson and O’Reilly, forthcoming). An interesting aspect of their dream destinations is that, although they are presently enjoying their lives in India, they eventually want to return to the ‘West’, albeit not to their country of origin. Therefore, although they articulate their choices as anti-Western, they have by no means rejected ‘the West’ completely. Nevertheless, currently, the Westerners attach many of their ideals to Varanasi. Lifestyle migrants typically embrace an idea of a rural idyll (see Benson 2007, 102); similarly, the Westerners in Varanasi appreciate rural life, yet, they are presently staying in a city. Although they cannot define a city of over a million inhabitants as rural, nevertheless they attach to it a close connection with nature. What I like the most here [in Varanasi] is maybe that you are not disconnected from nature. In a Western city, you never know how full the moon is, and it never has any effect on your life … [Here] it’s a huge difference: no moon, full moon, rainy season, hot season, people behave differently … You’re very connected to nature here, as much as you can in a city … There are monkeys, and birds and cows. They are a living part of the city. Without these animals everything would rot, everything would be stinking. They also give milk, even the cow shit is used for burning, for fertilising … as a mosquito repellent … In a way, it’s men and nature living together in symbiosis. I like many things here, they eat from banana plates … everything is recycled. (Noel, 31)
When the Westerners in Varanasi criticize the West, it usually becomes defined as an artificial urban space whereas Varanasi represents a more ‘authentic’ and ‘natural’ life. In Varanasi, cows, water buffaloes, dogs, goats and rats are visibly The concept of authenticity has been widely discussed in tourism literature (see e.g. MacCannell 1973; Pearce and Moscardo 1986; Harkin 1995; Wang 1999).
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present in the streets and one must constantly be aware of monkeys that may steal one’s food. Thus, nature – in terms of animals – becomes very close to one’s everyday life. The Westerners also feel the rather extreme climatic changes profoundly in Varanasi since they do not have air conditioning or proper heating. Yet, although Varanasi is clearly very different from Western cities, it is nevertheless a very urban environment, and in fact the infrastructure does not well support the current population but there are constant problems with water, electricity, rubbish etc. Therefore, claiming to appreciate closeness to nature is actually a rather romanticized statement in the context of Varanasi. In fact, Varanasi is a very particular destination for lifestyle migration: very often lifestyle migrants choose areas with a pleasant climate and good tourism infrastructure (O’Reilly 2007, 281; Williams and Hall 2000), but Varanasi is lacking even basic infrastructure (see also Nudrali and O’Reilly this volume) and the climate is harsh. The attractiveness of Varanasi lies elsewhere: it draws Westerners as a sign of Eastern otherness as it ‘has become a symbol of traditional Hindu India’ (Eck 1983, 9). Many Westerners in Varanasi also claim to aim at ‘natural life’ themselves. For example, many prefer homeopathic or ayurvedic medicines to Western medicines. Many also appreciate the fact that they can buy unprocessed milk and butter in Varanasi, and they cook with natural ingredients instead of buying ready-made processed food. Again, life in Varanasi becomes defined as an opposite to the artificial life in the West. Yet, not all (or even most) locals live or appreciate such a ‘natural life’: it refers above all to the life of this particular group of Westerners in Varanasi and it is thus again a much romanticized understanding of local life. Spirituality is also an important value for the Westerners in Varanasi (see also D’Andrea 2007). As a holy city of Hinduism, Varanasi is indeed a very particular place in terms of spirituality, and for many Westerners it represents ‘authentic’ spirituality in comparison with the ‘dead’ religious rituals of the West. In Europe, we see religion but [it is] … just dead. It is few people going to church and you don’t see any more the face … like the face of God who can make people change everything just for this. It’s very beautiful to see. Here you really see because it’s so many people, just with simple heart, they just go. (Laura, 25)
Talking about supernatural powers, energies and vibrations is common among the Westerners in Varanasi. Many of them also claim that spirituality becomes manifested in Indian classical music, which most of them are studying (see Korpela 2010). However, instead of converting to Hinduism or Buddhism, most of them talk about spirituality in broader terms, picking up from various spiritual beliefs whatever suits them the best. Such ‘New Age spirituality’ – choosing from the supermarket of spirituality whatever one pleases – is popular nowadays (see e.g. Aupers and Houtman 2006) but the theme has so far not been discussed in the The temperatures can drop down to 0˚C in December and rise up to 45˚C in May.
context of lifestyle migration, although it seems to be significant at least among bohemian lifestyle migrants (see e.g. D’Andrea 2007). Many Westerners in Varanasi also present the city as a return to the past. When […] I tell to my mother or to the men, how is the life here, they are not so surprised because they had the same 50 [years ago], before the war, same … like milking the cows […] My mother [milked cows by hand] until marriage … mountain life. It is almost the same life, also here. I saw oil lamps and, it was like that. […] It was the same when they were children. (Anton, 32)
Yet, in spite of praising and romanticizing the past, the Westerners in Varanasi are not willing to return to the past themselves but happily use modern transportation (e.g. aeroplanes), and modern communication technologies (e.g. the Internet). The past that India represents becomes like a picturesque view for them, something that they admire from afar but are not willing to fully engage with themselves; or if they do get engaged with it, they do it only partially – choosing whatever suits them. Characteristically, lifestyle migration depends on modernity (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming): lifestyle migrants are active agents taking advantage of opportunities that are currently available to them on a global scale. Yet, at the same time, lifestyle migrants typically admire values and practices that they understand to represent the past. Such a romantic understanding of the past is, however, often a recollection that they themselves do not have experiences of (O’Reilly 2000, 115), which is obviously also the case with the (relatively young) Westerners in Varanasi. The idea of a better past and a romanticized view of the place they go to is present in the following comment: ‘[In Varanasi] we can speak with the neighbour, and the neighbour smiles to you, says good morning. This does not exist in West any more’ (Aron, 42). This image of harmonious neighbourly contacts is romanticized since India is a very stratified society. Moreover, in spite of comments like the one above, in practice the close social contacts that the Westerners in Varanasi appreciate refer above all to friendships among the Westerners. The location where the good life becomes true is an Indian city, yet the Westerners’ relationships with local Indian people are usually instrumental: their contacts with locals are often limited to shopkeepers, landlords and music teachers (Korpela 2010), whereas their social life with other Westerners is very intense; they all know each other and many meet on a daily basis (Korpela 2009). Therefore, the good life that the Westerners claim to have found in Varanasi materializes with other Westerners, which again suggests that although they claim to be escaping ‘the West’, their flight is only partial, above all it is geographical.
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Privileged Actors or Not? If I want a job, it’s easy in the West to get a job, to survive, make some money. (Sebastian, 26)
In spite of the fact that the Westerners in Varanasi see working in negative terms, most of them depend on temporary wage work in order to be able to support their lifestyle. Or, alternatively, they sell Indian goods in the West. Depending on such sales or on wage work in their countries of origin (or occasionally in some other Western countries), makes the Westerners in Varanasi different from many other lifestyle migrants who often live on savings, pensions or small business ventures in their new home (see O’Reilly 2000; Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming). As in Sebastian’s case, most of my interviewees claim that it is easy to find jobs. Being able to quickly gain employment when returning to the West means that although they spend much time in India, the Westerners in Varanasi do not lose their networks in their countries of origin. This indicates a rather privileged situation; I doubt that many unemployed people would share their views on the easy availability of jobs. Moreover, some of the means of income (i.e. selling Indian goods in the West) of the Westerners in Varanasi actually require a mobile lifestyle and contribute to the fact that they do not settle down in Varanasi permanently. The fact that India is a very cheap country for Westerners is not insignificant in the lifestyle of the Westerners in Varanasi. Living costs are very low in Varanasi; with less than 200 euros a month one can afford a rather comfortable life. In spite of their anti-materialistic discourse, the Westerners do not live frugally in Varanasi. In some respects, their standard of living is lower than it would be in their countries of origin: for example, they have simple gas stoves and very little, if any, furniture and no hot water in their apartments. Moreover, many of them use only one pair of shoes and have very little clothing. However, they can afford to eat in restaurants, use laundry services, get their clothes made by tailors and buy relatively costly Western food products (for example tofu, yellow cheese, olive oil and brown bread). Some Westerners also hire household help – in most cases a cleaning lady – and some women get massages regularly. Being served, if one can afford it, is common in Indian cultures and labour is cheap and easily available. Thus, it is not very surprising that the Westerners use such services. However, they could not afford them in their countries of origin and India thus allows them a significantly higher standard of living. Yet, although many Westerners in Varanasi admit the significance of economic factors and acknowledge their privileged position in India, they emphasize that being in India is not (merely) a question of cheap living costs but of a more meaningful life (see also Gustafson this volume). All in all, they are able to lead their lifestyle because they are able to earn Western salaries, which last longer when spent in India, indicating again that they are tightly tied to the West in spite of their criticisms of it. The Westerners in Varanasi are advantaged also in terms of their passports. As citizens of industrialized Western nations, the Westerners in Varanasi easily cross
borders and get visas. Citizens of ‘third world’ countries, for example Indians, could not live such a transnationally mobile life as the Westerners in Varanasi. India is in fact a very particular destination as it enables this sort of phenomenon by issuing tourist visas that are valid for several months, even for years, a practice which probably has its roots in India’s colonial history.10 Lifestyle migration by definition refers to non-elitist, yet relatively privileged, movement (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming; O’Reilly and Benson this volume; cf. Amit 2007). The case of the Westerners in Varanasi fits this definition well. However, although the Westerners in Varanasi are privileged in many respects, at a closer look, they are also very vulnerable. The ethos among backpackers is that their experiences are beneficial – giving them a form of cultural capital that, when they return to their home countries, can be used, for example, for finding jobs (Desforges 2000; Noy 2004; Caprioglio O’Reilly 2006, 1013). But what happens when backpacking results in lifestyle migration? The Westerners in Varanasi claim they have made the right choice by leaving the ‘prison’ of the West. Yet, one can ask whether their escape has been successful or whether they have ended up in another prison. Becoming a lifestyle migrant at a young age involves a risk. It may turn out to be difficult to return in case one ever wants to do so. Above all, it is not necessarily easy to explain several years’ gap in one’s CV and it may be difficult to turn the long sojourn in India into a marketable asset when searching for employment. Although the Westerners in Varanasi claim it is easy to find temporary menial jobs, those are not the kind of jobs they would like to have if they stayed in the West permanently. It thus seems that they have ended up in a rather ambiguous position; relaxed life in Varanasi does not come without costs. When the Westerners in Varanasi talk about their lifestyle choices, they construct a very positive discourse and put much emphasis on individual choice. Yet, their lifestyle and the choices they celebrate also have structural constraints. For example, although they explain the situation of living without a permanent job as a personal choice, it may be that the choice of getting a job and settling down is not available for them even if they wanted to. In today’s flexible labour markets, they are actually ideal workers since they do not even want permanent contracts. Instead of feeling oppressed, they feel they have the power to decide when to work. In other words, they explain their somewhat disadvantaged situation to their own benefit. Moreover, when the Westerners in Varanasi emphasize their courage to live without fears, enjoying the present, they implicitly defend what to outsiders may seem like a highly insecure situation. For example, they refuse to worry about financial securities like a pension. However, the other side of the coin is that maybe they could not do much about such things anyway: in the current economic systems, an increasing number of people cannot get permanent jobs and benefits 10 Depending on one’s nationality, a Western person can usually obtain a tourist visa valid from six months up to ten years.
When a Trip to Adulthood becomes a Lifestyle
related to those even if they wanted to. Lifestyle migration has thus enabled the Westerners in Varanasi to turn the disadvantaged situation into a positive selfdefinition – although we cannot know for how long that positive definition lasts. Conclusion: Mobile Lifestyle Migrants with Bohemian Aspirations This chapter has illustrated a case in which a backpacking trip that was supposed to be a temporary phase has resulted in lifestyle migration. The Westerners who regularly spend long periods of time in Varanasi claim to have found ‘more vibrations’, that is, a better life there. This better life includes an emphasis on living a relaxed and ‘natural life’ with like-minded people and on enjoying the present. The phenomenon illustrates well how difficult it is to make clear distinctions between lifestyle migrants and tourists (see Bell and Ward 2000; Williams and Hall, 2000). Although the good life of the Westerners currently materializes in a specific location – Varanasi – they are there only temporarily. Yet, one cannot claim that they are merely visiting tourists, momentarily occupying a leisure space; they return to Varanasi again and again and their life there is characterized by permanent practices and routines (Korpela 2009). I define the Westerners in Varanasi to be mobile lifestyle migrants with bohemian aspirations. Their lives are characterized by constant mobility as they do not stay in Varanasi permanently but repeatedly return there. Moreover, their mobility also involves other locations than merely Varanasi and their country of origin, especially since many of them claim to be still searching for an ideal location. In addition to mobility defining them as a particular kind of lifestyle migrants, the Westerners in Varanasi also describe the ‘good life’ in somewhat different terms from many other lifestyle migrants because of their bohemian – spiritual and artistic – aspirations and because of their emphasis on an ‘alternative’ lifestyle. Moreover, although they use a very similar discourse to other lifestyle migrants when they explain their reasons for leaving their countries of origin, they are different since they have left at a relatively young age and have thus not personally experienced the life they are criticizing. Consequently, their views of ‘the bad West’ are equally constructed and imagined as are their views of ‘the ideal India’. Throughout the text, I have argued that in spite of criticizing ‘the West’, the practices and values of the Westerners in Varanasi are clearly tied to it: what they look for is actually not anti-Western but a different kind of (bohemian or alternative) Western. I have also argued that the Westerners’ lifestyle depends on them being citizens of affluent Western nations, and I have shown that although, on one hand, the Westerners in Varanasi are relatively privileged, on the other hand, in the context of their own societies, they are vulnerable and even disadvantaged. Nevertheless, in their own understanding, they have acquired a happier and more meaningful life – more vibes – in Varanasi.
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Pursuing the Good Life: American Narratives of Travel and a Search for Refuge Brian A. Hoey I came home from New York City to … a little house on a little road. I needed land and country around me so I could feel I belonged to something bigger than myself. I needed birds and trees and the observable minutiae of seasons so I could feel my life as a stream of little movements. (Stocking 1990, ix, xvxvi)
Based on five years of ethnographic fieldwork in the mid-western United States among downsized and downshifting middle-class American workers relocating from metropolitan areas to rural northern Michigan, this chapter explores a contemporary search for personal forms of refuge. It describes how, in the face of uncertainty in the world of work, these migrants use their act of relocation to personally meaningful places as a way of redefining themselves and regaining a sense of control (see O’Reilly and Benson this volume). In the wake of voluntary or involuntary career change, they attend to reordering work, family and personal priorities according to an idealized lifestyle. The self-defining narratives of these lifestyle migrants involve what may be new expressions of old American dreams, understandings and ideals. My research has focused on a category of lifestyle migrant for which work has failed to provide a reliable foundation on which to build personally meaningful The majority of data collection took place from early 2000 to early 2002 in the adjoining counties of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim and Benzie that together incorporate an area known as Grand Traverse that extends roughly 25 miles in radius from the social and economic hub at Traverse City, Michigan. Foundational data for this chapter were gathered through in-depth, open-ended ethnographic interviews with 128 in-migrants to these counties. Interviews emphasized personal background, reasons for leaving a job and relocating, the process of relocation decision-making and the consequences of this move for individual and family identity. Free-form conversations with minimal interruption allowed migrants to present detailed narrative constructions, often in extended monologues. The large number of stories gathered in this manner allowed me to consider a wide range of personal backgrounds and relocation experiences. From this large set, I eventually focused on 12 representative cases. Over two years, I deepened my understanding of lifestyle migration through frequent contact with four individuals and eight families who relocated during the previous five years. This involved extended follow-up conversations as well as participant-observation in everyday work and family life, spending time in the workplaces and homes of this core group of participants. Pseudonyms are used for participants.
identity. Relocation to romanticized rural places high in natural amenities, in which they have frequently vacationed, is a moral project concerned with ‘starting over’ and ‘finding themselves’ through purposeful place-attachment. Entrepreneurial tendencies are strong among these migrants given their desire to claim a sense of control over the domain of work while financing personal commitments to improving their quality of life. In these respects, my work may be situated in the context of migration research concerned with identity and place-consumption (e.g. O’Reilly 2000), attachment to a rural ideal (e.g. Buller and Hoggart 1994), or natural amenities (e.g. Green et al. 2005) as well as tourism-related migration (e.g. Hall and Williams 2002) and travel-inspired entrepreneurship (e.g. Snepenger et al. 1995; Stone and Stubbs 2007). Focusing on the importance of place to personhood, individual identity and personal well-being, this chapter will discuss how, over the last 120 years, the landscape of the study area known as the Grand Traverse region has became both a literal and figurative asylum for the remaking of the person. This history ranges from mentally ill persons relocated here to receive what was then known as ‘moral treatment’ beginning in the last two decades of the nineteenth century to what some have called ‘corporate refugees’ who came during the last two decades of the twentieth century, attempting to leave behind unsatisfying personal and professional lives lived within crumbling, industrial areas and suburban sprawl (see also Benson this volume). The accounts of lifestyle migrants resonate strongly with prototypical American narratives of travel, accompanied by oft-analogous references to religious conversion (e.g. see Rambo 1993) and wrapped in themes of the ‘frontier’ (e.g. see Turner 1966; Limerick 1994; Jasper 2000). Laid-off workers, together with those who voluntarily end an objectively successful career in order to lead a subjectively more fulfilling life – what Saltzman (1991) refers to as ‘downshifting’ – pass through personally transformative periods of liminality. They venture to redefine themselves by relocating to places that they believe will provide the creative inspiration and supportive refuge to realize an idealized vision of self, a ‘potential self’ (Hochschild 1997; cf. Hoey 2005; 2006) that becomes an inspirational roadmap to what they hope will be more fulfilling, harmonious and authentic lives lived in consciously chosen geographic places. This chapter illustrates how the stories of lifestyle migrants echo themes of personal crisis and transformation basic to the genre of American travel writing. Motivation and meaning behind this form of urban-to-rural migration are revealed in the accounts of lifestyle migrants. Together with my analysis of the text of an early tourist brochure, these accounts are presented in an ethnographic and historical approach to therapeutic landscape and its place in construction of the self- and place-defining narratives. In my examination of a locally produced tourist brochure from the 1920s, I will show how its authors achieve their place-marketing goals through presenting a compelling and iconic narrative of personal transformation told as travel story. The story helps create an image of refuge while describing the refuge-seeking behaviour
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of a young family. The decision by local leaders at the end of the nineteenth century to frame the region’s physical environment as a restorative escape was intended to shift economic focus from natural resource extraction in the timber and fishing industries, which were in precipitous decline from overexploitation. Despite this refocus, their plans continued a well-established pattern of place consumption – though in different form. Through analysis of this pioneering brochure, I aim to reinforce my assertion that central principles and themes at work in the telling of this travel story are essential to the composition of contemporary relocation narratives constructed by urban-to-rural migrants moving to the region nearly a century later. Historical Background For nearly a century, the Grand Traverse area of northwestern lower Michigan in the United States’ Great Lakes region has attracted people seeking recuperative rest through time spent on vacation. While many rural places have long been attractive seasonal retreats, due to year-round refuge-seekers my study area has become a rare pocket of in-migration-induced growth in a northern region otherwise losing population to warmer and dryer southwestern parts of the country (cf. Bonner 1997; Murdoch et al. 1998; Jobes 2000). This in-migration stands against a longstanding trend of population loss to urban areas from rural counties where agriculture and natural resource extraction have historically dominated local economies (Jobes et al. 1992; Boyle and Halfacree 1998; Pandit and Withers 1999). Beginning over a century ago, local leaders marketed the area as a kind of ‘therapeutic landscape’, to borrow a term from the relatively new field of health geography (Gesler 1992). This helped secure an economically important project when Traverse City became the site of the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane, which was completed in 1885. These same strategies later helped leaders define Grand Traverse as a tourist destination for a burgeoning American middle class in the rapidly industrializing Midwest. For my part, reflection on core principles underpinning the asylum’s design and early operation provides a useful set of ideas for analysing and interpreting the behaviour of lifestyle migration. The asylum has served as trope with which to discuss dual themes of refugecreating and refuge-seeking. I understand both these behaviours as social and individual responses to uncertainty and anxiety in the wake of widespread cultural and structural change at two different but related historical junctures: the period of industrialization at the end of the nineteenth century and late twentieth and early twenty-first century’s deindustrialization in the United States. In its early days, the Northern Michigan Asylum reflected the ‘moral treatment’ plan that characterized a mid- to late-nineteenth-century institutional approach to mental illness (Hoey 2007; see also Grob 1973; Edginton 1997). During this period, a range of mental health policy reformers located the roots of psychological disease in what they perceived to be the increasing fluidity and loosened bonds of
American life – its growing individualism, anomie and placelessness (Rothman 1971). Their therapeutic focus on ‘remoralization’ was intended as intervention into a crisis of personhood generated by the chaotic effects of a rapidly changing world. Not a moralist critique of changing culture and society, here ‘the moral’ was meant to refer to the mind, emotions and character of the person. It suggested a non-material self that they believed could be intentionally shaped through daily routines and sensory impressions afforded by the purposeful experience of particular places treated as therapeutic landscapes. The ideals of lifestyle migrants to northern Michigan today echo this understanding. Personal Quests to Therapeutic Landscapes told in Narratives of Travel In order to understand the phenomenon of lifestyle migration, we must consider how recurrent themes emerge in the play of individual accounts of relocation. This involves listening to how people engage in personal meaning-making through storytelling. In creating and telling moral narratives of self, people concurrently describe and construct their identity as well as establish how their life experiences are collected to create a comprehensible and communicable biography (Hoey 2005; 2006). Narrative embodies the inescapable temporality of life experience. Life stories grow out of everyday practice and our literal as well as figurative movement through time and space. They are thus naturally stories of travel. As Richard Sennett (1998), who speaks of the integrity of personal ‘character’ in ‘sustainable’ narratives of self, virtue ethicist Alisdair MacIntyre finds that harmony in a person’s life and continuity in sense of self ‘resides in the unity of narrative which links birth to life to death as narrative beginning to middle to end’ (1984, 205). In a review of anthropological approaches to narrative, Elinor Ochs and Lisa Capps (1996) conclude that narrative and self are inseparable as narrative arises out of everyday experience even as it gives shape to that experience. By giving an intelligible order to the events of life, narrative creates temporal continuity from the past into future, imagined lives while acting as a critical interface between self and society. Narrative orders events in a particular orientation, temporally and spatially (Ricoeur 1980). Focusing on narrative calls our attention to lived experience in both dimensions. Structures of the narratives of individuals, according to the geographer Michel de Certeau, ‘have the status of spatial syntaxes … [such that] every story is a travel story – a spatial practice’ (1984, 115). Linguist Barbara Johnstone (1990, 5) notes that people’s sense of self and place is ‘rooted in narration’ and that ‘there is a basic connection between stories and places’. She explains that in human experience places themselves ‘are narrative constructions’ and that ‘stories are suggested by places’ (ibid., 134). Autobiographies become intimately connected with places as people create and hold onto their own landscapes (Gray and Butrym 1989). Lifestyle migrants recognize the essential role of place in creating a lasting sense of self. They self-consciously engaged in this process, choosing particular places as personally therapeutic landscapes. Following uncertainty
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and dissatisfaction with working lives prior to relocation, they make purposeful connections with these places as a more stable and personally meaningful anchor for identity than what they could make in a world of work turned upside down by post-industrial economic change. Lifestyle migrants in their late forties, Peter and Joan moved to the study area from the Detroit suburbs in the mid-1990s. Over a decade earlier, they had bought a small plot of land on the Leelanau Peninsula with an idea of one day retiring on it. But when the nature of Peter’s chosen career unexpectedly changed to the extent that he felt unable to pursue his individual calling as a television journalist, he felt free to follow their dream of intimately connecting with this place on a daily basis. They would find work after the move. Through Peter’s words, we see how place becomes an intimate part of his sense of self through an ‘existential insideness’ (Relph 1976). I must tell you that there are not fewer than five days in a week where I come in and say to my wife, ‘God damn, I feel loved.’ Really, I do say that. I can walk for one mile from my back door and never run into another house. I don’t hear people out there. I walk every day for long distances. I live in the Bend in the Eagle Highway. That’s where I live. How’s that for an address. You know, Eagle Highway actually makes a bend just like that [gestures with his arm, indicating his elbow] right at its northern edge. That’s the address we use. I see eagles from my porch. None actually live on my land but I’ll give them the chance if they want. I love seeing wild turkeys. I’ve seen two bobcats in the past six months. Those are joys. I work very hard on the place I’m at – the Bend in the Eagle Highway – to know who first farmed it and when it was bought and the successive owners there were and what the stone house was used for. There is a stone house on the property, an old milk shed … the walls are that thick [gestures a foot in thickness]. That kept the temperature at an even 60 in the summer time so that it can keep the milk cool. This is an unusual country. Leelanau is an unusual place.
In accounts like this, personal identity is entwined with the process of place-making which entails the use of local artefacts, landforms and the place-based stories tied to these objects as narrative constructions that delineate intimate areas of familiarity. In this way, these constructs organize and make meaningful one’s surroundings. As historian and folklorist Mary Hufford asserts, these narrative strategies in life stories provide ways for people to ‘surround themselves with evidence that they are at home, in a place with a usable past’ (Hufford 1986, 74). Place-making, specifically the use of informal and unofficial names, such as Peter and Joan’s self-proclaimed address at ‘the Bend in the Eagle Highway’, provide a sense of belonging. This state of existential insideness is achieved, in part, through the use of encoded messages both in discursive form as well as by recognized landscape features that serve as grammatical units, as signs, that are mostly meaningless and typically unknown to the outsider (Ryden 1993).
Familiarity and intimate knowledge of place can provide the basis of an implicit or explicit claim of possession of certain landscapes not merely in the form of personal property but more importantly as a basic part of self in the same way that one might claim property in one’s own body (cf. Radin 1987). I asked a single woman in her late thirties to clarify what she meant when she used the word ‘place’. Susan grew up in the Midwest and set out in the 1990s with the goal of ‘finding’ herself through a job in a software firm located in Silicon Valley. In our conversations, she spoke of place when describing how she chose to leave behind a fast-paced, high-paying corporate life for one less well financially compensated but rooted deliberately in the physical landscape of the study area. Here she relates her experience of place in the study area: The water and the dunes, the open space, the seasons … you feel part of the outdoors up here. More so than any place I’ve ever lived. You feel like your life is not your home, the footprint of your house, your work. You realize that it’s bigger than that. It’s a lot bigger than that. Your life expands. It expands even into that old boat stored back in the woods.
Susan’s description expresses how her life became a literal part of place, how she claims ownership as a basic part of self. As expressed in the opening quote to this chapter by local writer Kathleen Stocking, Susan explains how it is possible to feel that your life is ‘bigger’ than your home and work – how your psychic space can be purposefully enlarged. Personhood and place are entwined in embodied experience where an old boat stored back in the woods becomes an acknowledged element of self. Like many lifestyle migrants, Susan is talking in part about feeling a kind of integration in various elements of her life. As with many others, she spoke of how this feeling of connectedness with particular places might have happened before her decision to relocate to the study area during intense moments of letting go, such as on vacation, but that these brief experiences amounted to a small ‘compartment’ in a mostly fragmented life. In descriptions of sense of place told by lifestyle migrants, we see how key symbolic places provide narrative structures for shaping a sense of identity and making a life story, and thus person, whole. As in persistent waves of migration throughout United States history, lifestyle migrants set their sights on the promise of something more, of greater fulfilment and meaning within a real or imagined frontier. While America cannot now claim a physical frontier, an arguably essential part of its nationhood, a powerfully motivating sense that geographic mobility can offer personal growth and renewal endures within national meta-narratives together with the simple but captivating allure of new places (cf. Turner 1966; Morrison and Wheeler 1978; Limerick 1994; Jasper 2000). Following this theme of starting over through the experience of new places in the pursuit of personal frontiers, research on lifestyle migrants suggests a meaningful connection between their experiences and the narrative forms within American travel writing. In a nation with a love affair with the automobile and the open road, many well-known contemporary examples in the genre of travelogues
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in the United States involve unfolding maps, getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and driving off to meet whatever emerges on an ever-broadening horizon. These classic American travel stories are frequently spun around a quest for finding or rediscovering the presumed nature or essential character of America through a journey of miles that weaves through small towns and close-knit communities along back roads away from the anonymity of cities and interstates. Popular examples include John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley (1962) and William Least Heat Moon’s (1982) personal odyssey on and through the back road recounted in Blue Highways. A more recent illustration is Brad Herzog’s States of Mind (1999). Herzog’s book is literally the description of an on-the-road search for elements of the presumed authentic American character including ‘harmony’, ‘unity’ and ‘freedom’ lived as everyday attributes in hamlets that have these as their actual place names. Lying in Benzie County at the southern extent of my study area, the tiny town of Honor, Michigan, thus earned a visit from the Herzogs on their coast-to-coast odyssey. And yes, ‘honour’ was found in Honor. The central character in these contemporary American travel stories typically ‘hits the road’ in the wake of a personal crisis of faith about the direction of his or her life, the meaning of work, family and community, and the mythic promise of an ‘American Dream’. In the Herzogs’ case, it was a sense that they were ‘trading a life for a living’ and needed to both ‘cleanse’ their souls and restore their confidence in this promise through travel (Herzog 1999). In the process of connecting or reconnecting with what are assumed to be more intimate, ‘authentic’ and generally rural places, there is also an inward journey of personal growth and discovery, discovering or rediscovering one’s own essential nature or character. It is then a search not merely for distinct places, but for the kinds of potentially transformative, therapeutic experiences enabled by being in these places. The guiding belief motivating lifestyle migrants is that through immersion in a new kind of existence, relocation to a place of personal refuge, the intentional changing of daily routine and a deliberate refocusing of personal goals and relationship to work, they might get reoriented, find a new bearing towards achievement of greater personal harmony and emotional well-being. This therapeutic ideal emerges strongly in the words of the downsized or downshifting lifestyle migrant (Bellah et al. 1996; cf. Skolnick 1991 on ‘psychological gentrification’ and a therapeutically conceived form of self-fulfilment). Relocating to personal places of refuge may become an act of defensive ‘self-help’ for deliberately enhancing individual mental health through a kind of remoralization akin to the original ideal of the Northern Michigan Asylum. Place-Marketing and Constructing ‘Up North’ as Therapeutic Landscape The Grand Traverse region is an hour’s drive from the nearest interstate and approximately 400km northwest of Detroit, Michigan – the ailing US auto industry’s geographic centre; its rolling countryside is defined by a deep, glacially-dug bay.
Lumbermen were once attracted to this area by vast stands of white pine and numerous rivers and lakes that provided easy water transport and power for milling. The local timber industry began in earnest in 1847 when a wealthy Illinois farmer started his sawmill at the base of Grand Traverse Bay. Between 1851 and 1886 the mill harvested more than 120 million meters of pine lumber. Shipped primarily by boat to Chicago, some of this lumber rebuilt that city after the Great Fire of 1871. Most of the area not regenerated forest today is either idle or active farmland. Once the site of wanton destruction through overexploitation of timber and other natural resources, local leaders reframed the rolling hills, towering sand dunes and miles of Grand Traverse lakeshore as objects of personal reflection with the power to enchant and heal. As noted in the introduction, they intentionally ‘revisioned’ the region as a restorative sanctuary in two separate but closely related projects. The first of these was the siting and construction of an institution for the mentally ill in the 1880s. Some 40 years later, the region’s natural amenities were marketed once again as refuge, but this time to a growing middle class eagerly seeking quiet retreat from the crush of life in an ever more urban America by journeying to relatively remote places of great natural beauty. In many rural areas of the United States in economic decline at the end of natural-resource-extraction-based ‘booms’ but still rich with natural beauty, tourism has offered the promise of economic salvation (e.g. see McGranahan 1999). In the history of the Grand Traverse region, tourism picked up where the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane’s economic benefits left off. The region’s self-promotion as destination became increasingly earnest in the first quarter of the twentieth century. In 1924, a fledgling organization known as the Leelanau County Association of Commerce produced a compelling story of change through a developing relationship with, and eventual attachment to, the spirit of place. Presenting a tale of an overland journey via increasingly common and reliable automobiles travelling steadily improving state highways, the booklet became an early entry to the modern genre of American travel stories centred on driving places. Unlike today’s glitzy tourist brochures that focus on short, sensationalized description and evocative graphics, this brochure is nothing less than a complete travel narrative, albeit in abbreviated form. Beyond being an account of a family’s physical journey, it is also a story of how our protagonist achieves a kind of reorientation to ‘the good’ (Taylor 1989) through personal transformation. Here this early corporate refugee uncovers what we are encouraged to see as an authentic self through substantial change of routine and surroundings (cf. MacCannell 1992). No doubt intended to capitalize on the growing romance and cachet of an imagined frontier journey to a place that today is still home to native Americans such as the Ottawa and Chippewa, it was given the title ‘The Captives: Being the story of a family’s vacation in Leelanau County, the Land of Delight’ (Leelanau County Association of Commerce 1924) (see Figure 3.1).
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Figure 3.1 Cover of travel brochure ‘The Captives’ produced by the Leelanau County Association of Commerce in 1924 In the wake of changes in daily life precipitated by the Industrial Revolution and its broad impact on the social and cultural world, by the 1920s there was growing public apprehension in the United States over the opportunity and ability to take recreative ‘time out’. Among those with means, much discussion centred on the need to embark on purposeful quests with the intent to, in some manner, personally re-enchant the world (Aron 1999; Löfgren 1999). For this illustrative family, a personal quest for enchantment begins without expectation as a family vacation: ‘The Cyrus Howards were burning up Michigan’s Trunk Line Eleven, which follows the lake along the state’s western boundary. For three days the motor had
been roaring, the car swaying, the trailer following like a kite tail as they sped from their sweltering Corn Belt home to the cool Northland.’ In this opening scene, the promise of the ‘Northland’ is quickly established and set apart dramatically, not only from the reach of scorching heat but also from less tangible undesirables in the urbanized regions to the south. Residents of the Great Lakes today more commonly refer to what is called Northland here as ‘Up North’. This designation serves not only as a geographic distinction but even more as a state of being, a way of literally locating or orienting oneself. In Michigan, the term Up North is used to distinguish the northern reaches of the state from the heavily urban and suburbanized ‘Down State’, an area south of an imagined ‘line’ of latitude that appears, in the perception of many residents, to divide the state into two distinct regions (cf. Clark and Officer 1962). The story’s central character, Cyrus, is a prosperous factory owner. Like any upwardly mobile middle-class capitalist, he has not allowed himself a moment of true, personally recreative rest in all his working life. As we follow the unfolding story, we find that even while supposedly taking time for leisure with his family on vacation, Cyrus cannot let go of a persistent and self-consuming drive to ‘get ahead’. Cyrus sat at the wheel, brows drawn, jaw set, driving as though fire and water rushed savagely in his wake. The siren wailed, the car ahead edged over and bellowing through the dust cloud they swung into the left and swept past. Mother spoke, ‘Oh Cy, WHY such a rush? … For thirty years we’ve rushed like this!’ Mother went on. ‘You’ve burned yourself up to get to where we are. Now there’s enough to educate the children, enough for us to live on.’
Aside from illustrating a plausible story allowing would-be vacationers to imagine other, better selves through seeking a kind of personal refuge in this place, the brochure’s story is ultimately intended to recast the region as civilized nature – safe and accessible while still distant from the troubles of urban life. Although initially aiming for more well-established vacation retreats, Cyrus begrudgingly alters course at the frequent and fervent pleadings of his road-weary family in order to take a turn down a road less travelled. When the engine begins to sputter, although obsessed with the potential of being taken advantage of as comparatively well-heeled city folk by what he imagines are predatory locals, Cyrus unexpectedly finds a helpful man who directs them to a reliable service station. For purposes of the tale, this welcoming stranger is meant to embody characteristics of what the authors wish to convey about place itself. He is described in the tale as ‘neither old nor frowsy. His hair and beard were gray but his eyes were as blue as the lake itself and in them was friendliness and tolerance. His hands were browned and hardened but they were clean. He was a rugged fellow with many years on his shoulders but he had the smile of a boy and his voice was like a fresh wind blowing.’ Specifically, the reader is asked to envision the landscape as somewhat frontier rough but possessed of a fresh
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and rejuvenating hardy health and an authentic goodness expressed in child-like innocence. Wherever they go, the old-young man appears. On one of their rambles through the countryside, the Howards spot him ambling beside the road, ‘Oh, Neighbor!’ calls Cyrus, using the term of address by then adopted for their Good Samaritan. ‘What’re you doing up here?’ Neighbor responds to his query by way of a folksy history of the area. His account is spun so that the Howards are made part of a long line of seekers who have quested in response not only to economic opportunity, such as in exploitation of natural resources, but also to what might be characterized as ‘higher callings’ in creating and seeking refuge in this place. In this way, the authors carefully construct a literary bridge in the narrative that spans two worlds: the production-oriented economy of the region’s past based on resource extraction and a more recent service-based, consumption-oriented economy dependent on aesthetic appreciation of nature. Speaking as embodied place, Neighbor explains, ‘[I’ve been] waiting for you to come and get close to the Almighty … now you’ve got a start at a sunburn and are ready to rest in the Land of Delight. That’s what Leelanau means in Injun,’ he explained to Mother. ‘They lived here and hunted and fished and was happy. Father Marquette [a 17th century French missionary] and those other old fellers was here a lot and history showed they liked it. The fur traders come and our grandfathers followed them and in the late forties [1840s] commenced to build their homes. Folks’ve been comin’ ever since to settle and now city folks’ve found out that we’ve got better roads and we’re off the beaten trail and they’ve come to find contentment … like you have, friend.’
By the story’s close, the Howards learn Neighbor’s true nature as personification of the inner character of place itself: ‘I’m what you’d call the Spirit of Leelanau, I guess. I’m old but I’m young. I’m a son of the frontier but I’ve got over being rough.’ His liminal character, both born of the frontier yet civilized, is precisely what place-marketing in this brochure is aimed to illustrate. As a sales pitch, it is targeted to consumers looking for some small adventure while also seeking wholesome goodness and refuge, the best of ‘both worlds’, as well as a place where a family might experience togetherness and even find their ‘authentic’ selves in the embrace of therapeutic landscape. In the United States today, refuge continues to be sought in the realm of ‘the rural’, both real and imagined, as the presumed cultural repository of authenticity, community and nature (cf. Benson this volume). Murdoch et al. (1998) argue that the rural has become an object of social actors seeking stability within the context of increasingly uncertain global forms and relations. As people quest for refuge, they engage in reproducing understandings contained in a culturally informed notion of the rural in American society as a basic element of the ‘good’ or ‘simple’ life (see Shi 1985, 1986; Hummon 1990). Through decades of exodus from the very rural communities that have embodied much of the national identity for
generations, many ‘have retained a strong attachment to the rural ideal’ (Johnson and Beale 1998, 23). In what can be applied to the American condition, Raymond Williams comments that in twentieth-century Britain there was a near ‘inverse proportion … between the relative importance of the working rural economy and the cultural importance of rural ideas’ (1973, 248). Aron’s (1999; cf. Lofgren 1999) study of domestic tourist travel in the United States, Working at Play, explains how those places with unique natural beauty typically found in the countryside have long become some of America’s most ‘sacred’ places. Embarking on a trip as a tourist to spend time in one of these places became a secular form of pilgrimage. By the end of the nineteenth century, at a time when the urban seemed increasingly less civil and often categorically inhumane, the rural came to be seen as ‘authentic’, a more natural as well as civilized retreat from the ills of city life. This culturally prescribed role literally came to life in the Howard family’s travel story as ‘Neighbor’. The young-old man simultaneously displays frontier roughness and authenticity with a socially accepted gentility. I learned from the narratives of lifestyle migrants that short-term travel on vacation may serve as a search for temporary refuge from the habits of everyday life defined in large part by routines of work. Consistent with research by Snepenger et al. (1995) that documents how tourist travel may stimulate entrepreneurial migration, I found that a majority of project participants had previous vacation experience in the study area (see also O’Reilly and Benson this volume), whether as children or adults, which provided a positive sense of place attachment to the area. Vacations may serve as a brief but meaningful break, a chance to ‘step outside’ one’s ordinary life. As evidenced by tourism research, people may experience other dimensions of self in these moments as they engage in new and different activities while vacationing within physical and social settings a world apart from their everyday lives (Galani-Moutafi 2000; Noy 2004; cf. Neuman 1992). Finding a personal place of refuge or asylum – whether short or long term – is essential at certain crucial, watershed points in the lives of lifestyle migrants. As we shall hear in coming accounts, reaching this watershed, for many lifestyle migrants, is a matter of lost faith and failed devotion to the world of work for providing a predictable, meaningful place of attachment and source of personal identity. Liminality in Lifestyle Migration to Therapeutic Landscapes Regardless of age, many lifestyle migrants appear to reach a turning point that we may liken to the crisis of identity and challenge to self most Americans associate with self-doubt and second-guessing in mid-life – the so-called mid-life crisis. This crisis in the middle suggests an in-between or ‘interstructural’ state of liminality (Turner 1967, 1974). Lifestyle migrants relocate at seemingly pivotal points in their lives (Hoey 2005, 2006). These include those shaped by such events as serious illness, a birth or death in the family, a marriage or divorce, and job loss or
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other major employment changes. As the anthropologist Victor Turner noted in his later work, a state of liminality can play a vital role in a ‘process of regenerative renewal’ (1985, 159). While Turner spoke specifically of rejuvenation at the societal level, what many lifestyle migrants retrospectively come to call personal ‘crossroads’ or ‘watersheds’ opened up possibilities for reconsidering where they were going as individuals and who they might become. Speaking of the mid-life crisis as a taken-for-granted rite of passage (for American males, in particular), Gail Sheehy, author of Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life (1977), discusses this mid-life transition of modern American life (cf. Shweder 1998 on the cultural construction of mid-life). In the process, she invokes the ‘flexibility’ that stands as a core guiding principle of the so-called New Economy (cf. Martin 1994, 1999). As in Ruth Luban’s (2001) image of the corporate refugee, cast out or self-exiled from one world, disoriented and forced to find their way through unknown territories toward asylum in what she calls the ‘New Land’, Sheehy serves up another self-help, American travel story where the individual is properly and unabashedly captain of her own destiny: Let go. Let it happen to you … Let the feelings. Let the changes. You can’t take everything with you when you leave on your midlife journey. You are moving away. Away from institutional claims and other people’s agenda. Away from external valuations and accreditations, in search of an inner validation. You are moving out of roles and into the self. If I could give everyone a gift for the send-off on this journey, it would be a tent. A tent for tentativeness. The gift of portable roots. To reach the clearing beyond, we must stay with the weightless journey through uncertainty. Whatever counterfeit safety we hold from over-investments in people and institutions must be given up. The inner custodian must be unseated from the controls. No foreign power can direct your journey from now on. It is for each of us to find a course that is valid by our own reckoning. (Sheehy 1977, 364)
As related earlier, Susan rejected the lifestyle that came with her economically rewarding Silicon Valley job. She made her decision after the firm lost sight of what made the work meaningful. Like other downshifting lifestyle migrants, Susan felt that with her rejection she had embarked on a journey of personal growth, rediscovery and renewal (see also Korpela this volume). Her passage entailed an attempt to completely ‘let go’ (as she put it) of external valuations and accreditations, in search of her own inner validation where she might be guided by an inner compass on a course set by her own reckoning. Moving to a small town in the study area, Susan underwent a process of what she described as ‘shedding layers’, layers of social expectations, in order to expose what she understands to be a more authentic self. This presumed inner-self serves as source of moral orientation and direction for lifestyle migrants.
Lifestyle Migration One of the few memories I have of being little is that feeling [that] world is just totally possible and I’m going to be great in it [but] … then you lose that along the way. I spent … years trying to become things. Whether its successful in your career or having a title or a salary or a label, it was always, ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ or ‘I did this’ or ‘This is who I am’ sort of thing. Part of my struggle career wise was collecting titles and jobs and thinking that would make me somebody. (Now) I landed in Leelanau County and nobody cares about any of that stuff I’ve done before or the places I’ve been or the friends I’ve had. I thought those kinds of things made me interesting, but they didn’t. I mean, nobody cared. So how much money I made before didn’t matter. The job experience, the degrees I have don’t matter. It’s like, ‘wow’, then what does matter? That’s what I’ve been trying to find out. Something drove me to put myself in a position … to find a place … where I’d be forced to do that.
Much like the ‘Organization Man’ of my father’s generation explored in Whyte’s (1956) classic work, many lifestyle migrants describe how as they participated in corporate work they found themselves adhering to a system of beliefs with near religious qualities (Hoey 2006). For many Americans, answers to historically religious questions now seem sought in wholly secular activities and attachments including those made in the workplace. As Susan suggests, these are such fundamental inquires as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where should my life be going?’ Even in an increasingly suspicious atmosphere between workers and employers, I found examples of devotion in the stories of lifestyle migrants. One especially illustrative case is that of Jim. He is a middle-aged man who experienced a brutal and personally motivated layoff from a small but highly successful software company in southeastern Michigan a few years earlier. During one of our early meetings, his Goldwing touring motorcycle was being worked on at a busy shop off a rural highway. As we met in a smoky roadside diner just down the road, he explained that his relationship to work in this company had become akin to that of a cult member, ‘I had been drinking the Kool Aid. It was like the Jim Jones gang. I was drinking the corporate Kool Aid [and] believing that this was the way. I mean, believing that this work was the way to an honourable life.’ Jim’s story of being laid off after years of loyal and productive service relates the drama of his own breach and turning point particularly well. He describes a brutal discharge from the software company that he helped build. The experience gave both he and Karen, his wife, the opportunity to pause and reflect on possibilities. Like many others, Jim and Karen used pre-existing connections to the study area as a way of ‘falling back’ in order to recover, to regroup. They owned a small, rural cottage Up North that became an intentionally utilized place of refuge and healing. Within days after Jim’s dismissal, they put their suburban home on the market. The family cottage became a personal asylum as Jim licked his wounds. Ultimately, they expanded the cottage into a full-time residence including space for a homebased consulting business that now supports them. Lifestyle migrants like Jim and Karen needed to find their own personally meaningful refuge in order to redirect
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the course of their lives in the wake of the sudden collapse of a work life that had underpinned not only their household economy but also their family identity. Conclusion As evidenced by reference to enduring American themes such as the frontier, stories of relocation told by downsized and displaced lifestyle migrants speak to us in a discourse of nostalgia. Nevertheless, a search for authenticity expressed in the questing behaviour of lifestyle migrants is not exclusively nostalgic. Rather, it is most importantly about restoring faith in an essential meta-narrative of the modern that encourages American workers to believe in the potential for progress. Lifestyle migrants in this project typically describe experiences in a world of work that led them to a loss of faith in the assumptions of the American Dream as an expression of this meta-narrative as well as a moral horizon that orients and promises future reward for hard work and self-sacrifice. Restored faith in this context comes through being able to purposefully work towards self-betterment and personal fulfilment (see also O’Reilly and Benson this volume). As illustrated in the Howards’ story, modern American narratives of domestic travel typically express a quest to recover or reenchant what appears lost to sweeping changes brought by modernity and, through this re-enchantment, to find greater personal meaning. Redemption here is not only about the recovery of things past, but also an affirmation of progress as expressed in the individual attempt to realize potential selves. For lifestyle migrants who frame their relocation as motivated by a sense of moral disorientation as they engaged in careers and lifestyles that seemed to violate what they understood as their ‘true’ or potential selves, redemption evokes travel tales not only of ‘getting back’ something lost but also of ‘escape’ from physically and psychically harmful practices. With parallels to longstanding, if now typically marginalized, American traditions of pursuing the ‘simple life’ (cf. Shi 1985) and getting ‘back to basics’, lifestyle migration involves seeking refuge in therapeutic landscapes seen to resonate with and sustain an individual lifestyle commitment to putting family first (see also O’Reilly this volume) and creating a greater sense of control over one’s life (see also Korpela this volume; Nudrali and O’Reilly this volume). Through relocation to these places, lifestyle migrants attempt to reposition themselves within culturally informed notions of the good life. As the now acknowledged recession has deepened in the United States since the end of 2008, themes of ‘simplicity’, ‘thrift’ and even ‘starting over’ have burst into public discourse and splashed the covers of such popular magazines as Time with its 6 April 2009 issue titled ‘The End of Excess’. Consistent with a widespread yearning to find an upside to the economic downturn, the cover includes the tagline ‘Why this crisis is good for America’ and features a large, red ‘reset’ button. The notion of a kind of national reset whereby we collectively plot our reinvention in accordance to idealized visions, here of a leaner, greener America, parallels the narratives of lifestyle migrants documented here.
This chapter has examined a contemporary search for personal forms of refuge through relocation to particular geographic places at watershed moments in the individual lives of lifestyle migrants. Downsized and downshifting middle-class workers make commitments that serve as individual guides to personal renewal. They attempt to keep these promises by relocating to a place they believe will enable them to realize potential selves. This lifestyle migration is a form of urbanto-rural migration and the so-called rural rebound that began in many parts of the United States 30 years ago. Like many long-time seasonal destinations within largely rural environments hours from the nearest metropolitan centre, my study area has become a place of year-round residence for many seeking to start over. I have discussed how this region has served as both literal and figurative asylum, beginning with the mentally ill brought here over a century ago for moral treatment to today’s corporate refugees and others on a quest to remake themselves through sheer force of will and determination to make meaningful connections through remoralization and rootedness to a particular physical place. A pioneering and locally produced tourist brochure of the 1920s presents us with both an iconic American travel story and a case of the place-marketing that would drive the economies of so many regions during the twentieth century. I argue that the central principles and themes at work in the telling of its iconic travel story, analogous to the philosophical underpinnings of the asylum’s moral treatment approach, are essential to the composition of contemporary relocation narratives constructed by urban-to-rural migrants moving to the region a century later. In consideration of this story, we see how the relocation stories of lifestyle migrants are constructed and shared in the form of narratives of travel as well as how a notion of the curative power of therapeutic landscapes is an enduring ideal refashioned and used today in the construction of self- and place-defining narratives. Contributing to narrative approaches in the study of place, this chapter suggests how the therapeutic landscape concept can inform inquiry into the subject of lifestyle migration and place-based constructions of self, particularly in the case of economic displacement. References Aron, C.S. (1999) Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States. (New York: Oxford University Press). Bellah, R.N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W.M., Swidler, A. and Tipton, S.M. (1996) Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Updated edition with a new introduction. (Berkeley: University of California Press). Bonner, K.M. (1997) A Great Place to Raise Kids: Interpretation, Science and the Urban-Rural Debate. (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press). Boyle, P. and Halfacree, K. (1998) ’Migration into Rural Areas: A Collective Behaviour Framework’, in Boyle, P. and Halfacree, K. (eds) Migration into Rural Areas: Theories and Issues. (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell).
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Romance Tourists, Foreign Wives or Retirement Migrants? Cross-cultural Marriage in Florence, Italy Catherine Trundle
Introduction ‘Moglie e boui dei paesi toui.’ Francesca repeated it to me twice as I sat in her small studio legale (lawyer’s office) on the outskirts of Florence – wives and cattle from your own village. It was an Italian proverb I had not heard before. She explained its meaning, ‘People here think you have to get wives and cows from your country, your village, otherwise you don’t understand each other.’ As an Italian family lawyer, Francesca had many female ‘Anglo’ clients. She specialized in divorce. With such diverse backgrounds, Francesca explained, Italian men and Anglo women often struggled to reconcile their different expectations of marriage, gender roles and child-rearing once the honeymoon period ended. Despite this warning, hundreds of Anglo women from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand travel to Florence, Italy, and meet, fall in love and marry Italian men. This chapter will explore the narratives of a range of female Anglo migrants, tracing their transitions from romantic, touristic encounters to marriage and motherhood, and sometimes to divorce, widowhood and retirement. The aim of this chapter is to question how useful the ‘lifestyle migration’ category is for understanding such a migration trend. This chapter is based on 15 months of participant observation within Anglo women’s groups in Florence, Italy, as well as 25 semi-structured interviews accompanied by a questionnaire, and one focus group. The majority of the interviewees were American; yet two Canadian, one New Zealander, two Australians, three English, and a Scottish woman were also interviewed. While this The category ‘Anglo’ was used widely by English-speaking migrants to describe their community and its institutions. While it is normal in migration studies to focus on one national group, in this study I make use of my participants’ own category, which placed more emphasis on a perceived common cultural background and shared mother tongue. For ease of expression, I am using the ethnographic category used by my participants, ‘American’ to refer to people born in the United States of America, and not to refer to any other nationality from the Americas.
does reflect the predominance of American women within the Anglo community, it must be stressed that this study does not aim to provide a representative sample of all Anglo women married to Italians in Florence. Instead, it aims to offer a qualitatively rich account of the particular women interviewed, noting the similarities that existed between them, and relating such personal accounts to the everyday conversations and public narratives observed within the Florentine Anglo community. The participants’ ages ranged from 27 to 90 years old. Lifestyle migrant groups are typified by high levels of geographic mobility, aspirations for ‘the good life’, and relative affluence (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming; O’Reilly and Benson this volume). Such migrants are seen as exemplars of ‘late-modern lifestyles’ par excellence due to their continual reflexive quest for individualist fulfilment on a global stage (Giddens 1991; Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 2001). As Benson and O’Reilly argue (forthcoming), retirement migrants and expatriates have overwhelmingly come to symbolize the lifestyle migrant category due to the prolific number of studies of such highly mobile groups. Does it make sense then to include Anglo women from Florence – most of whom gain Italian citizenship, become fluent in the Italian language, raise Italian children and reside in Italy for decades – as ‘lifestyle migrants’? By tracing the life histories of such migrants, many from late teens to retirement, I argue that indeed they can be regarded as lifestyle migrants, but for different reasons at different times. I will show that their levels of mobility and lifestyle aspirations changed over their life courses, as they oscillated from the centre of the lifestyle migration category to the periphery and back to the centre once more. In the process they destabilize the cohesiveness of such a theoretical category, and suggest that their migration experiences can be roughly divided into three phases: touristic romantic travel, marriage migration, and ‘third age’ transnational mobility. Attention to ‘life journeys’ and ‘age-based aspirations’ (Oliver 2007, 128) is thus crucial if we are to unpack ‘late-modernity mobility’ into more historically and geographically situated phases. Phase One: Romantic Grand Tourists Many women aged over 60 had first arrived in Florence in their late teens or early twenties to attend language schools or study programmes designed specifically for foreign students. Most were sent to Italy in between high school and university for an educational year abroad. Such students typically came from wealthier families In 2005 in the Commune of Florence, 1,868 Americans were registered with permits to reside. Two-thirds of this group were women, and nearly half were students. Almost a third gained their permits to reside for family reasons, a category that includes marriage. There were also 834 Britons with permits to reside, of which two-thirds were women. Furthermore, there were 622 Americans with residence visas, of which 63.5 per cent were women (Commune di Firenze 2005).
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that valued cultivating their daughters’ intellects, although within traditionally gendered educational subjects; reminiscent of the education of female Grand Tourists in the eighteenth century (Dolan 2001, 17–26), their classes in Florence usually included Italian, art, art history, architecture and Italian literature. Just as the Grand Tour to Italy had sought to ‘civilize’ young Anglo aristocratic men by endowing them with a necessary global elite cultural capital (Buzard 2002, 38), such education in Florence aimed to provide young women with the social distinction needed to circulate (and marry well) within Anglo high society. As Jane, a 70-year-old American woman, explained: I did all my schooling in New York and then a boarding school in Massachusetts … and when I finished my parents said, you either go directly to college or if you are really interested in art we have the opportunity to send you to Florence where there was a boarding school … it was like a girls’ B&B … I was just turning 18 that summer, and I [went and] studied Italian and even English literature with Miss Barry’s school that existed at that time and then I did my art studies in classical art at the Accademia per i belli arti, and studied with a German painter … and the University for Foreigners where I studied Italian and Italian literature.
Yet for many women, a year in Florence was a liberating rite of passage and reflected a desire for adventure. Many longed to escape the boredom of known and predictable experience (cf. Korpela this volume). Such motivations in many ways mirrored earlier Grand Tourists’ motives to escape parental control and rigid social conventions (Baker 1964, 44). Growing up in Scotland in the 1950s and 1960s, Eve explained that her town was ‘a very dreary place to live, people … never looked outside the box, [they were] always looking over their shoulder at you. People I knew were exactly like their parents – you don’t want that.’ Travelling to Italy for a year in the late 1960s to learn the language and experience another life, Eve explained, was a way to develop and find her own individual identity, free from the constraint of upbringing. For some women, the experimental counterculture of the 1960s that encouraged young people to challenge the social conventions of the day was suggested as the motivating force for, as Eve explained, ‘seeking something different and new’. In understanding tourism motivations, we can thus be more historically specific than ‘late modernity’ (see for example Urry 1990, 2000). In this case, the legacy of the Grand Tour and the pull of counterculture ideals both intersected to lure young Anglo women to Florence. For more recently arrived Anglo women, an education abroad and travel more generally were considered commonplace. With 10,000 American students a year descending on the 38 Florentine study-abroad programmes run by US universities (American Embassy of Florence: personal correspondence), education has, like tourism, become middle class and mainstream and thus functions less to provide For good descriptions of the Grand Tour in Italy see: Hale (1957); Hamilton (1974); Turner and Ash (1975); Buzard (2002).
distinction. Instead, such migrant narratives focused on the desire to try something new, to have fun and to ‘see the world’. Knowledge was seen to emerge less from elite markers of classical education (Latin, art history, architecture) and more from informal ‘experiences’ gained on a global stage. Links can be drawn between such ideas and those underpinning contemporary backpacking, ‘voluntourism’ and gap years (see for example Wearing 2002; Noy 2004; Simpson 2004; Korpela this volume). These travellers seek to distance themselves from the ‘staged’ experience provided by mainstream mass tourism and to chart an individualized journey, through which they can spontaneously encounter ‘authentic’ experiences in ‘authentic’ spaces. As Kay, an American woman who had lived in Florence for eight years, explained: The [university] classes were kind of secondary. It was more about … [finding] real Florentine cafes and restaurants tucked away from it all, trying to have a conversation with locals, sitting on the church steps and just watching the bustle go by … and not knowing what to expect each day.
Anglo women’s narratives expressed an acutely life-stage-based ambition: a desire to prolong youth through extending their adolescent education and posthigh-school vacation period of leisure and fun. Simultaneously such narratives articulated that a year in Florence was an opportunity to learn to stand on their own two feet, free from parental oversight. It thus provided them a chance to transition to adulthood on their own terms, achieved through the independence acquired from meeting the challenges of living in and understanding another culture. Anglo women who arrived later in life to Florence, in their thirties or early forties, expressed a restlessness with their adult, working lives and a desire for adventure, personal renewal and a new challenge (cf. Hoey this volume). ‘I could see how the rest of my life was going to be, and I wanted some challenges,’ said Grace, an American woman who first came to Italy in her early thirties for a year of study and travel. Many such women linked their restlessness to extensive experiences of living and working abroad and a ‘habit’ of global mobility. Like many lifestyle migrants, high levels of prior geographic mobility for work or tourism often preceded migration (cf. O’Reilly 2000). Kate, a Canadian teacher, taught French in England for many summers before coming to Italy in her early thirties, while Anna, a British woman who travelled extensively for her work, had lived for a year in Australia before she moved to try out a new life in Italy. Such stories illustrate how the uncertainty and change inherent in modern industrial life and the employment careers that such women engaged in had been positively internalized as a ‘lifestyle choice’: the never-ending pursuit of fulfilment, the avoidance of boredom and the promise of ‘more to life’ (Rouse 1995). Like all tourists, the Italy that Anglo women sought existed largely within their imaginations and ‘tourist gaze’ (Urry 1990). Pre-migration ideas of Italy, Tuscany and Florence centred on decontexualized and generic images of sunshine, the rural idyll, high culture and art, romantic and exotic men, and good food
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and wine. ‘I didn’t even bring a raincoat,’ Bess explained. ‘It was Sunny Italy!’ Many studies of lifestyle migration have focused on the ‘rural idyll’ within urban Western societies that leads to the veneration of the countryside as a touristic/ migration space (see for example Gustafson 2002; Benson 2007). While the countryside typically represents tradition, the past, moral purity, social solidarity and simplicity, urban spaces are seen as profane sites of industrial, urban sprawl, moral corruption and decay, and social alienation (Williams 1975). By contrast, this study shows that Florence represented a morally positive ‘urban idyll’. While home cities like Los Angeles, London or New York were regarded as disenchanted modernity par excellence, Florence was imagined to be a ‘traditional’ urban space frozen in time as a ‘Renaissance wonderland’. Experienced as a highly sacred urban space, the city was described as being filled with hundreds of churches, robed nuns and monks wandering down streets, and crumbling tabernacles on every street corner. Through history lessons at their Florentine schools, and visits to the Uffizi gallery, such a space was imagined to be filled with communities of ‘traditional’ artisans and craftsmen from the ‘democratic’ era of the guilds. The participants recalled how even workingclass Italians such as butchers would recite long passages from Dante’s Inferno as they worked. The women’s narratives suggested that, as initially encountered, the city and its inhabitants emanated high culture. The noisy hustle and bustle of Florentine streets was regarded positively, as it originated from people and social interaction rather than the machinery of urban home spaces (cars, garbage trucks, ambulances), and in the 1960s and 1970s Florentine streets were relatively free of cars. Markers of idealized sociality – long lunches and men gathering to chat outside cafes – were taken as signs of a cohesive and close-knit society based on a more ‘natural’ leisure ethic. Such markers were narratively set against the strong work ethic of an Anglo urban culture. The aesthetic consumption of an artistic and bohemian spirit of play was thus crucial to their tourist experience (cf. Waldren 1996; Bousiou 2008). Kim, 54 years old and originally from Britain, explained that when she arrived at age 19 to be an au pair: It was very picturesque, I rented a room off an Italian woman and lived next to an artist; it was a very arty situation in Florence. In fact I signed myself up to the Accademia dei belli arti and did an art course … Back then [Florence] was very provincial Italian … I used to wander around on the streets, there were no cars back then … and just stare up at the buildings in absolute wonder at the architecture and the inner courtyards and the statues on the buildings like Orsanmichele [church].
Against such a touristic imagination, the first real social interaction such young women had with Italians that allowed them to transcend the aestheticized image For historical information on the rise and fall of civic participation and representation in the governance of Florence during and after the Renaissance, see Najemy (2006).
of urban Italy and enter into its cultural, social and linguistic spheres were often romantic encounters with young Italian men. Yet such encounters were also mediated through a range of sexualized stereotypes that travelled with young Anglo women from their home countries and circulated in global imaginative spheres. Contemporary ‘romance tourism’ (Dahles and Bras 1999) involves a range of ‘cartographies of desire’ (Pflugfelder 1999, 1): cross-boarder imagined encounters of love, romance and sex (Constable 2003, 28). As Sarah explained, in the USA there exists a strong ‘romantic notion about falling in love with an Italian. There is a stereotype of the Italian lover … suave and swarthy Latin lover type, very smooth and gracious and old-school courtship and that sort of thing.’ Such fantasies relied on the more generic stereotype of the ‘Mediterranean man’ that has now gained global purchase (cf. Waldren 1998, 14). Anna openly admitted she was more attracted to French, Italian and Spanish men, rather than British, adding with a smile, ‘so I was in heaven here.’ Several women interviewed, although a little embarrassed to articulate it, explained that they were curious just how different the supposed ‘passionate’ Italian man would be as a lover from an Anglo man. Such curiosity reflected ‘notions of desirable otherness’, whereby fantasies of ‘sexual exoticism’ (Farrer 2008, 23) coincided with a youthful quest for personal sexual exploration. Such cartographies of desire thus involve simultaneously imagined selves and unknown, idealized ‘others’ (Waldren 1998, 14). The tourist ethos, or being ‘unfettered and free’ (ibid) was for the young language students intimately bound up with romantic encounters. Out in the restaurants, bars and museums, Anglo women reported that it was easy to meet Italian men. Even in the 1960s, Kim explained, evenings out at a restaurant with a group of young Italian men were commonplace. She understood this interaction as resulting in part from Italian gender relations, and the liminal, relatively free position of foreign women: Italian women were very restricted in what they could do. And they couldn’t go out in the evenings, or even in the afternoons unaccompanied, and they were limited to who the parents would approve of, and even if there were young male students from other nations, they wouldn’t really have access to Italian girls, whereas we foreign girls we were surrounded by foreign boys because we were free, there were no restrictions on us and what we could do. We used to get asked out all the time.
Because of these foreign women’s freedom of movement, their lack of social embeddedness and exemption from normal Italian gender rules, a prolific number of ‘contact zones’ (Pratt 1992, 6) were established within the city’s public spaces for foreign women and Italian men to meet. Younger Anglo women explained that Italian women were now more engaged in public life than the older migrants had earlier observed. Yet they also insisted that Anglo women, commonly referred to in Italian as ‘le Americane’, were still regarded by Italian men as freer and more
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open to engagement with strangers. Today, throngs of bars with English language names catering to mainly American college students fill Florence’s historic centre. At popular nightclubs foreign women usually gain admission for free, and often receive complementary drinks, while a long line of Italian men wait in the queue to enter. The rationale is simple, I was told by several participants: if there are American girls inside, Italian men will pay the cover charge to get in. During temporary periods of living and travelling in Italy, each of the women interviewed met and fell in love with an Italian man who would later become their husband. Nearly all had to return to their home countries when visas expired or courses ended. These relationships would then be maintained long distance, as each woman oscillated between Italy and her home country. This period usually lasted between one to five years, but could extend longer. Mandy, a 34-year-old American, spent nine years living in the US while travelling regularly to Italy to see her Italian boyfriend before she finally moved permanently to Florence and married in 2005. Only once she had completed her doctorate did she agree to move. Mandy was typical of many younger Anglo women who often attempted to finish their higher education and gain professional work experience before committing to living in Italy. This reflected a strong individualist ethos, a decision not to let love define their entire life course, and a desire to maintain their career options and increase their chances of financial independence once in Italy (cf. Lauth Bacas 2002). Once many women moved to Italy, marriage occurred quickly and in response to their precarious legal status as migrants, and a simple marriage in the local commune (town hall) was often needed to secure their right to reside in Italy. Marriage represented both a relational commitment and a pragmatic step. While embedding themselves within a conjugal unit and extended Florentine family, Anglo women simultaneously extended their international geographic mobility and eased future movement between home and host countries. Yet at the same time as opening up spatial mobility on a global stage, for most interviewees marriage and their new lives brought with it unanticipated restrictions and limitations on their social and professional mobility, and unfamiliar and often confronting family arrangements. The transition from the liminal and relatively free touristic phase to that of marriage migration placed Anglo women within a starkly different liminal phase that many found isolating and disempowering. Phase Two: Marriage and Gendered Migration Two areas of Anglo women’s married lives were discussed at length in interviews and everyday conversations in the Anglo community: in-law relations and work. In trying to shift from the euphoric and exciting phase of leisure tourism and ‘fairy This illustrates the common link between tourism and migration, where tourism locations like Florence (or others such as, for example, the Costa del Sol in Spain) later become popular migration locations (see for example O’Reilly 2000, 2003).
tale’ romance to being migrant wives in Italy, many women experienced a prolonged period of difficult adjustment. Dealing with unfamiliar family arrangements and ideals, and finding paid work were two of the most important issues expressed in interviews. This section will illustrate that while the liminal phase of early romance tourism/migration was typified by a quest for and enjoyment of liminal ‘freedom’ and personal exploration, the liminality of the settling down phase was often experienced as limiting choice and eroding self-identity. Instead of attempting to prolong liminality, most tried to curtail it, to become ‘integrated’. Traditional gendered roles had been, voyeuristically, regarded as appealing in their tourist encounters. Picturesque sights of women hanging out washing from their windows, or elderly women wearing black, were signs of ‘quaint tradition’. Only by entering into Italian gendered roles themselves did Anglo women realize the social restrictions entailed within such roles, restrictions that conflicted with the freedom and individualism emphasized during the early youthful touristic phase. As Charsley shows in cross-border Pakistani marriages, ‘as a bride goes to live in her husband’s family home, the nature of her relationship with his relatives are of fundamental importance to the quality of her married life’ (2005, 91). In moving to Florence, many Anglo women found themselves living with or in close proximity to their families-in-law. This virilocal residence pattern resulted most commonly from financial constraint. The new bride usually did not have a job, while her husband was at the beginning of his working life, on a junior salary and often with few personal savings. In one such case, Sarah and her new Italian husband built a house on her mother-in-law’s rural property just outside of Florence. Sarah soon found the physical closeness and ‘interference’ in her daily life from her motherin-law difficult to deal with. In response, she found herself closing the curtains and staying inside the house much of the time. Like many other women interviewed, Sarah explained that her personal space ‘has always been important to me; since I moved out of my parents I have always had my space’. For most, a strong ethos of individual identity and personal freedom was at odds with new hierarchical family arrangements. The ‘geographies of status’ within such marriages were closely tied to the relationship between the new bride and her mother-in-law. (cf. Charsley 2005, 94). Many women felt ‘invaded’ by their mother-in-law’s access to their homes. This situation was understood by many women as part of a wider contestation over the son/husband to be ‘the most important woman in his life’ through providing care. Many women felt their role as wife undermined in their own kitchens, which became key sites for power contestations to play out. On one occasion soon after her marriage Anna went for a short break to England. During this time her motherin-law came to stay in order to cook for Anna’s husband. Anna returned to find her kitchen completely reorganized. ‘I was so angry,’ she recalled. ‘So after that I said she never stays here without me again.’ Kim also found herself trying, as she put it, ‘to protect myself from this lady who would just arrive at my apartment unannounced and start inspecting my pans to see if they were clean enough for
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her.’ Many women felt further undermined when their authority and competency as mothers was challenged by their mothers-in-law and husbands. Kim said: [My mother-in-law] wanted [my daughter] Lydia to have no manners at table, Lydia was very difficult because she never wanted to eat, but at the same time I was taught manners, and so said, sit up straight or don’t eat with your mouth open, and [my mother-in-law] would say, ‘Oh, leave her alone!’ So I was portrayed as this kind of witchy woman … and I found that very difficult. I could never give Lydia chores to do when she was around.
When marriages broke down and ended in divorce, the mother-in-law’s behaviour was often cited as the key reason. ‘My husband was treated like a little prince, physically, mentally,’ Kim said. ‘He was completely castrated as she never allowed him any freedom.’ When Martha separated and moved out of her family home after nine years of marriage, her mother-in-law moved in to take her place as the carer of her husband and children. ‘And now she sleeps in the master bedroom and he sleeps in a single room,’ she said, to provide evidence for how much her exhusband was ‘dominated by his mother.’ ‘Their relationship is so co-dependent,’ she added. ‘I think that really prevented him from having a relationship with me.’ The portrayal of Italian men as infants, ‘as big babies’ as Martha phrased it, or Mammoni (big mummies’ boys), whose arrested development was due to the poor parenting they had received, worked in many women’s narratives to affirm and justify their own ‘un-Italian’ styles of parenting, and their refusal to adopt what they perceived to be typically Italian modes of motherhood. To remain liminal in their status as ‘Anglo mothers’ was, however, to continually mark themselves out as foreign women, and to continue feeling excluded and marginal. Despite all such efforts, many women found being a mother in Italy entailed less personal choice and control than they had anticipated. As a trained Montessori teacher, Charlotte had specific ideas regarding the best way to raise children. She began motherhood in Florence intent on raising ‘Montessori kids’: [It] was very hard, coming to terms with being disappointed with what you had come to believe, that everything is possible and you realize that not everything is possible … you realize you are in Italy and there are no Montessori schools, and you can’t teach things at home that don’t apply to the culture in which you live, because your job as a mom is to prepare your children to face their life everyday. So if you prepare them for Mars and they live here, you are really not doing your job. So … little by little you have to give up that American rigidity, that clenching at all costs to your principles, and for a while there I felt like I was letting go of my entire identity.
Realizing that foreign mothers have only a limited amount of power to influence the enculturation process of their children was for some women highly unsettling.
They came to feel that their own identity was ‘being squashed’, as one woman phrased it, and largely at odds with wider cultural ideals and pressures. In order to exert some parental control and to validate their own cultural backgrounds, most women focused on ensuring their children became highly competent in the English language. The majority of women spoke to their children only in English, and while most women reported that they and their husbands were in agreement that this provided a rich, bilingual home environment, some couples struggled over the predominance of one language. Kim wanted to provide her daughter with her ‘English heritage’ and spoke only to her daughter in English until she was four years old. Kim reported, however, that ‘then she didn’t want me to speak to her in English [anymore] and she refused to answer, and that was the influence of her father, who kept saying to her “you are Italian!”’ For some mothers, speaking English to their children made them feel alienated in Italian public spaces. Upon her permanent return to the US, Dorothy reflected on her experiences of motherhood in Florence: I was very concentrated on being the outsider, the other, the person that didn’t belong here, and my focus was very much when I was in the playground with Timmy and I would say something in English and everyone turns around and looks, and it’s like, oh God, here I am the foreigner again!
Many women thus felt caught in a difficult bind: they could assert their own sense of cultural identity and independence, bearing the cost of an ongoing sense of liminality, or they could attempt to ‘fit in’ and risk losing their sense of personal agency. Not all experiences of being a wife and mother in Italy were, however, recalled as negative. Many women described their eventual incorporation into Italian families positively. Unlike the tourist experience, which they now regarded as superficial and lacking ‘real’ social relationships, becoming a member of an Italian family was like, as Jessy described, ‘finding a community at last’. Many described how, after some negotiation and persistence, their relationships with their in-laws improved, their status increased and they greatly appreciated the childcare and housework support they received. Many admired the close-knit family ties that led people to take good care of their elderly parents, and show children strong affection. A second important arena in which many women experienced disappointment, continued liminality and a lack of choice was employment. Marriage migration often entails downward mobility in relation to paid work (Charsley 2005, 90). Finding work in Italy that was both permanent and rewarding was, for many women, one of their biggest challenges. Women across the generations told similar stories of only finding short-term, undeclared work. Carry, a 60-year-old American who quit university in the US to move to Italy and marry her Italian husband when she was 20, explained that she and other foreign wives were, in the 1960s and 1970s, ‘lucky if we could find work’. Italian employers, she explained,
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‘had a way of hiring you “in the black”, and when you needed to get written up for your pension and medical, suddenly you didn’t have a job and you went off to something else’. Nearly all women interviewed described finding only limited employment sectors willing to hire foreigners. While their English language skills opened doors to the tourism industry, translation work, teaching English and foreign university appointments, women who had previous experience and education within professional industries in their home societies described finding it impossible to restart such careers in Italy. Sarah, who had worked in PR in the US and now worked as an administrator for an American business and earned 16,000 euros annually, described her situation as typical. ‘Professionally, Florence is a tombyard, so a lot of … women, phenomenally gifted women, are being wasted being secretaries.’ Emily, a 40-year-old American married for one year to her Italian husband, had a master’s degree and had been earning ‘decent money’ in the US as a physical therapist. Once she moved to Florence, she discovered, like many foreign women, that her professional accreditation and education were not recognized in or transferable to Italy, and furthermore, retraining would be a long and expensive process. Now she worked two part-time jobs, both of which were only shortterm, renewable contracts. One of her jobs involved teaching on a local American university’s study abroad programme. She pointed out that her boss could, under the terms of Emily’s contract, fire her after three months, at any time, and without explanation. ‘So it’s hard here … I don’t have a pension,’ Emily reflected, ‘and that makes me feel sad sometimes because I left a good job in America to come here, but what can you do?’ Yet, at the same time as complaining about a lack of professional mobility and choice, of ‘being stuck’ in uninspiring work that offered them limited opportunities for financial independence, many women acknowledged that such work at least offered flexibility, and allowed them to maintain their global mobility between home and host societies. Thus Emily enjoyed the fact that once the semester finished at the university, she was free to travel back to the US for several months. While choice was curtailed in one sphere of many women’s lives – a sphere that would have allowed them to become less marginal within local Florentine life – it opened up more choice in another realm, allowing them to maintain strong social connections to their home society through regular time spent with family and friends. Anglo women who ran their own businesses often took advantage of social ties to the home country. Anna’s business success was based largely on her connectedness to Britain and beyond. Having previously worked in the international fashion industry in London, she had the global social ties to build and maintain her foreign client base. Furthermore, she based her business legally in England, which her English accountant assured her was the most beneficial arrangement with regard to bureaucracy and taxation. Therefore, while overall most women experienced liminality as constricting and disempowering in the second phase of migration,
for some younger migrants continued liminality was desired. For this generation, mobility and ‘living in between’ spaces were often an already encountered way of life, and could be advantageous for maintaining global social and economic capital, the adventurous spirit and the quest for novel change. For Anglo women the second phase of migration was a time within which they turned from naive girls into knowledgeable adults. Their youthful and touristic imaginings of life’s open possibilities receded, as they sensed their life courses solidify and take shape. Narratives of the second phase described less romantic dreams, and more strategies and compromises, rewards and frustrations. Yet tourist ideals lived on in settler lives. The tourist process of ‘finding the true self’ in Italy now merged with attempts to maintain degrees of personal autonomy. Anglo women tried to ‘be themselves’ through gaining financial independence and power over their roles as mothers, and through seeking freedom from familial constraint. Phase Three: Retirement and the Return of Playful Liminality Many women noted that with ageing came the chance to renew their mobility. As children moved out of home and off to university, many Anglo women experienced their global mobility increase. Nancy had insisted that she and her husband send their children to the American school in Florence. Not only did she believe that this private international institution provided them with a good education, but she was happy that it gave them the qualifications and language competency to study at US universities. Many Anglo women, like Nancy, had sent their children to study at tertiary level in their home countries, where they believed standards of education and job opportunities were higher. Beyond connecting their children to the home society, the English language was seen by many women as the international language of the modern world. Teaching their children English and educating them abroad was thus bound up with aspirations to turn their children into mobile global citizens with international opportunities (cf. Rodríguez Garcia 2006, 425; see also O’Reilly this volume). Now Nancy’s daughter lived in Tokyo and her son in the US. ‘Thank goodness we have email and phones and we travel a lot, we see them a lot, so it’s okay,’ she said. Modern communication technology created a new virtual mobility for many women later in life, connecting them to their families abroad. The recent low cost of international air travel and telecommunications was also commented upon, as women felt increasingly able to stay connected with old friends and family abroad and travel for extended visits. Moreover, as most women’s financial situations improved over time, many bought second houses in their home countries, often close to where their adult children had settled. Some women inherited houses as their elderly parents died, renewing connections to their hometowns. When children completed school, Anglo mothers were no longer bound to be in Italy during term time. Moreover, for the first time many newly retired husbands
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had the ability to accompany their wives for extended visits to her home country. While most women had travelled back to their home country regularly over the years, most had felt unable to stay for long periods of time because their husbands ‘needed them’ to help run the household back in Italy. Correspondingly, following divorce and widowhood many women chose to remain in Italy, but increased the time they spend in their home countries significantly. As Benson and O’Reilly (forthcoming) note, lifestyle migration is necessarily comparative. It involves contrasting home and host locations (often highly stereotypically) in order to construct morally pure (versus corrupted) spaces where ideal selves can be enacted through lifestyle choices. In the phase of later life and retirement, when choice, leisure and mobility were perceived to have increased, Anglo women described their decision to remain in Florence as relating to the better ‘quality of life’ they could lead. For many, the weather, food and slower pace of life suited them more than what their home countries could offer those in the ‘third age’ (cf. O’Reilly 2000, Oliver 2008). The ideal of the ‘family-oriented’ society continued to hold appeal for many women, especially the treatment of the elderly. Sandra, who returned to England around six times a year to see her mother, explained that: When I am in England I just find it appalling sometimes, my mother’s church, I go with her, I talk to some of [her] friends and they have not seen their children for more than six months and they live only an hour’s drive away, and they never go to see their mothers and these poor ladies are living on their own … how sad is that?
The ideals of Italian society that Anglo women took to Florence in the first phase of migration still held sway in the continuing decision to remain resident in Italy. Such romanticized ideals of ‘traditional community’ had been originally configured around youthful notions of adventure and the exotic. By contrast, in older age such ideals became strongly tied to the perceived ‘strangeness’ and dysfunction of Anglo women’s home societies. Choosing to stay remained, for these lifestyle migrants, an ongoing process, ‘a project rather than an act’ (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming) that required justification and reconciling past motivations and desires with new experiences and expectations. Conclusion This chapter has sought to render more complex the category ‘lifestyle migrant’ by exploring the range of goals, desires and experiences over migrants’ life stages. It has shown both continuity and change. The phase of romantic tourism illustrates that these ‘lifestyle migrants’ emerged at a particular historic moment out of Grand Tourist ideals and practices, an aristocratic tourist era nearing its close with a rich historical legacy in Florence and Italy. Tourism was, furthermore, entangled with
youthful ideals of individual expression and personal development through ‘global life experience’ and adventurous sexual liberation. For many migrants who came later in life, travel to Italy represented an opportunity to avoid subjective stasis. Overall, the narratives of all Anglo women show that tourism was regarded as a highly enjoyable rite of passage, betwixt and between societal responsibilities, expectations and pressures, and suggesting a whole world of possible futures. Narratives of the second phase of migration, which articulated goals for integration and social embeddedness, only weakly expressed the key characteristics of the lifestyle migration paradigm. Most women’s narratives described working hard to become incorporated and to find one’s ‘niche’ and a sense of social power within Florentine life. In contrast to the touristic phase, liminality and exclusion were largely problems to be overcome. Yet the ideals of freedom and independence that ran so strongly through tourist experiences still lived on, as the women narrated ‘battling’ to create individual lives that matched their sense of personal identity. For many younger women, continued high levels of mobility and maintaining ‘a foot in each country’ was regarded as healthy, normal and advantageous, and as vital to their independence and sense of choice. The third phase of migration saw most women’s mobility patterns return them to the centre of the lifestyle migration category, albeit in a very modern form. Now resembling international retirement migrants, Anglo women talked of second homes, communication technology, internationally dispersed kin and sufficient wealth to maintain seasonal residence patterns between home and host society. In narrating all three phases, the women interpreted their experiences in ways that stressed continuity as well as change. The values central to the lifestyle migrant category, those of adventure, individualist identity and personal choice, wove through the women’s lives. For women who had experienced high levels of change, this helped to create a ‘narrative coherence’ in their stories of self. The lesson from such a study is simple but significant: in creating a new category of migrant we should be wary of such a category’s strength to hide the life span developments and changes that migrants experience. We should also pay attention to how migrants themselves make sense of changes in their status over time, and how they redefine their identities in the process. While this chapter may have seemed somewhat complex and ambitious by dealing with three life phases, it has done so precisely to show that we must understand migration patterns as continually transforming in dynamic ways. The quest for personal fulfilment and ‘the good life’ so valued by the lifestyle migrant is, after all, one that is very rarely complete (O’Reilly and Benson this volume; see also Benson 2007). If the subjects of our study are suspicious of stasis, then we, as the constructors of theory, should be equally so.
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Acknowledgements I would like to thank Michaela Benson and Karen O’Reilly, both who provided helpful comments for earlier drafts of this chapter. This research was undertaken as part of doctoral research at the University of Cambridge, with the generous support of the Tertiary Education Commission of New Zealand Bright Futures Trust. I am also grateful to all the women who participated in this study. References Baker, P.R. (1964) The Fortunate Pilgrims: Americans in Italy 1800–1860. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). Beck, U. and Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2002) Individualization: Institutionalized Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences. (London: Sage). Benson, M. (2007) There’s More to Life: British Lifestyle Migration to Rural France. (University of Hull, UK: Unpublished PhD Thesis). Benson, M. and O’Reilly, K. (forthcoming) ‘Migration and the Search for a Better Way of Life: A Critical Exploration of Lifestyle Migration’, Sociological Review. Bousiou, P. (2008) The Nomads of Mykonos: Performing Liminalities in a ‘Queer’ Space. (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Buzard, J. (2002) ‘The Grand Tour and After (1660–1840)’, in Hume, P. and Youngs, T. (eds) The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Charsley, K. (2005) ‘Unhappy Husbands: Masculinity and Migration in Transnational Pakistani Marriages’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11, 85–105. Comune di Firenze. Migranti Le Cifre: edizione aggiornata con dati al 31.12.2005. [website] , accessed 1 February 2006. Constable, N. (2003) Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography and “Mail Order” Marriages. (Berkley: University of California Press). Dahles, H. and Bras, K. (1999) ‘Entrepreneurs in Romance: Tourism in Indonesia’, Annals of Tourism Research 26:2, 267–93. Dolan, B. (2001) Ladies of the Grand Tour. (London: Flamingo). Farrer, J. (2008) ‘From “Passports” to “Joint Ventures”: Intermarriage Between Chinese Nationals and Western Expatriates residing in Shanghai’, Asian Studies Review 32: 7–29. Giddens, A. (1991) Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. (Cambridge: Polity Press).
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Waldren, J. (1998) ‘Crossing Over: Mixing, Matching and Marriage in Mallorca’, in Berger, R. and Hill, R. (eds) Cross Cultural Marriage: Identity and Choice. (Oxford and New York: Berg). Waldren, J. (1996) Insiders and Outsiders: Paradise and Reality in Mallorca. (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Wearing, S. (2002) Volunteer Tourism: Experiences that Make a Difference. (Oxford & New York: CABI). Williams, R. (1975) The Country and the City. (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
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Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retirement Migration Per Gustafson
In the past few decades, international second home ownership and use has grown rapidly and also begun to attract academic attention. Scholars today tend to interpret it as an emerging housing trend, related to developments in mobility, migration and tourism, and reflecting more general themes in social science such as modernity, identity, consumerism and globalization (Buller and Hoggart 1994; Müller 1999; Hall and Müller 2004; McIntyre et al. 2006; Paris 2006). There are several reasons for this trend. More and more people obtain international experiences as tourists or professionals and the facilities for international travel and communication have developed dramatically. Transnationally operating estate agencies and the Internet make information about foreign housing markets more easily available. Economic and political developments have facilitated international mobility and acquisition of property by foreigners in many parts of the world, not least within the European Union (Williams et al. 2004; Paris 2006). One important part of this trend is international retirement migration. For several decades now, Spain has been among the most popular destinations, mainly because of its warm climate and its history of mass tourism. Numerous retirees from northern Europe have thus acquired houses or apartments in areas where they have had previous tourism experiences. Some move to Spain permanently but many pursue seasonal migration (Rodríguez et al. 1998; King et al. 2000; O’Reilly 2000; Casado-Díaz 2004). This chapter examines such seasonal retirement migration between Sweden and various destinations on the Costa del Sol and Gran Canaria (Spain). The concept of ‘lifestyle migration’, as it is used in this book, is clearly applicable to this form of mobility. As will be shown in the following, it involves the migration of relatively affluent persons, in sizable numbers, to a country and to places which they perceive offer an improved quality of life. The migrants often describe this quality of life in terms of a more relaxed and leisurely lifestyle than they have in their home countries. Their seasonal mobility may in fact give an additional meaning to the concept, as the recurrent migration itself becomes part of their lifestyle. The retirees want, as some of them put it, to ‘have the best of two worlds’. This lifestyle combines a desire for mobility and variation with a quest for home. Rather than visiting Spain as tourists, staying at hotels or in temporarily
rented accommodations, the retirees in the present study had chosen to acquire and maintain permanent residences in two different countries. The purpose of this chapter is to explore that decision and some of its implications, by examining the transnational residential strategies that the retired migrants had developed in order to manage their multiple dwellings. Residential Strategies The concept of ‘residential strategies’ has been used in some earlier studies of older persons’ residential mobility, mainly to analyse residential decisions and the use of retirement homes from a life course perspective (Cribier 1987, 43; Ford and Warnes 1993; King et al. 2000, 107–16). The concept is useful here because it emphasizes that persons who acquire second homes need to make a number of choices (Williams et al. 2004). They need to find a suitable dwelling and decide how to use it – when, how often, for how long and for what purpose(s). They need to consider whether and how the second home should affect their use of their ‘first’ home. Having homes in more than one place may involve a host of practical, emotional, social, economic and legal issues which require more or less deliberate choices, in particular when the homes are situated in different countries. Such considerations may indeed be linked to the theme of ‘reflexivity’, with regard to lifestyle and consumption choices, which several theorists claim are characteristic of today’s society (e.g. Giddens 1991). Two further conceptual points are worth making here. First, several studies have shown that second homes today are used in increasingly diverse ways – they may involve not only tourism and leisure but sometimes also work, sometimes retirement, sometimes long-time residence and seasonal migration (Williams and Hall 2000; Hall and Müller 2004). This development may even make the concept of ‘second home’ problematic (Hall and Müller 2004; Perkins and Thorns 2006). At times the ‘second’ home may represent individual biographies and identities to a greater extent than one’s ‘primary’ home. McIntyre et al. (2006) want to avoid the hierarchical distinction between primary and secondary home and therefore use the notion of ‘multiple dwelling’, thus moving the analytical focus to the practices that the different homes engender. The concept of residential strategies serves a similar purpose. Second, the residential strategies investigated here involve homes in two different countries. As Ahmadi Lewin (2005) and others have pointed out, a home is not only a physical place or dwelling but in addition often has a wide range of psychological and symbolic meanings. Studies of migration and transnationalism in particular tend to emphasize a deterritorialized understanding of home, which refers to belonging, identity, community and memories rather than to place (Al-Ali and Koser 2002). Yet, place matters. The psychological and symbolic meanings of home are often strongly connected to physical settings, not least among older persons (Chaudhury and Rowles 2005; Oswald and Wahl 2005), and
Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retiremen
in the context of lifestyle migration the actual dwelling chosen and its particular location may indeed be crucial for the pursuit of ‘the good life’ (see Benson and O’Reilly this volume). Moreover, by exploring the migrants’ concrete experiences and considerations with regard to their dwellings and home places, we can gain valuable insights into other key aspects of lifestyle migration such as mobility, temporality, social ties, risk and cultural difference. The concept of residential strategies is used here to highlight such concrete experiences and considerations. Swedish Retirement Migration to Spain Swedish retirees have been acquiring homes in Spain since the 1960s, and often used them on a seasonal basis in order to benefit from the pleasurable Spanish winter climate. Numbers are difficult to give, partly because temporary residents are often not included in official censuses, partly because many foreign retirees in Spain avoid registration, for fiscal reasons or because they consider the bureaucratic procedures too complicated (Casado-Díaz 2004, 218–19; O’Reilly 2007). A relatively recent handbook for migrants to Spain claims that some 75,000 Swedes are living in Spain ‘for longer periods of time’ (Källström 2003, 10) whereas the Swedish embassy estimates that around 65,000 Swedish live in Spain ‘more or less permanently’ (Sveriges Ambassad Madrid 2007). Neither of these sources says anything about the proportion of retirees. Spanish population statistics (based on municipal records from 2006; www.ine.es) report some 18,000 Swedish nationals living in Spain, about 43 per cent of them being 55 years or older. However, older seasonal migrants are probably far less likely than youth and migrants of working age to appear in official statistics. The socio-demographic background of these retirees is diverse, but several studies indicate that many are former managers, professionals, entrepreneurs and employers (Rodríguez et al. 1998; Casado-Díaz 2006). In the most popular destination areas, the presence of large retired populations has given rise to considerable social networks as well as to shops, restaurants, service providers, news media, churches, clubs and associations for foreign residents of various nationalities (O’Reilly 2000; Källström 2003, 230–81; Gustafson 2008). From the perspective of Spanish authorities and businesses, ‘residential tourism’ is often regarded as an extension of the tourism industry (O’Reilly 2000, 33–5; 2007). Real-estate agents, property developers and building companies have played an important role in developing new settlements, urbanizaciones, in or near the tourist areas, with purpose-built housing for foreign tourists or seasonal residents, often from one or a few particular countries (Casado-Díaz 2004; Huber and O’Reilly 2004; Díaz and Lourés 2006). Several scholars comment on the particular ‘social geography’ that tends to develop in these residential areas, with very dense social networks among the residents but little contact with the surrounding society (e.g. King et al. 2000, 150).
The following analyses use qualitative data. Interviews were made with 44 retired persons (21 married or cohabiting couples and two women living alone), who had access to homes in both Sweden and Spain, and who spent at least three months per year in each country. Couples were interviewed together, in their Swedish homes. The respondents were recruited through a snowballing process which aimed at a varied sample with regard to, among other things, residential history in Spain and time spent each year in Spain and in Sweden. In Spain, 25 respondents lived on the Costa del Sol and 19 on Gran Canaria; in Sweden most of them lived in the southern part of the country. The age of the respondents ranged from 55 to 88 years. The interviews included questions about reasons for acquiring a home in Spain, type of residence in Sweden and Spain, the respondents’ use of their different homes, their sense of local and national belonging(s), and more general questions about living in two different countries. In addition to the interviews, the analyses also use a number of Swedish handbooks for persons considering moving to Spain (Rising 1970; Svensson 1988; Larsson 1989; Valdemarsson and Malmström-Valdemarsson 1989; Hampshire 2000; Carlsén 2001; Källström 2003). These handbooks contain information and advice about housing-related issues and are used as a complementary source of information about the choices and considerations that migrants to Spain need to make. Quotations from interviews and texts in Swedish are translated by the author. A Home in Spain The initial step of the residential strategies examined here is the decision to acquire a home in Spain. The timing of that decision may differ considerably (Williams et al. 2004). Some of the interviewees in the present study had bought a Spanish holiday home while they were still working, sometimes (not always) planning to spend longer periods of time there after retirement. Three respondents had in fact migrated to Spain in their fifties to earn their living there, and then became seasonal residents when they retired. Others had acquired a home in Spain at the time of their retirement, yet others had travelled extensively during their first years as retirees before acquiring a more permanent home abroad. The most important motives for acquiring a home in Spain had to do with climate and especially the warm winters in Spain. The interviewees associated the Spanish climate with improved health, a more active lifestyle, more outdoor activities and more socializing with friends. They generally felt that their quality of life was substantially improved by their stays in Spain. In-depth analysis of these motives indicates, however, that quality of life meant very different things to different respondents (see O’Reilly and Benson this volume). For several interviewees, their winter stays in Spain signified relaxation, pleasure and adaptation to a calmer life as retirees. The Swedish or Scandinavian retiree communities in Spain provided settings that supported this adaptation. For some, spending the winters in Spain
Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retiremen
was also an adaptation to health problems (rheumatism, heart diseases, respiratory problems) from which they suffered less in a warm winter climate. For others, settlement in Spain became a new life project and a way of remaining active even after retirement. Their more achievement-oriented lifestyle might involve taking intensive Spanish language courses, buying an old house to renovate or working on a voluntary basis for expatriate associations in Spain (Gustafson 2001). Apart from the pursuit of a ‘good life’ there may also be economic motives involved in the decision to settle in Spain. While most interviewees maintained Swedish residency, a few had registered as Spanish residents in order to obtain fiscal advantages. Several respondents also mentioned that living costs were lower in Spain than in Sweden, although living costs alone did not appear to be a driving force behind buying a home in Spain. In addition, the decision to settle in Spain may have been facilitated by factors such as previous tourism experiences in Spain, friends or relatives living there (permanently or on a seasonal basis) and, more generally, the existence of Swedish ‘infrastructures’ (clubs, social networks, service providers) which give prospective buyers a sense of security (Larsson 1989, 80). Several of these factors – climate, tourism experiences, social networks and Swedish communities – also had an influence on where in Spain the retirees chose to settle. Climate was mainly an issue when choosing between the Canaries and mainland Spain, whereas the other factors might point towards a specific region, city/town or even residential area. Local amenities and service infrastructures might also be important – shops and restaurants, health care, public transport and perhaps a golf course. Some had considered current or possible future health problems, avoiding houses on steep hills or apartment blocks that lacked elevators. Several respondents had also chosen to live near Swedish acquaintances, sometimes in the same housing estate or block of flats, once again testifying to the importance of social networks (see also Casado-Díaz this volume). Although renting property is not very common, a reflection on the small rental sector within the Spanish housing market (Källström 2003, 66–7; see also King et al. 2000, 113), when it came to housing decisions migrants had to choose whether to buy or rent the Spanish home. In the present study, several respondents had lived in rented apartments during their initial visits to Spain, as they became acquainted with the area and searched for a home to buy. But this was only a temporary measure. A few of these Swedish lifestyle migrants continued to live in rented homes, as they felt that renting gave them more freedom and fewer responsibilities, and (importantly for some) did not require any major investment. Those who owned their Spanish house or apartment, on the other hand, claimed that they felt more at home when they could receive visitors freely and renovate and equip their homes to their own tastes. Buying a home in an attractive area was also, by some respondents, regarded as an investment for the future.
Using Multiple Homes Importantly, the residential strategies of these seasonal migrants concerned not only their Spanish homes, but also their homes in Sweden. Most of them strongly claimed that they felt ‘at home’ in both their Swedish and their Spanish homes, but the contents of these emotional bonds differed. The Spanish homes were generally associated with well-being, meaningful activities and the social community of Swedish or Scandinavian retirees, whereas the Swedish homes often represented family ties, security, memories and continuity. It might be worth noting, though, that several respondents had in fact a longer residential history in their Spanish homes than in their current Swedish dwellings. On balance, however, most interviewees felt that their bonds with Sweden were somewhat stronger than those with Spain (cf. Casado-Díaz this volume), and in case of deteriorating health or the death of a spouse, many considered withdrawing from Spain completely (Gustafson 2001). Such meanings and emotions related to the respondents’ different homes also had an influence on a range of practical considerations and choices which international second home owners need to make (cf. Williams et al. 2004) and which are central to the transnational residential strategies investigated here. Time, Frequency, Duration To begin with, seasonal international retirement migration requires decisions with regard to the time, frequency and duration of the stays in the two countries, and previous studies have shown a great degree of variation and flexibility in this regard (King et al. 2000, 110–112; O’Reilly 2000). Some retirees migrate permanently and only visit their previous home countries a few weeks each summer (or not at all), whereas others choose some kind of temporary migration. The criterion for inclusion in the present study was at least three months’ residence per year in each country. The main motives for such temporary migration concerned climate and social obligations. The interviewees generally spent the winters in Spain and the summers in Sweden. In addition to avoiding the hot Spanish summers, keeping up contacts with friends and relatives (especially children and grandchildren) was the main reason for spending time in Sweden. Some respondents also mentioned a more general desire for variation as a motive for their temporary moves. As for the timing of the moves, those who had houses in Sweden tended to return when the gardens needed to be looked after in the spring. Some had other local obligations in Sweden, for example involvement in clubs or associations. Legal rules might also have an influence. Spending more than half the year in Spain implies a formal obligation to register as Spanish residents. Some wanted to do so for fiscal reasons whereas others tried to avoid it, mainly because they wanted full access to Swedish health care and social security rights (cf. Ackers and Dwyer 2004).
Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retiremen
Some of the migrants only travelled back and forth once a year, usually spending around half the year in each country. This was explained in terms of the long distance between Sweden and Spain – several interviewees found the journeys and the breaking-up from one of their homes trying, and therefore chose not to interrupt their seasonal stays in Spain. Others made several moves each year. Spending a few weeks around Christmas and New Year in Sweden was also quite common – some Scandinavian clubs even organized ‘Christmas journeys’ back to Sweden. Other travel patterns were also reported. For example, one couple made repeated visits of three or four weeks in Spain because of their commitments in Sweden; others would additionally also spend a few weeks in their Spanish homes during the summers. Ford and Warnes (1993, 33–4) point out that residential strategies may involve negotiation between different household members. In the present study, disagreements between spouses appeared in a few cases, and several interviewees claimed that women and men often differed in their preferences. The common pattern (although not without exceptions) was that women wanted to spend more time than men in Sweden, often because of children and grandchildren living there. Some of the couples negotiated and made compromises, and in a few cases spouses travelled independently between Sweden and Spain. Homes in Sweden and in Spain More generally, having homes in two countries often required residential choices, considerations and adaptations in one or both countries (cf. Williams et al. 2004). Economy may, of course, be an issue. Most interviewees in the present study were in a good financial position, but some had to make sacrifices in order to maintain two homes. In contrast to the British retirees investigated by King et al. (2000, 109), though, these retirement migrants would generally not consider selling their Swedish homes. In case of limited economic means it was usually the size and standard of their Spanish home (rather than the Swedish one) that was negotiable. If they could not afford the upkeep of two homes, most of them would, however reluctantly, settle permanently in Sweden. However, one kind of economic consideration might in fact influence the respondents’ housing situation in Sweden, namely the favourable conditions granted by registering as residents in Spain. Spanish residential status entails lower taxes, but Swedish fiscal authorities do not acknowledge that status if applicants own a house of a certain standard in Sweden (Valdemarsson and MalmströmValdemarsson 1989, 51; Källström 2003, 47). Most of the interviewees remained Swedish residents, but a few had sold their Swedish houses and spent the summers in rural cottages in Sweden in order to obtain residential status in Spain. Residential adaptations also occurred for other reasons. Houses need to be looked after and usually require some maintenance and garden work, which was difficult to manage for those who spent much time elsewhere. Some interviewees had bought a smaller house, moved to a rented apartment or sold off a Swedish
summer house to reduce the amount of work and responsibility. One couple had previously owned both a detached house and a rural summer house in Sweden, but after acquiring an apartment in Spain they had sold both houses and bought an apartment in Sweden. As they explained, It suits us, we can close the door and travel and stay away for as long as we want. And in the same way in Spain, we just close the door and go away. And we like it that way. That’s how you plan when you acquire something, you make plans for the future.
Such strategies might influence residential choices in Spain as well as in Sweden. Some bought an apartment in Spain from the start as they wanted to be able to ‘close the door’, others bought a house when they settled in Spain but then, as they got older, moved to an apartment in order to facilitate their transnational life and adapt to a less active lifestyle. Yet several respondents did have houses with gardens (mainly in Sweden), and some even had three homes – a ‘primary’ home in Sweden, a Swedish summer house and a home in Spain. Those who maintained two residences in Sweden often had social reasons for doing so. In some cases one or both of the homes had been in the family for some time, ‘and then the kids say that you mustn’t sell’. In other cases, the size of a house or its location made it a suitable place for family reunions during the summers. Contacts with local friends and neighbours might also be stated as a reason for keeping a residence in spite of practical and economic disadvantages. Such residential strategies might also involve considerations for the future. One couple owned a terraced house in Spain, another terraced house in a Swedish city and a summer house in a rural area in Sweden. At the time of the interview, they felt that their urban residence in Sweden was somewhat superfluous, as they spent relatively little time there. However, in the future, with the possibility of declining health and energy, the urban dwelling seemed more convenient than their more isolated country home. With the future in mind, they spent time in the city each year, maintaining their home and, through socializing with friends, making sure that they had a place within local social networks; this particular residential strategy demonstrates the extent to which they were safeguarding their future. In Spain, it was common for migrants to receive visitors from Sweden. Their children, grandchildren, other relatives, friends and acquaintances were regular visitors, often combining a social visit with a winter holiday in an attractive tourist area (cf. King et al. 2000, 159–61). Some had taken these visitors from Sweden into consideration from the start, buying homes that were large enough for receiving occasional guests. Others had chosen to live in urbanizations or housing estates where temporary visitors could easily hire an extra apartment. In several cases, children or other relatives also used the Spanish homes as holiday homes in the summer season, when the retirees stayed in Sweden.
Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retiremen
With many Swedish retirees vacating their properties in Spain for substantial periods of time each year, there is scope for these properties to become incomegenerating, rented out to tourists (Svensson 1988, 156–61). Housing estates with many foreign residents may even have employed personnel who organize the letting of empty apartments. However, as this chapter later demonstrates, most respondents were reluctant to have ‘unknown’ people living in their houses or apartments with the result that relatively few had experiences of letting their homes and nobody did so on a regular basis. Nevertheless, the question of what to do with your empty property remains pertinent; even when you do not live in it, it needs maintaining. It was often the case that friends, relatives and neighbours as well as employed personnel or commercial service providers were involved in looking after empty homes, taking care of gardens, paying bills, forwarding mail, and so forth. Importantly, then, residential strategies in the context of international retirement migration often involve many other persons than the retirees themselves. Managing Transnational Life Having homes in two different countries implies, more generally, the need to manage a transnational life. Three aspects of this appeared as particularly important in the empirical data and will be considered at some length here: managing mobility, managing risk and managing cultural difference. Mobility Strategies To begin with, transnational residential strategies imply mobility strategies (McIntyre et al. 2006; cf. Gustafson 2001). Depending on the timing and duration of their stays in Spain, the interviewees made more or less frequent journeys between Sweden and Spain. Practical concerns about travel were therefore an important theme in the interviews, and many respondents showed very good knowledge about different travel modes, travel routes, possibilities to obtain cheap airline tickets, and so forth. Before the deregulation of the charter traffic in the early 1990s, when air journeys were quite expensive, those with homes in mainland Spain had often travelled by car. Some still do, and handbooks provide advice about suitable routes, hotels and sites worth seeing on the way (Larsson 1989; Källström 2003). Several Swedish and Scandinavian associations based in Spain also organize journeys between Sweden and Spain or negotiate discounts for their members with bus and airline companies. Those retirees who interrupt their winter stays in Spain for temporary journeys to Sweden often do so in order to see their children and grandchildren. As Urry (2007) points out, a substantial amount of domestic as well as international travel in the world today is in fact generated by social ties and obligations within spatially dispersed networks of family and friends. When regarded from this perspective,
the interviewees’ considerations and expectations regarding visitors from Sweden, as discussed above, may also be interpreted as part of their mobility strategies. Moreover, Urry (2007) suggests a broadening of the mobility concept. He argues that when people strive to overcome spatial distance and maintain social and emotional ties on faraway places, they use not only physical travel but also other forms of mobility: ‘communicative travel’ (person-to-person messages by letters, telephone calls, faxes, emails, etc.), ‘imaginative travel’ (through television, radio, newspapers and magazines, etc.), ‘virtual travel’ (using the Internet) and the physical movement of objects. Nearly all respondents in the present study had frequent telephone contacts with relatives and friends in Sweden during their stays in Spain. Some also wrote letters, while others used fax or email. In addition, most respondents had access to Swedish newspapers and Swedish television and/ or radio in Spain. Those who had been in Spain for some time pointed out that both telephone access and the availability of Swedish radio and television in Spain had been substantially improved since they arrived, which had helped them to maintain contact with happenings and events in Sweden. Having homes in two different countries also tends to imply some physical movement of objects (Hampshire 2000, 110–12). When first acquiring a home in Spain, several interviewees had brought furniture and other fittings with them from Sweden, additionally bringing a lot of luggage with them on their seasonal journeys. In one case, a respondent had brought down three entire sets of kitchen fixtures from Sweden for the three successive Spanish homes where he and his wife had lived! Owning fully equipped homes in both Sweden and Spain was also described by some interviewees as a strategy for reducing the need to bring things with them, thus making it easier to travel and to fully enjoy their access to different homes. Then it’s also an advantage, when you have something of your own, because, in particular when you have doubled, you have almost everything you need down there, and you can travel down quickly if you want, and travel back home quickly as well. You can travel between these places without a terrible lot of planning. You’ve got the things you need. You can really take just a small bag and go.
The mobility strategies of seasonal residents thus involve a range of different mobilities. Physical travel is often complemented by communicative travel, imaginative travel, virtual travel and the movement of objects. The infrastructures for these different forms of mobility – and the ability to use them – are important conditions for the transnational residential strategies investigated here. Housing and Risk The decision to acquire a home in Spain and the further residential strategies engendered by this decision also involve managing risks. A striking feature in both interviews and handbooks were the numerous ‘horror stories’ and warnings
Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retiremen
about things that could go wrong when buying and using a house or apartment in Spain. Many stories concern people who had bought bad or unsuitable dwellings or had been cheated in some way. Examples included homes that were poorly constructed or situated far away from important amenities (Svensson 1988; Larsson 1989; Källström 2003); estate agents or construction companies swindling their clients of the payment, going bankrupt before the purchase is finished, or building houses without necessary permissions from the local authorities (Rising 1970, 6–8; Larsson 1989; Källström 2003); the same property being sold to several different buyers, each one receiving a contract of sale confirmed by a local lawyer (Källström 2003, 74–5). An explanation of some of these incidents can be found in the fact that buyers often have limited knowledge of legal and administrative procedures in Spain and speak little or no Spanish. Making a major investment in Spain under these circumstances is obviously a risky endeavour (e.g. Svensson 1988, 140–1; Alzola 2001). For those who pursue seasonal migration, being away from a home for long periods of time may involve further risks. Several interviewees were concerned about accidents (e.g. water leaks) or burglaries, mainly in their Spanish homes. Some had in fact had their houses burgled and one couple had even moved to a different residential area (in Spain) after having had their home broken into several times. Preventive and precautionary measures were frequently discussed in the interviews. In Spain, several respondents lived in residential areas with some form of surveillance, either in apartment blocks with doorkeepers or in more or less ‘gated’ housing estates. A few respondents even told about patrolling guards watching out for intruders, and most handbooks provide suggestions about various security installations (locks, armoured doors, security alarms). Experiences of crime, or concerns about risks of crime, might thus have a direct influence on residential strategies. Letting the home to tourists or others when the owners stay in Sweden is an alternative to leaving it empty. However, letting is also associated with risks. Several respondents were afraid that their home might be damaged or things stolen if tourists were allowed in. Larsson (1989, 60–61), as well as some interviewees, also point out that if apartments are let for longer periods of time tenants may claim rights of occupation. This might also happen, one respondent said, if Spanish doorkeepers were letting empty apartments without the owners’ knowledge. In addition, several handbooks warn about fraudulent letting agents, who collect the rent and then disappear (e.g. Svensson 1988, 160–61). Another risk, mentioned in both interviews and handbooks, concerns unpaid fees and taxes. Paying bills in Spain may be a problem for those who spend much time in Sweden; in particular, some local taxes need to be paid at specific times and without notice, which foreign residents are often not aware of. Handbooks warn that failure to pay may even lead to forced sale of the property, ‘in many cases without the owner knowing anything about what is happening’ (Källström 2003, 109).
Most interviewees had no personal experiences of serious accidents or misfortunes in Spain, yet many had stories to tell about risks and about problems and accidents that had happened to others. Similarly, the advisory literature is full of warning examples. One possible interpretation is that such ‘horror stories’ express a mix of power and vulnerability that characterizes relatively privileged, economically well-to-do middle-aged or retired persons who buy a home in a foreign country where they lack established social networks and are not familiar with local customs, legal matters and language. This ambivalent position will be further explored in the next section, but from a slightly different perspective. Cultural Difference Having a home in Spain involves encounters with a different culture. It necessitates contacts with Spanish authorities, with Spanish workmen when something needs to be repaired and, at least in some areas, with Spanish neighbours. Such intercultural encounters may be both enriching and frustrating. The advisory literature often gives recommendations along the lines of Larsson (1989, 38): Sweden is Sweden and Spain is Spain. Do not expect everything to be as it is back home in Sweden. And be glad that it is not! If you are positive you see it as part of the charm, if you are negative you just get angry, and what is the point of that? So, a step in the stairs may be slanting. You have not received the tiles that you ordered. The doors of your wardrobe are poorly painted, you think. The Spanish painter does not think so. It is important that you realise from the start that things are different in Spain. In addition, one needs to bring along a good share of humility, and realise that we are guests in a foreign country, even though we gradually adapt as Swedish Spaniards.
The interviewees in the present study usually appreciated Spanish culture and lifestyle (cf. Rodríguez et al. 1998) but in some respects it seemed that this appreciation decreased, and that the recourse to Swedishness became more pronounced, in matters related to the respondents’ homes. An obvious example was that many had chosen to live in areas dominated by Swedish or other foreign residents. This gave them a sense of security, although respondents living in more ‘Spanish’ areas might at times describe urbanizations with many foreigners as artificial and inauthentic (see also Benson this volume). Another example concerns the quality of houses and interior fittings. Some respondents lived in houses built by Swedish building firms, and frequently pointed out their good ‘Swedish’ quality. Others complained about the poor quality of Spanish houses. Similar judgements appear in the advisory literature – even Larsson, in spite of his enthusiasm about Spain being ‘different’, recommends
Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retiremen
houses built ‘on the basis of Scandinavian thinking and knowledge’ (1989, 35). This ambivalence also came forth when interviewees discussed their experiences of Spanish workmen, as Hans and Karin, a married couple demonstrated: Hans: … of course, there is this mañana stuff. If you want something done it may take its time … Karin: One has to accept that … Hans: Yes, it’s not Sweden, you know. Karin: No, that’s what I mean. You have to accept … Hans: You have to accept that. If you want something done in the apartment they say like, yes, we’ll come by between eight in the morning and six in the afternoon, you know. The whole day may pass […] And then you don’t know for sure that they will turn up at all.
Some respondents described Spanish workers as skilful and hard-working, yet several interviews contained accounts about Spanish mañana mentality, often expressing irritation and frustration. There are in fact numerous Scandinavian building firms and workmen in Spain who provide housing-related services to fellow countrymen who do not want to engage Spanish workers (Källström 2003, 230–81; Haug et al. 2007, 216). A related theme concerns contacts with Spanish authorities and officials. Many interviewees complained about bureaucracy and inefficiency in matters related to buying a house or apartment, obtaining a legal ratification of the purchase, having a telephone installed, paying electricity and water bills (sometimes the bills of the former owner!), forwarding mail to the right address, and so forth. Much advice about housing-related issues given in handbooks does in fact concern legal and administrative procedures. Yet, while ‘Spanish bureaucracy’ was generally described as frustrating, a few interviewees also described it as something distinctively Spanish, which was interesting to get to know and a challenge to manage. Accounts about Spanish neighbours, too, displayed a certain amount of ambivalence. Some respondents expressed a positive attitude to having Spanish neighbours and socializing with Spanish people (cf. Huber and O’Reilly 2004). Such cultural encounters might be stimulating and rewarding, they thought, although language was often a problem. Several others were more negative or at least sceptical about having Spanish neighbours who, they thought, had different manners and customs (cf. Haug et al. 2007). All names used are pseudonyms.
On one hand, then, handbooks generally encourage migrants to embrace and learn to appreciate Spanish culture, and a similar ideal was also present in some of the interviews. On the other hand, many interviewees were uncomfortable in their encounters with Spanish people and culture, and to some extent tried to avoid such encounters – not least in matters related to their own homes. Arguably, the ambivalence of the retirees’ residential strategies in this regard partly reflects their privileged but at the same time marginal position in Spanish society (cf. O’Reilly 2007). It may also reflect a certain exoticization of Spanish culture – the notion of Spain being ‘different’ may indeed imply both appreciation and depreciation (Gustafson 2002). Conclusion This chapter has investigated a number of Swedish retirees who move between homes in Sweden and Spain in pursuit of an improved quality of life. It has explored some of the motives behind this form of lifestyle migration, but the main focus has been on its concrete implications with regard to home(s) and residential strategies. The concept of ‘residential strategies’ has been used to capture the considerations and choices that their multiple dwelling necessitates. Importantly, this concept avoids the hierarchical distinction between ‘primary’ and ‘second’ homes. As people become increasingly mobile, their work and leisure patterns increasingly flexible, and their residential conditions more diverse, such a hierarchical distinction cannot always be taken for granted (Perkins and Thorns 2006). In the context of international multiple dwelling, the concept of residential strategies further suggests that residential choices in one country must be understood in relation to residential conditions and considerations in the other country (Williams et al. 2004). When acquiring a home in Spain, and when deciding how to use it, the respondents in the present study had to consider a whole range of social, economic, legal and practical matters in both Sweden and Spain. Geographical distance, social bonds, national legislations and socio-cultural difference stand out as important factors in these considerations. First, although lifestyle migration may sometimes appear as a highly individualistic search for pleasure and a ‘good life’ (O’Reilly and Benson, Introduction), the residential strategies examined here involved not only the seasonal migrants themselves, but also other persons. This has to do with the geographical distance between Sweden and Spain and the desire to develop and maintain social ties, but also, of course, with Spain being an attractive tourist destination. Thus, residential strategies involved relatives, neighbours and employed personnel who looked after homes that were left empty (or rented them out), friends and family from Sweden who came to visit the retirees in Spain, friends and acquaintances (mainly other foreign retirees) in Spain, and sometimes relatives, acquaintances or tourists who used the Spanish homes for shorter tourist stays in the summer,
Your Home in Spain: Residential Strategies in International Retiremen
when the owners had returned to Sweden. Some respondents had in fact made considerations about other users already when buying the Spanish home. Second, also because of the geographical distance, transnational residential strategies involve mobility strategies that tend to be more advanced than in the case of domestic second home ownership. The extended notion of mobility developed by Urry (2007) appears as a useful analytical tool here, as it highlights the interplay between physical travel and other ways of communicating and maintaining social ties ‘at a distance’. Decisions about the timing and frequency of the interviewees’ physical moves between Sweden and Spain were part of mobility strategies that also included telephone and mail contacts with friends and family in Sweden, access to Swedish news media in Spain, and the transport of goods. Third, having homes in two different countries raises questions about legal status and different national legislations. In spite of efforts on the European level to create a ‘European citizenship’, the exercise of citizenship rights in a transnational context may sometimes be problematic and require careful consideration (Ackers and Dwyer 2004; O’Reilly 2007). For example, the respondents in the present study had to choose whether to register as residents in Spain or remain Swedish residents. This had implications for tax levels, for some social insurance benefits, for how much time they were formally allowed to spend in each country and in some cases even for their housing conditions. Fourth, socio-cultural differences produced a certain degree of ambivalence in the retirees’ relationship to Spanish people and Spanish society. The respondents generally were strongly attached to their Spanish homes and to the lifestyle that they had developed there. Most of them also tried, at least to some extent, to follow the recommendations of the advisory literature to embrace Spanish culture and to appreciate Spain being ‘different’. Yet the encounters with such cultural difference were at times quite frustrating, in particular, it seems, in matters related to the respondents’ own homes. The accounts about Spanish neighbours, Spanish workmen, Spanish bureaucracy and Spanish housing standards display a striking mix of appreciation and depreciation with regard to cultural difference. It has been suggested here that this reflects the respondents’ ambivalent position in Spain. On one hand, they generally had a good social and economic standing; on the other hand, they stayed for long periods of time in a country where they were not familiar with the language, legislation and local culture. A further expression of this at the same time privileged and marginal position was the frequently occurring ‘horror stories’ about housing-related risks and misfortunes in Spain. The case of lifestyle migration examined in this chapter – seasonal retirement migration between dual or multiple homes in Sweden and Spain – may seem a marginal one. Yet it is clear that international retirement migration, and crossborder multiple dwelling more generally, is increasing in many parts of the world. Increasing international mobility, higher living standards, the availability through the Internet of information and advertisement about second homes all over the world, together with legal and political developments in some areas are important factors behind this development (Paris 2006). As argued throughout this volume,
social science research needs to pay more attention to recent developments with regard to mobility and globalization – to the opportunities that these developments open up for people’s pursuit of ‘the good life’, but also to the contradictions, paradoxes and ambivalences that they entail. By exploring one individual case and by developing the concept of residential strategies, this chapter has attempted to contribute to that endeavour. References Ackers, L. and Dwyer, P. (2004) ‘Fixed Laws, Fluid Lives: The Citizenship Status of Post-Retirement Migrants in the European Union’, Ageing and Society 24:3, 451–75. Ahmadi Lewin, F. (2005) ‘Elderly Migrants and the Concept of Home: A Swedish Perspective’, in Rowles, G.D. and Chaudhury, H. (eds) Home and Identity in Late Life: International Perspectives. (New York: Springer). Al-Ali, N. and Koser, K. (2002) ‘Transnationalism, International Migration and Home’, in Al-Ali and Koser (eds) New Approaches to Migration? Transnational Communities and the Transformation of Home. (London: Routledge). Alzola, S. (2001) ‘Vardagsjuridik’, Carlsén, J. (ed.) Den vita kusten: Guide till Costa Blancas smultronställen och Spaniens historia. (Stockholm: Sellin). Buller, H. and Hoggart, K. (1994) ‘The Social Integration of British Home Owners into French Rural Communities’, Journal of Rural Studies 10:2, 197–210. Carlsén, J. (ed.) (2001) Den vita kusten: Guide till Costa Blancas smultronställen och Spaniens historia. (Stockholm: Sellin). Casado-Díaz, M.A. (2004) ‘Second Homes in Spain’, in Hall, C.M. and Müller, D.K. (eds) Tourism, Mobility and Second Homes: Between Elite Landscape and Common Ground. (Clevedon: Channel View). Casado-Díaz, M.A. (2006) ‘Retiring to Spain: An Analysis of Differences among North European Nationals’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32:8, 1321–39. Chaudhury, H. and Rowles, G.D. (2005) ‘Between the Shores of Recollection and Imagination: Self, Aging, and Home’, in Rowles, G.D. and Chaudhury, H. (eds) Home and Identity in Late Life: International Perspectives. (New York: Springer). Cribier, F. (1987) ‘Retiring to the Seaside: A Housing Perspective’, Housing Studies 2:1, 42–56. Díaz, F. and Lourés, M.L. (2006) ‘Housing, Tourism and the Real Estate Sector: The Spanish Mediterranean Coast’. Paper presented at the ENHR conference in Ljubljana, 2–5 July 2006, , accessed 17 August 2007. Ford, R. and Warnes, A. (1993) Residential Strategies in Later Life: Focus Group and Interview Study Results. Occasional Paper 38. (London: Department of Geography and Age Concern, Institute of Gerontology, King’s College).
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Giddens, A. (1991) Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age (Cambridge: Polity). Gustafson, P. (2001) ‘Retirement Migration and Transnational Lifestyles’, Ageing and Society 21:4, 371–94. Gustafson, P. (2002) ‘Tourism and Seasonal Retirement Migration’, Annals of Tourism Research 29:4, 899–918. Gustafson, P. (2008) ‘Transnationalism in Retirement Migration: The Case of North European Retirees in Spain’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 31:3, 451–75. Hall, C.M. and Müller, D.K. (2004) ‘Introduction: Second Homes, Curse or Blessing? Revisited’, in Hall, C.M. and Müller, D.K. (eds) Tourism, Mobility and Second Homes: Between Elite Landscape and Common Ground. (Clevedon: Channel View). Hampshire, D. (2000) Spanien: En komplett handbok om ditt andra hemland. (Stockholm: Sellin) [adapted Swedish edition of ‘Living and Working in Spain’, London: Survival Books, 1998]. Haug, B., Dann, G.M.S. and Mehmetoglu, M. (2007) ‘Little Norway in Spain: From Tourism to Migration’, Annals of Tourism Research 34:1, 202–22. Huber, A. and O’Reilly, K. (2004) ‘The Construction of Heimat under Conditions of Individualised Modernity: Swiss and British Elderly Migration in Spain’, Ageing and Society 24:3, 327–51. Källström, S.F. (2003) Drömmen om Spanien. 2nd edition. (Stockholm: Sellin). King, R., Warnes, A.M. and Williams, A.M. (2000) Sunset Lives: British Retirement Migration to the Mediterranean. (Oxford: Berg). Larsson, P. (1989) Din dröm i solen. (Stenungsund: Författarproduktion). McIntyre, N., Williams, D.R. and McHugh, K.E. (2006) ‘Multiple Dwelling: Prospect and Retrospect’, in McIntyre, N., Williams, D.R. and McHugh, K.E. (eds) Multiple Dwelling and Tourism: Negotiating Place, Home and Identity. (Wallingford: CABI). Müller, D.K. (1999) German Second Home Owners in the Swedish Countryside: On the Internationalization of the Leisure Space. (Umeå: Department of Social and Economic Geography, Umeå University). O’Reilly, K. (2000) The British on the Costa del Sol: Transnational Identities and Local Communities. (London: Routledge). O’Reilly, K. (2007) ‘Intra-European Migration and the Mobility–Enclosure Dialectic’, Sociology 41:2, 277–93. Oswald, F. and Wahl, H.-W. (2005) ‘Dimensions of the Meaning of Home in Later Life’, in Rowles, G.D. and Chaudhury, H. (eds) Home and Identity in Late Life: International Perspectives. (New York: Springer). Paris, C. (2006) ‘Multiple “Homes”, Dwelling, Hyper-mobility and Emergent Transnational Second Home Ownership’. Paper presented at the ENHR conference in Ljubljana, 2–5 July 2006, , accessed 17 August 2007. Perkins, H.C. and Thorns, D.C. (2006) ‘Home Away from Home: The Primary/ Second-home Relationship’, in McIntyre, N., Williams, D.R. and McHugh,
K.E. (eds) Multiple Dwelling and Tourism: Negotiating Place, Home and Identity. (Wallingford: CABI). Rising, G.O. (1970) Köpa lägenhet och villa i Södern. (Stockholm: Aldus/ Bonniers). Rodríguez, V., Fernández-Mayoralas, G. and Rojo, F. (1998) ‘European Retirees on the Costa del Sol: A Cross-national Comparison’, International Journal of Population Geography 4:2, 183–200. Svensson, P. (1988) Vårt hem i Spanien. (Stockholm: Sparfrämjandet) [adapted Swedish edition of ‘Your Home in Spain: Before and After the Purchase’, Calpe/London: Institute of Foreign Property Owners, 1987]. Sveriges Ambassad Madrid (2007) Land-PM Spanien. (Madrid: Sveriges Ambassad), , accessed 2 September 2007. Urry, J. (2007) Mobilities. (Cambridge: Polity). Valdemarsson, B. and Malmström-Valdemarsson, C. (1989) Leva och bo i Spanien: Allt du behöver veta och lite till. (Stockholm: Sellin & Blomquist). Williams, A.M. and Hall, C.M. (2000) ‘Tourism and Migration: New Relationships between Production and Consumption’, Tourism Geographies 2:1, 5–27. Williams, A.M., King, R. and Warnes, T. (2004) ‘British Second Homes in Southern Europe: Shifting Nodes in the Scapes and Flows of Migration and Tourism’, in Hall, C.M. and Müller, D.K. (eds) Tourism, Mobility and Second Homes: Between Elite Landscape and Common Ground. (Clevedon: Channel View).
Social Capital in the Sun: Bonding and Bridging Social Capital among British Retirees Maria Angeles Casado-Diaz
This chapter explores social networks between English-speaking retirees located in Calpe, a municipality on the Costa Blanca, Spain. Using the concept of social capital and the device of leisure, this chapter discusses the systems of social relations and types of social capital found within retirement communities consisting predominantly of Britons. Using the concept of social capital as an umbrella, the analysis explores themes related to friendship and community, belonging and identity, and discusses the nature of the retirees’ sociability once they relocate to Spain. It draws on qualitative data gathered through in-depth interviews, group discussions and observation of meetings of members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) Calpe branch. This chapter highlights the salience of friendship and the role of leisure pursuits in the creation of social capital among British retirees living in Calpe. Furthermore, it identifies, following Putnam (2000), the presence of two different kinds of social capital: bonding and bridging. As I argue here, members of the British retirement community in Calpe draw on both, although levels of bonding capital are significantly higher than those of bridging social capital. This chapter builds upon recent research looking into the nature of international retirement migration (IRM) by providing an exploratory analysis of the social contacts and networks developed by these transnational communities of retirees and the role of leisure in social capital generation. International Retirement Migration in Europe In contemporary Europe, IRM is a phenomenon involving hundreds of thousands of people. Triggered by factors such as increased life expectancy, early retirement, rising incomes and affluence, and the accumulation of tourism experiences, IRM has grown markedly since the 1960s (King et al. 2000), and for increasing numbers of elderly people, IRM is one of several ‘post-retirement’ options (Williams et al. 2000). The reasons behind this form of mobility in later life and the characteristics of those engaging in international retirement migration exemplify the nature of an emerging trend in contemporary societies, that is, lifestyle migration. As argued
by Benson and O’Reilly (forthcoming), the term lifestyle migration encapsulates many forms of mobility experienced by relatively affluent individuals in search of a better quality of life (see also O’Reilly and Benson this volume), with international retirement migration being one manifestation of this trend. In the case of IRM, prior experiences of the migration destination, through previous tourist visits to the destination, ownership of a second home (Hall and Müller 2004) or visiting friends and relatives (VFR) tourism in part help to explain and rationalize migration. Migrant networks thus become part of the process of delineating the search spaces of other potential migrants through VFR tourism, with the existence of an established expatriate community reducing the barriers to later rounds of retirement migration (Williams et al. 2000, 35). An emerging thread of research on IRM relates to the social contacts and network connections of the migrants in both the destination and origin areas (O’Reilly 2000; Casado-Díaz 2006; Gustafson 2008). These studies have examined the extent to which the retired migrants build social relationships with their neighbours and the host society, mostly through leisure-related practices, and how they retain close ties with their relatives and longstanding friends in their home countries through return visits and through visits to their homes from friends and relatives (CasadoDiaz et al. 2004; Huber and O´Reilly 2004; Gustafson 2008). Furthermore, it has been argued that leisure travel plays an important role in sustaining increasingly dispersed social networks and maintaining the social capital of these networks and of the individuals involved in them (Larsen 2008). Thus, it seems that particular forms of tourism, such as VFR tourism, can generate and sustain social capital through facilitating richer and more interdependent patterns of sociability (Larsen et al. 2006). To date, the analysis of the experiences of IRM migrants in their destinations has been much more complete than the analysis of the links that migrants maintain with their original countries. This focus neglects the internationally mobile nature of many international retirement migrants, who are often peripatetic or seasonal (see Gustafson this volume) and, out of both necessity and desire maintain personal ties with their place of origin. In order to study the migrants’ lifestyles and experiences more fully, it is necessary to consider their social activities and practices both locally and internationally – or ‘transnationally’. The nature of the communities that migrants are active in – both within their home countries and receiving societies – remains under-researched. The intensity of such transnational practices and, by extension, the development of transnational communities, are important aspects of IRM. How the migrants create new social contacts in the receiving areas while maintaining the ties with their home countries, the frequency of the social contacts, the mobilities involved in the maintenance of such ties and the nature of these post-retirement, transnational communities are research areas that have just started to develop. It is with these considerations in mind that I present the following exploratory analysis of the social contacts and networks of retirement migrants living in Calpe.
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Retirement Migration, Leisure and Social Capital Leisure, featuring multiple activities and practices, is a feature of the lifestyles of those migrating from north to south at retirement age in Europe, often in concert with expatriate associations that provide social connections (O’Reilly 2000; Casado-Diaz 2006; Gustafson 2008; Oliver 2008). When it is considered that leisure scholars have stressed the role of leisure in the development of social capital and argued the need for qualitative analyses of the types of leisure activities and practices that might facilitate its development (Glover et al. 2005), it becomes pertinent to question how, for British retirees living in Spain, leisure activities give rise to the accumulation of social capital. As I demonstrate in this chapter, their leisure practices, exemplified by their participation in the University of the Third Age (U3A) and other organizations, allow them to come into contact with their compatriots and encourage the creation of social ties and networks. As I explain below, it is their engagement within these that gives rise to the accumulation of social capital. The personal relationships that individuals accumulate when they interact with each other over time, both formally and informally, constitute the essence of social capital. Portes argues that social capital is usually understood as ‘the ability of actors to secure benefits by virtue of membership in social networks or other social structures’ (1998, 6). The concept of social capital thus focuses on the positive consequences of sociability (Portes 1998). According to Putnam (2000) different types of networks give rise to different forms of social capital. The distinction that Putnam (2000) establishes between bonding social capital and bridging social capital is particularly relevant to the study of the migrants’ social networks. He argues that bonding types of social capital refer to close social connections (dense networks) between people and is characterized by strong bonds among family members or among members of the same ethnic group. Bonding social capital might also arise within a particular social group bound together by shared identities, interests and place of residence (Healy 2003). This type of social capital, based on close family and friendship ties, is said to be beneficial to the self-interest of the individual or small groups, and generally good for ‘getting by’ in life (Putnam 2000, 22). Bridging social capital describes the more distant connections between people and is characterized by weaker, but more cross-cutting ties, such as those with friends from different ethnic groups, friends of friends, etc. Bridging capital tends to be inclusive, encompassing people across different social groups and backgrounds, thus encouraging the formation of broader identities and collectivities and, ultimately, social cohesion (Parker and Song 2006, 180). This type of social capital is based on common interest rather than personal closeness or common identification. If bonding capital was good for ‘getting by’, bridging types of social capital are supposed to be crucial to help individuals to ‘get ahead’ in life (Putnam 2000, 19). Nevertheless, this approach overemphasizes the importance of formal social connections, undermining the importance of informal social connections. Putnam’s work has been criticized for
presenting social capital as a ‘cure-all’ for each of society’s many ills (Fielding 2003, 38) and heralded as an ‘unmixed blessing’ (Pahl 2000, 153). As Li et al. (2005) argue, informal ties are a vital source of network resources and social trust, and therefore need to be acknowledged and valued. Social capital therefore has a dual function (Healy 2003). First, social ties, networks and mutual obligations are accumulated over time and used by its members to achieve social, personal or economic gain over time. Second, they are shared or group resources thus constituting a social resource. However, it remains important to recognize that not all the social capital generated is beneficial to communities or, more specifically, to intra- or intercommunity relations. Parker and Song (2006, 180) have argued that bonding capital tends to reinforce group boundaries and identities; it facilitates reciprocity and solidarity among in-group members, often to the exclusion of others. Thus, one adverse effect of strong bonding social capital is that it may serve to exclude particular individuals or groups. Likewise, it has been observed that social capital is not equally distributed among the members of a community. In a recent study of social capital in Europe Van Oorschoot and Arts (2005) have found important differences on levels of social capital depending on class, age and gender. With regard to age and gender, the authors also found higher levels of social capital among older people and women. Gray’s (2009) study of older people in the United Kingdom provides evidence of the significant role of informal social relationships, measured by ‘frequency of talking to neighbours and frequency of meeting people’ (2009, 23), as sources of social support. Recognizing that social networks are facilitated by leisure reveals that participation in certain leisure activities can give rise to the accumulation of social capital. How much social capital exists will depend on the extent of one’s social ties, the size of the social networks in which one is located, the volume of resources held by other members of those networks and network durability or persistence (Glover and Hemingway 2005). Bush and Baum (2001) suggest that leisure and cultural participation might provide individuals with a sense of belonging, support and social interactions, hence assisting them in forming community networks and bonds that are important for social cohesion. Leisure can thus result in strong social ties (Glover and Hemingway 2005; Rojek 2005), acting as a social lubricant for social capital generation (Glover et al. 2005). One question that arises in relation to the communities that retired migrants form concerns the types of social capital generated. To simplify, there is an expectation that bonding social capital will predominate. European older migrants have generally adopted a ‘leisure lifestyle’ and enjoyed the presence of a vibrant expatriate community, particularly on the Mediterranean coast and the islands. For many older residents social life takes place within leisure-based social networks and communities organized according to national origin, and with few contacts with local Spanish inhabitants (O´Reilly 2000; Casado-Diaz et al. 2004; Gustafson 2008). Hence bonding social capital would seem to be apparent.
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However, one might equally expect bridging social capital to be generated. Warde et al. (2005), in their recent analysis of the role that engagement in informal recreational activities plays in social capital formation, have noted that informal social contacts may be especially important in generating ‘bridging’ and ‘boundary-spanning’ types of social capital. According to these authors, social capital deriving from voluntary association membership facilitates contact with people unlike oneself, thereby promoting social integration (Warde et al. 2005, 404). Thus the networks of people involved in informal recreational practices seem to be less socially uniform than those of associations and therefore provides more promising ground for the building of bridging capital (Warde et al. 2005). The salience of friendship in the generation of social capital has been much discussed in the literature (Pahl 2000; Pahl and Spencer 2004) and has become a key element in recent sociological debates on individualization and the transformation of intimacy (Pahl and Pevalin 2005, 433). For Pahl (2000, 1) friendship may be seen as ‘an increasingly important form of social glue in contemporary societies’. He argues that there is a growing centrality of personal communities as opposed to geographical communities or work-based communities, communities that might change as the individual moves along the life course (Pahl 2000). The term social capital can thus be seen as an umbrella for explaining the nature of personal communities, social networks and other forms and styles of social connectedness in contemporary societies (Pahl 2000). Friendships might adopt many different forms and the strength of these informal ties will depend on the level of relationship commitment attached to them (Pahl and Spencer 2004). The strength of these nonkin friendships, or ‘weak’ ties, as termed by Granovetter (1973), reflects a mutual liking, affection, common interests and values and is an important resource for both the individual and the community. As argued by Granovetter, ‘the strength of a tie is a combination of the amount of time, the emotional intensity, the intimacy and the reciprocal services which characterize the tie’ (1973, 1361). As I have demonstrated in this section, participation in leisure activities facilitates the creation and maintenance of new social ties and networks. If social capital originates within social networks, between members of a community or group, then the new social networks built by my respondents can give rise to the accumulation of social capital. I therefore investigate below what the migrants’ accounts reveal about social capital and in what ways this is useful to them in their new surroundings. Data and Methods The data in this chapter is based on a case study of the Calpe area, on the Costa Blanca, Spain. Calpe is a coastal town in the north of the Costa Blanca with considerable presence of British retirees, alongside migrants from other countries – notably Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. Calpe and its environs are considered to be among the more wealthy areas along the Costa Blanca.
Property prices are high and most of its local economic activity revolves around the tourism industry. From that point of view, Calpe shares many characteristics with other established tourist resorts along the Mediterranean coast, which have also experienced the development of IRM flows over the last two decades. Access to respondents was gained through an organization called the University of the Third Age (U3A). U3A is a ‘self-help organization for people no longer in full time employment providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly environment’ (U3A website). This organization has local branches all over the UK and abroad, which are charities in their own right and are run entirely by volunteers. The ethos of U3As is to share the expertise of their own members. They are ‘learning cooperatives which draw upon the knowledge, experience and skills of their own members to organize and provide interest groups in accordance with the wishes of the membership’ (U3A website). Activities vary, but examples of groups that are common in U3As on the Costa Blanca include Spanish language groups, computing groups, walking groups, literature and history groups, and travel groups. U3A was directly targeted in this research as it was expected that it would yield considerable data on social capital and leisure. It is not claimed that members of U3A are representative of the broader community of retired migrants – many IRM migrants are not members of U3A. Nevertheless, the membership is large with some local branches, such as the Jávea and Denia branches, exceeding 650 members each and with waiting lists of more than 200 people. There are more than 3,000 U3A members, based in five local branches in the Costa Blanca area. Calpe U3A has 500 members who are, for the most part, British, and, as well as Calpe, it covers two other smaller municipalities, Benissa and Moraira; in these three municipalities, 60 per cent of the residents are of foreign nationality, mostly British (INE 2007). Calpe U3A meets once a month through the year, though it breaks during the summer months as many members return to the UK at that time. A total of 44 groups were active at the time of the research. Many were based around sports (e.g. tennis, snooker), some were focused on arts and hobbies (e.g. painting, choir, mosaics) and also on more ‘casual’ leisure (e.g. dining at home). Others were based on education, such as local history, or Spanish language. The idea is that members form groups around matters of interest to them, and group members share their expertise in a particular area, rather than looking to be ‘taught’ by non-group members. This therefore encourages the creation of social ties and networks. U3As are one of a number of associations that retired migrants might choose to belong to, and in this sense they provide a good example of the lifestyle of IRM migrants. However, it is important to note that the majority of those involved in this organization seem to share socioeconomic characteristics and educational backgrounds and, generally speaking, are middle class. From this point of view, this study concentrates on the group of retired immigrants who have a full social life in their place of residence. This, however, is not common to other groups of older Europeans living abroad with fewer resources who might find
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themselves excluded or marginalized from the local social life (O´Reilly 2007). Thus, the research findings need to be considered bearing in mind the fact that those interviewed through the U3A meetings and organized activities joined this organization with the clear purpose of widening their circle of social contacts once they moved to Spain. From this point of view, U3A members are prone to report high levels of sociability compared with others who might not belong to similar leisure-based groups or associations. The fieldwork consisted of observation of several meetings of the Calpe U3A group and other local U3A branches, a questionnaire (plus an online version available on the websites of several local U3As), group discussions and interviews with key members of this organization from September 2007 to July 2008. This chapter reports some of the findings derived from the qualitative data, mostly from the in-depth interviews and informal discussions with members of the Calpe U3A. Twelve in-depth interviews (mostly with women) and several informal group discussions were conducted at weekly activity-group meetings organized through the U3A. Leisure, Friendship and Community: Social Capital in the Sun The interviews with members of the Calpe U3A support the view that leisure can facilitate the creation of social capital, as argued in the literature (Glover and Hemingway 2005; Glover et al. 2005; Warde et al. 2005). Those interviewed agreed that their involvement in leisure activities, primarily through the U3A Calpe, have enabled them to create new relationships with other members of their community and, gradually, form their own personal informal networks of friends and acquaintances. As one respondent reported: When we first arrived in here [in Calpe] we didn’t know anyone so we looked in the local (English) papers for things to do. We saw the U3A advert and we decided to give it a go. Soon we had met many people and made some friends with whom we started to socialize outside the group’s activities. (Lee, 65)
From this point of view, the U3A represents a starting point for many of the retirees who arrive at the case study area without any personal contacts. Several interviewees said that U3A played a central role in building up their new social networks when they moved to this area. As one interviewee explained: Leisure is extremely important, when you retire; it is the leisure activities that keep us active, the leisure activities that introduce us to new people all the time so we are sort of gaining socially as well as through the activities that we do. (Jackie, 65) All names appearing in the text are pseudonyms.
Another respondent pointed out the role of their local U3A branch in helping those who have only just arrived to build up new relationships: When you first come here you suddenly realize you don’t know a soul, you come to this foreign country and where do you get to know people? It is quite scary actually, I mean, you leave your family, friends you built over the years … so I think a lot of people see the U3A as a way of making social contacts, getting new friends. (Diane, 60)
Social capital, however, requires constant investment over time and, for the retirees, that means active participation and strong commitment to the different activity-based groups and volunteer organizations they belong to. As one woman explained: You need to make a concerted effort of going there every week to build up relationships because you have to, you can be very alone and isolated here. You have to actively seek this, make the effort to make friends, make the contacts that you might need later on. (Lisa, 66)
With regard to the nature of the British community in Calpe, the perception of people interviewed for this project in the main is that the British people living in Calpe are middle class, and that U3A is a middle-class pursuit. On this point, one interviewee said: There are important differences between those living in the north of Alicante (Denia, Javea, Altea) and those living in the south (Torrevieja, Orijuela etc.). In the south you see people who are just replicating their routines back in the UK, like their English pubs, karaokes, bingo nights. They basically want to do the same as they used to do back at home, but in nice weather. In the north, people seem more interested in doing different things, in self-actualization through participation in activity-based classes, learning Spanish, getting involved in groups. I would say there is a clear class distinction between the north and the south, with the north being very middle class and the south being typically working class. (Amanda, 68)
One of the common themes in all interviews was the desire of the retirees to distinguish themselves from those ‘other’ British who moved to the south of the province and are ‘not like them’ at all (see also Benson this volume; Oliver and O’Reilly forthcoming). General comments pointed out the differences in terms of social class among those living in the north of the Costa Blanca and those settled in the south. Based on property prices and environment quality, there is a clear distinction between those who can afford the real estate prices of places such as Calpe, Jávea and Moraira and those who can buy only smaller and
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cheaper properties in resorts such as Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa (Gibler et al. forthcoming). On this point one of the retirees said: Those of us living here (in the Calpe area) are very different to those who moved to places in the south of Alicante, particularly Torrevieja. We all come from the same background … I guess we are all very middle class compared to those living in the south, who are, I guess, very working class. (Lucy, 68)
Such comments were fairly typical. The general impression given by interviewees was one where they see and portray themselves as middle-class people in a middle-class area following middle-class pursuits. The social networks that the respondents move in are socially homogenous – generally middle-class British people – and thus can be considered as promoting bonding social capital. One resident commented, ‘most of our friends are like us, we have many things in common. I guess we are all middle class.’ However, on the topic of social class and heterogeneity of friendships, one respondent noted: I think back in England the social level is far more defined … so you are friends with people from the same sort of group, with the people you are on the same sort of level at work … whereas here, you might end up being friends with people very different to yourself, both ways, people on a higher position or people in a lower position, because you wouldn’t know before you were friends with them … I think it is a great social leveller in here. (Claire, 58)
This perception of a ‘classless’ community was also mentioned by many members of the U3A Calpe but, among a very middle-class group such as this one, it seemed particularly relevant to the less well off. Those with a middle–upper-class status noted that, although they had many friends ‘from all walks of life’ (see also Oliver 2008), as one retiree put it, their ‘hardcore’ circle of friends was very ‘alike’, very homogeneous. The presence of bridging forms of social capital was also explored in the interviews with members of the British community and members of the U3A Calpe. The evidence seems to suggest that, while there are some links with other nationalities, and with the host community, the social networks that these respondents move in are predominantly British and predominantly homogeneous. One exception to this was the collaboration between the U3A Calpe Choir, formed mostly by British nationals, and the local Spanish Choir on a recent concert. Similarly, although most of the volunteering activities organized by the U3A are carried out by British members, the beneficiaries of many of the fundraising events organized by them are organizations with a broader base, or mainly Spanish, such as the local Red Cross or the local elderly home. Overall, very limited bridging forms of social capital were found. This finding is not surprising – U3A is for English-speaking people, but members do exist outside of U3A. Nevertheless, the
links that people tend to report with non-British people are more tenuous. Fairly typical was the experience of one resident, who commented: I would say we socialize mainly with other British people; it is not that we do not want to meet Spanish people but we find it very difficult because our lack of Spanish. But we do have Spanish friends, some neighbours we say hello to and so on and we do have a very good relationship with them. (David, 65)
Speaking of their relationships with members of other migrant groups, one other resident said: We do have some good non-British friends, some of our neighbours are Belgian or German and we meet up sometimes for dinners or coffees. We would like to know more non-British people but the truth is that most of our friends are British. (Jarvis, 60)
This lack of contact with other local groups was mostly attributed to the language barrier. All of those interviewed noted their disappointment for their lack of knowledge of Spanish and pointed out how this lack of language skills hindered the possibility of friendships with Spanish nationals, most to their regret. As one retiree described: I am learning Spanish and use it everyday but you don’t stand a chance, even in shops I use my Spanish whenever I can but it is very frustrating because they answer me in English and I cannot practise my Spanish. So we end up having a conversation where I am talking in Spanish and they are talking to me in English! (Tom, 60)
Another aspect related to patterns of sociability that was reported by interviewees was a greater number of friends in Calpe compared with what they had had in their place of origin. One of the interviewees said, ‘I have more and better friends here than I ever had back in the UK.’ Another said, ‘I think that there is a very tight community here in Calpe, and we look after each other; there are so many people I could turn to if I needed anything. I feel at home.’ The number and strength of friendships in Spain was a recurrent theme among those interviewed. Many retirees reported having more and closer friendships than they ever had back in England, friends who, as one respondent put it, ‘we trust implicitly and we know they only have our best interest at heart, the same that we would do anything to help them’. Most of the interviewees pointed out that part of the excitement of moving to Spain was that ‘element of challenge’, of starting something new. ‘Making a fresh start’ or ‘starting a new chapter in your life’ were recurrent comments (cf. Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming; O’Reilly and Benson this volume), as was the fact that many retirees were in their second or
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third marriages. Another respondent insisted on the different nature of friendship in their new places of residence when compared with England: In England most of our friends were work-related and although they were friends sometimes you felt you couldn’t totally relax because you had your standing within the community to think about. Whereas as you get older and you retire there is freedom, it doesn’t matter anymore, you don’t have to try and impress people, you can relax, you can be yourself and enjoy other people. (Diane, 60)
This idea of making a fresh start, perhaps following the beginning of a new relationship, a divorce or the children leaving home, was reported as one of the attractions of moving away from home: Here you have the opportunity to meet people and be yourself, you are not the mother of anyone or the wife of anyone, you are just yourself. I enjoy not having any pressure from anyone, being myself, and I only socialize with people I really like. (Trisha, 55)
The findings also fit the theoretical assumptions underpinning Pahl and Spencer’s work (2004, 2006) on the process of suffusion between familial and non-familial relationships by which friends and family may play similar roles. Most retirees pointed out the salience of their newly established friendships in Spain and how these new social relationships substituted to a certain extent for familial ties and friendships back in England. The shift towards ‘chosen relationships’, as argued by Pahl and Spencer (2004, 2006), was also evidenced in the respondents’ interviews. This element of ‘personal choice’ in the sphere of friendships was highly valued by those interviewed, as demonstrated in the following quotations: (In Spain) you choose your friends, people you like, have things in common. What is nice too, is because we all left our previous lives behind there is no jealousy, no competition, it is a clean board, and we all come and say hello, I am so and so, and we make our friends from there. (Jackie, 65) Here I have far more friends, because you are on the same boat, whether it is because you are in the same mindset to make the effort to come out here, and probably makes you more a community because you know you might need to call on somebody for help and they might need to call on you for help, and that is the way it goes; you are in a different country, with a different language … you need to rely on your friends. (Claire, 58)
There seems to be a common feeling of reciprocity and solidarity among those interviewed where friendship nearly takes the place of family and where social relationships become the most important social resource to ‘get by’ in their new
lives in Spain. This ongoing process of ‘suffusion’ between kin and non-kin relationships was neatly summarized by one respondent: I have more friends now than I ever had and they are closer, much closer; in a way, they even take the place of your family, become a sort of substitute of your own family, and because we don’t have families here and they don’t occupy so much of our time, it seems we have more time for each other […] as far as I am concerned friends are very important, just like family. (Theresa, 52)
Many of the opinions expressed in the interviews point to two findings. The first is that membership of the U3A – a leisure pursuit – has led to the creation of social networks, which in turn have generated social capital between group members. The second finding is that the main form of social capital that appears to be generated is bonding social capital. The English-speaking community in Calpe is a community bonded by nationality, language, class and interests, succinctly summarized in the words of one female respondents in the following manner: What unites us, really, is that it is not easy living in a different country where you are not that good at the language; we are all away from home, we are all away from our families, and I think this gives us a very strong feeling of identity within the community. (Diane, 60)
It is apparent that their newly formed interpersonal ties provide them with the necessary social support, sense of belonging and social identity to be able to face this new stage of their life course. Within this community, the U3A builds on this sense of common identity. Members define themselves as middle class, educated and active, and seek out like-minded people, or, as one respondent put it, ‘people like us’. Hence group members bond with each other, rather than with other individuals or social groups. Often, respondents volunteer that they do have friends from other nationalities – either from Spain or other European countries – but when pressed these often turn out to be acquaintances with whom the respondent has little contact. Also, the U3A is English-speaking, and it is not unheard of to encounter other native English speakers (Americans, South Africans) within the U3A network, or others for whom English is a second language. Overwhelmingly, though, these IRM migrants are bonding within their own fellow nationals, not with the wider local community. Conclusion This chapter has looked into one specific dimension of social capital, that is, social networks and, more specifically, formal and informal sociability, and explored the presence of two different types of social capital, bonding and bridging, among
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members of the retired British community in the Costa Blanca. The results show that both formal and informal social networks provide emotional as well as instrumental support and constitute a vital source of informal help for retired migrants. Also, leisure appears to facilitate both informal and formal relationships among the members of the British community, enabling its members to create new stocks of social capital away from their homes. However, it is mostly through their informal ties, their friendships, that the retirees achieve a sense of community, of belonging and identity away from their home country. Likewise, the social capital generated through their interpersonal ties, mainly with other members of the British community, provides them with the necessary social resources, in the form of both emotional and instrumental support, to achieve the better lifestyle that they aim for with their move to Spain. In terms of types of social capital, the findings show high levels of bonding social capital and limited levels of bridging social capital among those interviewed. The qualitative data also evidence a blurring of the boundaries between these two types of social capital. Although all the interviewees reported having very heterogeneous friendships, when the nature of these friendships was further discussed it transpired that most friends had many shared interests and common backgrounds and, generally, were very ‘alike’. From the retirees’ point of view, personal background did not seem to count as much as place location. They felt that their similar circumstances (being foreigners in a country with a different language and no family support) and their shared interests created a strong feeling of community belonging and contributed to high levels of intra-community reciprocity. As suggested in previous research, bonding types of social capital do seem to reinforce group identities and facilitate reciprocity and solidarity among in-group members (Parker and Song 2006). As one retiree put it, ‘(in Spain) we make better and closer friends very quickly because of the shared culture, the language. We are outsiders and we stick together.’ The findings suggest that social capital arises mainly through leisure participation and social engagement among members of the British community in the Calpe area. Their newly formed networks of relationships provide the retirees with an informal communal system of self-help (through volunteering) and reciprocity and give them a strong sense of community. Furthermore, the network of interpersonal relations developed, mostly, through leisure-related pursuits and activities, enables them to access emotional as well as practical support, a scarce resource for those who have moved to a different country and can no longer rely on the support of family and long-time friends. These findings thus support the increasing role of informal social connections and the role of leisure in social capital generation. From this point of view, friendships appear to substitute, to a great extent, familial ties left behind and, for most respondents, the friendships formed in their new places of residence were stronger and closer than those back in their country of origin. Friendship relationships represented for the retirees their most important social resource. For them, as for Pahl (2000), friendships did form the social glue
of their new life in Spain. Also, there was a greater sense of ‘free choice’ among those interviewed with regard to their new social relationships when compared with their previous lives. Overall, those retirees interviewed report a strong feeling of community inclusion or belonging achieved. In the words of one respondent: We feel at home within the British community, we are a tight community; overall, I think we are all very satisfied with our lives. I think that if I hadn’t moved I would have missed out a lot and I like to think that this will be my home until I die. (Rob, 65)
Acknowledgements This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education Mobility Programme (SB2006-0058). The author would also like to thank the members of the U3A on the Costa Blanca, especially Sandy Bianco, for their help and support with this project. She would also like to thank David Sweeting for his support and kind words over the years and Michaela Benson and Karen O’Reilly for their helpful comments during the preparation of this chapter. References Benson, M. (2007) There’s More to Life: British Lifestyle Migration to Rural France. (University of Hull: Unpublished PhD Thesis). Benson, M. and O’Reilly, K. (forthcoming) ‘Migration and the Search for a Better Way of Life: a Critical Exploration of Lifestyle Migration’, The Sociological Review. Breuer, T. (2005) ‘Alemanes de la tercera edad en Canarias’, in Rodriguez, V., Casado-Díaz, M.A. and Huber, A. (eds) La migración de europeos retirados en España. (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas). Bush, R. and Baum, P. (2001) ‘Health, Inequalities, Community and Social Capital’, in Eckersley, R., Dixon, J. and Douglas, B. (eds) The Social Origins of Health and Well-being. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Casado-Diaz, M.A. (2006) ‘Retiring to the Costa Blanca: a Cross-national Analysis’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32:8, 1321–1339. Casado-Díaz, M.A, Kaiser, C. and Warnes, A.M. (2004) ‘Northern European Retired Residents in Nine Southern European Areas: Characteristics, Motivations and Adjustment’, Ageing and Society 24:3, 353–81. Casado, M.A. and Rodriguez, V. (2002) ‘La migración internacional de retirados en España: limitaciones de las fuentes de información’, Estudios Geográficos 63: 248–9, 533–558.
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Duhamel, P. (2005) ‘Los jubilados franceses en Espana: un enfoque geografico’, in Rodriguez, V., Casado-Díaz, M.A. and Huber, A. (eds) La migración de europeos retirados en España. (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas). Fielding, J. (2003) Social Capital. (London: Routledge). Gibler, K., Taltavull, P., Casado-Diaz, J.M., Casado-Diaz, M.A. and Rodriguez, V. (forthcoming) ‘Examining Retirement Housing Preferences Among International Retiree Migrants’, International Real Estate Review. Glover, T.D. and Hemingway, J.L. (2005) ‘Locating Leisure in the Social Capital Literature’, Journal of Leisure Research 37:4, 387–401. Glover, T.D., Parry, D.C. and Shinew, K.J. (2005) ‘Building Relationships, Accessing Resources: Mobilising Social Capital in Community Garden Contexts’, Journal of Leisure Research 37:4, 450–474. Granovetter, M.S. (1973) ‘The Strength of Weak Ties’, The American Journal of Sociology 78:6, 1360–1380. Gray, A. (2009) ‘The Social Capital of Older People’, Ageing and Society 29, 5–31. Gustafson, P. (2008) ‘Transnationalism in Retirement Migration: the Case of North European Retirees in Spain’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 31:3, 451–475. Gustafson, P. (2001) ‘Retirement Migration and Transnational Lifestyles’, Ageing and Society 21:4, 371–394. Hall, C.M. and Müller, D. (2004) Tourism, Mobility and Second Homes: Between Elite Landscape and Common Ground. (London: Channelview Publications). Healy, K., Ayres, L. and Hampshire, A. (2003) Social Capital and Quality of Life in Geographically Diverse Communities Affected by Rapid Social and Economic Change. (Unpublished conference paper). Healy, T. (2003) Social Capital: Challenges for its Measurement at International Level. (Unpublished conference paper). Huber, A. (2005) ‘Retirados suizos en la Costa Blanca’, in Rodriguez, V., CasadoDíaz, M.A. and Huber, A. (eds) La migración de europeos retirados en España. (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas). Huber, A. and O´Reilly, K. (2004) ‘The Construction of Heimat under Conditions of Individualised Modernity: Swiss and British Elderly Migrants in Spain’, Ageing and Society 24, 327–351. Instituto Nacional de Estadística (2007) Revisión del Padrón Municipal 2007. King, R., Warnes, A.M. and Williams, A. (2000) Sunset Lives: British Retirement Migration to the Mediterranean. (Oxford: Berg). Larsen, J. (2008) ´De-exoticising Tourist Travel: Everyday Life and Sociality on the Move’, Leisure Studies 27:1, 21–34. Larsen, J., Urry, J. and Axhausen, K. (2006) Mobilities, Networks and Geographies. (Aldershot: Ashgate). Li, Y., Pickels, A. and Savage, M. (2005) ‘Social Capital and Social Trust in Britain’, European Sociological Review 21:2, 109–123.
Maynard, S. and Kleiber, D.A. (2005) ‘Using Leisure Services to Build Social Capital in Later Life: Classical Traditions, Contemporary Realities and Emerging Possibilities’, Journal of Leisure Research 37, 475–493. O’Reilly, K. (2007) ‘Intra-European Migration and the Mobility-Enclosure Dialectic’, Sociology 41, 277–293. O’Reilly, K. (2000) The British on the Costa del Sol: Transnational Identities and Local Communities. (London: Routledge). Oliver, C. (2008) Retirement Migration: Paradoxes of Ageing. (London: Routledge). Oliver, C. and O’Reilly, K. (forthcoming) ‘A Bourdieusian Analysis of Class and Migration: Habits and the Individualising Process’, Sociology. Pahl, R. (2000) On Friendship. (Cambridge: Polity Press). Pahl, R. and Pevalin, D. (2005) ‘Between Family and Friends: a Longitudinal Study of Friendship Choice’, The British Journal of Sociology 56:3, 433–450. Pahl, R. and Spencer, L. (2004) ‘Personal Communities: Not Simply Families of ‘Fate’ or ‘Choice’’, Current Sociology 52:2, 199–221. Parker, D. and Song, M. (2006) ‘Ethnicity, Social Capital and the Internet: British Chinese Websites’, Ethnicities 6:2, 178–202. Portes, A. (1998) ‘Social Capital: Its Origins and Applications in Modern Sociology’, Annual Review of Sociology 24: 1–24. Putnam, R.D. (2000), Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Community. (New York: Simon and Schuster). Putnam, R.D. (1995) ‘Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital’, Journal of Democracy 6, 65–78. Rojek, C. (2005) ‘An Outline of the Action Approach to Leisure Studies’, Leisure Studies 24, 13–25. Spencer, L. and Pahl, R. (2006) Rethinking Friendship: Hidden Solidarities Today. (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Van Oorschoot, W. and Arts, W. (2005) ‘The Social Capital of Europe Welfare States: the Crowding Theory is not Proven’, Journal of European Social Policy 15:1, 5–26. Warde, A., Tampubolon, G. and Savage, M. (2005) ‘Recreation, Informal Social Networks and Social Capital’, Journal of Leisure Research 37:4, 402–425. Williams, A.M., King, R., Warnes, A.M. and Patterson, G. (2000) ‘Tourism and International Retirement Migration: New Forms of and Old Relationship in Southern Europe’, Tourism Geographies 2:1, 28–49.
The Children of the Hunters: Self-realization Projects and Class Reproduction Karen O’Reilly
For Zygmunt Bauman the search for utopia in contemporary, liquid life takes the form of an individualized hunt, a self-realization project rather than an attempt to improve wider society. While lifestyle migration, a mobility motivated by dreams and facilitated by at least comparative wealth, can generally be viewed in this light, does this also hold true for the children? This chapter presents material from interviews and conversations with children of lifestyle migrants in southern Spain and examines the validity of Bauman’s perspective. It concludes that while his theories appear to work well in explaining the motivations behind lifestyle migration, he lacks emphasis on the continuing salience of traditional categories and the reproduction of structures of inequality, which remain profoundly relevant even for these very young actors in liquid life. To fully understand the choices children make, the trajectories they weave and the identities they create, we need to invoke the work of Bourdieu and his concepts of habitus, field and capital. Liquid Modernity and the Hunt for the Good Life Zygmunt Bauman distinguishes three phases of history characterized as traditional society, solid modernity and liquid modernity. Liquid modernity is a later stage of solid modernity, which arose as a result of attempts to ‘melt the solids’ of traditional society, to shed irrelevant obligations, rigid hierarchies, traditional loyalties, and customary rights (Bauman 2000, 3). However, according to Bauman, the new order was to be even more solid. People freed from their old ties and obligations were simply expected to locate themselves in new patterns – in classes – to conform to new sets of rules, and to orient themselves to new but clearly defined positions or ideologies; solid modernity thus still sought organization and stability (Jacobsen and Marshman 2008). Liquid modernity extends the impulse of solid modernity but directs its ‘melting powers’ at extant institutions; it is the new reference points, the classes and the newly created patterns of dependency and interaction, that are now subject to liquefaction. Liquid modernity is thus ‘an individualized, privatized version of modernity’ (Bauman 2000, 8). In liquid life (Bauman 2005) we are liberated from lifelong commitments, both in jobs and relationships, free to carve out our own future trajectories without consideration to
closeness of family, consistency in work and so on. We can do this where we like and as we wish. Solid modernity was in effect a search for a better order, a utopian dream. Like a gardener, solid modernity thus attempted to ‘cultivate’ an improved society, weeding out undesirables in the process (Bauman 2004; Jacobsen and Marshman 2008). In liquid modernity utopian dreams are privatized, a personal matter. But liquid modernity is marked by insecurities and fear for the future; we now seek to satisfy our dreams through instant gratification rather than attempt long-term plans. Contemporary utopias, then, are hunted for by individuals rather than socially created (Bauman 2007). Indeed, in liquid modernity we are ‘individuals by decree’, and have no choice but to seek out, or hunt, our own personal, privatized ‘good life’, perhaps through migration to spaces which offer the ‘goods’ we seek. The Reproduction of Inequalities through the Practice of Social Life Pierre Bourdieu’s body of work is best understood as providing a series of concepts to aid the interpretation of the practice of the social world, in the context of external constraints and internalized structures. Key concepts for this chapter are habitus, capital and field. A habitus describes those internalized structures, dispositions, tendencies, habits, ways of acting, that are to some extent individualistic and to some extent also typical of one’s social groups, communities, family and historical position (Bourdieu 1990, 60). Though Bourdieu does not intend his concepts to be applied deterministically, the extent to which an individual’s actions can significantly vary from the usual activities of their social group is limited, even when apparently freed from traditional ties. A habitus is also ‘inculcated by the possibilities and impossibilities, freedoms and necessities, opportunities and prohibitions inscribed in the objective conditions’ (Bourdieu 1990, 54). In other words, what cannot be reasonably expected to happen will not be attempted by even the most avid hunter. Furthermore, even though, as times change, the objective probability of obtaining certain things also changes, the practical experience of one’s early years remains formative (Bourdieu 1977, 79). Generally speaking one is not aware of one’s habitus. The group’s way of thinking appears to the individual as no more than common sense; it is doxic (taken for granted) and therefore somewhat disguised. Though they may be aware that there are ‘people like us’ with similar tastes and styles, individuals believe they naturally have certain predilections, interests, ideas and beliefs, while also believing they can choose to be a certain way as individuals (see Inglis and Hughson 2003). For Bourdieu (1984), however much we believe what we achieve is due to our individual attributes, there remain dominant and subordinate groups, each with their own sets of dispositions and varying degrees of capital. Cultural capital is the prestige associated with practices and the knowledge of respected cultural facts. It includes educational qualifications, the ability to play an instrument and even linguistic capital. Dominant groups do not only possess more cultural capital but
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also have the power to define what the ‘right kind’ of culture is, or the goods that are sought by the hunters, in Bauman’s terminology. They are also likely to possess more economic and social capital. However, as we shall see below, the relevant capitals depend on the relevant social field: that ‘set of objective power relations that impose themselves on all who enter the field and that are irreducible to the intentions of the individual agents or even to the direct interactions among the agents’ (Bourdieu 1985, 724). In lifestyle migration there are those fields created by the migration, marked by national difference, and those fields that persist in spite of migration, marked by social class. The Research Over the past 15 years I have been a peripatetic migrant to Spain, visiting a second home there for several months at a time. This has included three periods of intensive, long-term ethnographic fieldwork, interviews with hundreds of British nationals, and a survey of 340 North Europeans living in Spain, and has culminated in a number of publications (e.g. O’Reilly 2000, 2007; Huber and O’Reilly 2004). As part of this research I also spoke with a lot of children. Most of the stories in this chapter are from children in one international school and so are not representative of all European children in Spain, yet the experiences resonate with children and parents in Spain more broadly. The school follows the English curriculum and takes children from reception to A-level. The intake includes a mix of nationalities, including Spanish, but has a majority of British children. The majority of the research with children was carried out between May and June in both 2003 and 2004, collecting 10 recorded individual interviews, seven group interviews, 48 topical essays and many more informal, unrecorded interviews while sitting and chatting with school pupils in the playground, the school café and the classrooms. In total the study has included over 90 children, most of them British. Escaping the Insecurities and Risks of Contemporary Life The children’s stories about moving to Spain, like those of their parents (O’Reilly 2000; King et al. 2000; Casado-Díaz 2006), reveal a sense of escape from what they perceive as the insecurities, risks and unpredictability of their lives in the UK, and of a fairly Baumanesque, personalized search for new beginnings and a better way of life elsewhere. Afraid or despondent about what the future holds for them, the British moving to Spain have focused on what they believe they can change; and as Bauman (2007) suggests, the physical act of moving to a new home in a The vast majority of my respondents were British and so analysis has centred around this group, and on migration from the UK.
new environment offers the opportunity for instant gratification, a living in utopia not living towards it. Spain, however, remains something of an empty signifier, waiting to be filled with their personal dreams and expectations. It is in many ways an unreal place, an imagined space. One boy explained why his family moved to Spain: I moved here because my family all love it, it’s a much better way of life. I hate England, its very dangerous, it always rains and it’s so dirty. I got mugged at least twice a week, here I’ve only been mugged once. (Boy, Year 8)
Another wrote: Spain is so much better than England for example if you was to watch English news it would just be about people getting killed, raped and kidnapped whereas out here all they say is where the next fiesta is. (Boy, Year 8)
Several of the children’s stories compared the danger in their home country with the safety of Spain: I like living in Spain, because the laws are different and it’s a diference to England. Because in england you have to be indoors by about half seven, well the part of England that I grew up in was not a perticulary nice area, which was Birmingham. People were usually kidnaped from there, a couple of weeks ago two girls were shot coming out of a club, one was killed and the other was severely injured. That’s why we moved out to spain. (Boy, Year 8) The reason why we moved here was because it seems much safer and there’s more possobility that youre going to get kidnapped than what you are in Spain. I didn’t like my home country because it was dangerous and there was lots of gangs. (Boy, Year 8)
Some spoke of how they feared they themselves would end up involved in crime. A father of three told me he moved his family to Spain because it was only a matter of time before his son ‘got into trouble just like all the other lads in that town’ and a boy said his family moved because they themselves were into ‘bad things’:
I often did not know the children’s ages but knew what year they were in at school, so have indicated that, and gender. All interviews and essays were with children in the secondary school, which is organized into school Years 7 to 11. Those in Year 7 are likely to be 11 to 12 years old, Year 8 will be 12 to 13, and so on. Where the quote is taken from a student essay I have not corrected spelling mistakes.
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I moved here because of my dad’s family, they were always steling [stealing] and doing bad things and my mum and dad wanted to make a new start by moving to Spain. (Boy, Year 7)
For the children, the move to Spain is an act of consumption of fun, freedom and nice weather. However, Spain also signifies safety and security, and freedom for the parents from the things that worried them. I find it better living over here because I can stay out longer with my friends, because it’s safer than England. (Girl, Year 8) Living in Spain is very fun and the weather is also very nice because in the summer you can go swimming and go to the beach. (Boy, Year 7) I find it fun living in Spain because I feel safer, as in England I had to be in early because of all the children being kidnapped. In Spain though, I can go out till any time and feel safe … we moved here because of all the trouble in England like mortgages, tax and of course the news about Iraq. So my parents decided to move out here as soon as possible. I think Spain is great as it has hot weather, even at Christmas, and there are not many restrictions in Spain, like paying to go to the beach. In Spain you just go to the beach whenever you want. (Girl, Year 8)
The children spoke so often about freedom that I began asking them to explain the term. Even a Spanish boy told me that Spain is more easy-going, accepting and relaxed than other countries. ‘The Spanish are more free,’ another British boy said; ‘it’s more relaxed here,’ a girl told me. For many, freedom is inherent in the escape from insecurity. I like to live in Spain because there is so much freedom over here. We can play out every day and it is safe because in my community there is special switches behind the gate and only grown ups and people my age can reach it as well. So all the little babys are very safe. I have many friends on my community and I go into town with them. (Girl, Year 7) Back in England, where I lived there used to be a curfew where you used to have to be in by half past eight, cos, like, all the kidnaps and everything, so you couldn’t do much after you got home from school. But over here you can walk round and play out and you feel safe and that. (Girl, Year 11)
For others, freedom is about being able to do or have things previously unavailable; it is instant gratification, like being allowed to have a quad bike when you are only 14. As one girl in Year 11 told me, ‘Well, people are allowed in pubs earlier and they can drink earlier, and like all that kind of stuff,’ while another explained, ‘You
can go, like, clubbing and stuff. You can’t do that in England [laughs] … You are meant to be 18, but they just seem to let you in … They just don’t care.’ It seems clear that these migrant children share their parents’ enjoyment of freedom from constraint. Like many of the parents, Spain signifies holiday, escape, freedom and security – in contrast to the risks and insecurities of the home society. However, this desire for both freedom and security is somewhat paradoxical, as we shall see. The Community Aspired to as Imagined rather than Real For Bauman (2000, 2007), the insecurities inherent in contemporary liquid life lead us to seek community; but while communities promise security they also restrict freedoms, and so community is something sought rather than lived in. It becomes an ideal rather than a reality. Living in communities would mean acknowledging all its ties and responsibilities – its non-negotiable obligations. In liquid modernity the dream of a community, like utopia, has been privatized; it is a personal matter. Individuals therefore wage daily battles against insecurity and risk, yet continue to struggle to retain freedom. Most British people I met in Spain would on the one hand declare a desire to integrate with the host community yet, paradoxically, make little effort to actually achieve this in practice (O’Reilly 2002, 2007). As an expression of their desire to integrate several parents (of all classes) initially sent their children to Spanish school, perhaps hoping they would integrate on their parents’ behalf. But many children found this experience difficult and ended up transferring to international schools. The children described their everyday experiences within the Spanish mainstream schools, complaining that English and Spanish children would play in separate groups, even at opposite ends of the playground, and describing their experiences of bullying or exclusion, from teachers and students alike. ‘I hate Spanish school, you always get picked on if you’re English,’ one boy said, and a girl told me, ‘Spanish schools are so bad. They stick you in the corner and tell you to go back to your own country and that.’ Of course, not all had bad experiences and two children I met were going back to Spanish school so they could improve on their language and mix more, but the following stories were more typical. I have been in Spanish school it was a nightmare I had to be dragged into the school every day because I was so scared to go into school because I was too afraid to go in because I was to scared of being beat up. (Boy, Year 7) When I was in a Spanish school I found the Spanish very racist to me and my English friends. It wasn’t very pleasant. We had the Spanish students picking on Two-thirds of parents in my survey had placed their children in international schools. Many had tried Spanish school first.
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us and calling us and our family horrible names. Espesilly on the days we had football matches. They used to throw [?] and bread crusts at us if we missed a goal or let in a goal. The teaches were horrible because they just tell you to copy loads and loads of lines and my friend could speak Spanish and when the teacher told you to do something and you didn’t know what they were saying I asked my friend what was she saying and she had a go at me. In the class there was about five Spanish students and about 12 English students. (Boy, Year 7) When I moved to Spain I went to a Spanish school and I hated it! Most of the Spanish people were mean to me and my other English friends because we were foreign and couldn’t speak a word of Spanish. My parents moved me and my brothers to an English school because all of our work was suffering and my older brother had to choose his options and get ready to take his GCSEs. (Girl, Year 8)
What these quotes reveal, as well as the awful experiences of some of these children, is the rather weak effort to mix with Spanish children and to learn their language. The last girl admits she could not speak a word of Spanish, and the second quote was from a boy who played football for an all-English team. In practice, the children use these stories to generate a sense of identity among themselves in international school, to justify their lack of integration in Spanish society and their failure to succeed in Spanish school. These children expressed their relief at being moved to an international school. As for their parents, the point of the hunt for utopia is really to escape, or to continue hunting, not to arrive (Bauman 2007). International school, physically located in Spain (with its symbolic freedom) is socially located outwith Spain, and its community obligations. It continues to promise further hunting trips in the future, to other lands, whereas to settle would put an end to such excitement. The Strange Outside Similar stories were told of bullying, teasing and taunting experienced in the streets. Some children believe the Spanish bully them or pick on them because they are blonde, or they look different, or because they are speaking English. Many children called it ‘racism’. I asked one boy, ‘have you had anyone be racist towards you?’ and he replied: Yes, well it happens all the time when you are out with a group of boys and they know you are English. They shout at you, or chase you, or steal your hat. I had my hat nicked. Or they steal your money or beat you up if you don’t give them it. If you go past a group of Spanish boys you’ve just got to not speak English so they don’t pick on you – mostly we just keep out of the way. All my friends are
English. We wanted to make friends with Spanish, but they don’t want to know. You just give up in the end. (Boy, aged 16)
Some have been more directly and physically attacked, like this boy: In Mijas, where we live, we were out and these guys started following us, about our age, so we didn’t want to fight so we carried on biking away, and we biked right into, like, a busload of their brothers, coming off the bus from school, and one of them held, like, a knife to my tire and my neck and stuff. So, that was scary! (Boy, Year 9)
While these are distressing stories describing very real experiences, they also serve to unite the international school students against the threat of the wider Spanish society. It enables the construction of a boundary between ‘us’ and ‘them’, with ‘us’ being the community of children who are in Spain but on its margins, though not in any minority sense. The children believe it is not the Spanish in their school that are the problem but the Spanish in the streets. The Spanish outside the school represent the continuing insecurity and risk of contemporary life. It is therefore a Spain of the imagination that is the safe one discussed above; a Spain imagined and created within their own marginal and temporary communities (see O’Reilly 2000, Waldren 1996). The wider society is deemed just as dangerous as the one they left. Home as a Third Space These children of lifestyle migrants enjoy the freedom Spain offers as well as the safety in contrast to home, but they do not enjoy the strangeness of being in a foreign place (see also Gustafson this volume). However, though the international school is of course mixed in terms of nationalities, the children generally view this mix of nationalities in a very positive light and are happy to be in such an international community. Having abandoned the half-hearted attempt to integrate, the option to occupy a ‘third space’ (Pollock and Van Reken 2001) is all too easily available. One girl summed it up very well: If you are in Spanish school you feel strange because they are all Spanish and you are different, if you are in this school you know they are all different, so it’s not, you know, you all mix. (Girl, Year 10)
Several children stressed, often with a sense of relief, how happy they were in international school and how friendly it was. English is by no means the only language spoken, yet most students consider being exposed to other languages a very positive thing. They say, rather than feeling excluded if they hear people speaking in a language they don’t understand, they gradually start to learn a
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few words themselves in that language. As you listen to other people, ‘you can learn parts of their language’, one boy said; and a girl suggested, ‘it teaches you respect for other people.’ Many students said they had learnt more Spanish in the international school than when they attended Spanish school. Students also talk of the mix of cultures as a very positive thing. Year 7 students in a geography class were especially positive about how being with students from around the world makes their studies more lively and interesting. One boy said, ‘Like, if we have to find out about one country and someone is from there we can just ask them to tell us.’ This international community of children shares in common a sense of community and belonging that is able to balance both freedom and security. Of course, the international nature of this community has a very special flavour. International schools are fee-paying and traditionally attract wealthy, middleclass pupils. In this case the pupils are mostly north European (with a minority of wealthier Spanish children and a smattering of other nationalities). In international school children share the identity of (elite) foreigner, and of temporary migrant belonging to a third space outwith nations. They know their sojourn in Spain is a temporary blip in their trajectory as tourists of life (Franklin 2003). They thus wear this community as a light cloak (Bauman 2000), able to put it on and cast it off (apparently) at will. Tourists of Life I spoke to several children who were finishing school shortly about their plans for the future and they responded as individuals making difficult choices in a variety of contexts. ‘Individualization by decree’ means these children were being compelled, quite early in their lives, to make decisions which would affect their families quite profoundly as well as their own long-term futures. Would they go back to the UK to study and then stay there to work? Would they stay on in Spain and find work or even study? Would they stay a little longer in Spain in international school, knowing that was only delaying the inevitable move to the UK or elsewhere? As Blackshaw (2005) says of Bauman’s thesis, the individual is ‘burdened with choice’, faced at every turn with the need to make decisions. The children were often quite negative about the prospect of staying in Spain beyond schooling, as seen in this discussion of Year 10 students: I’ll go back to go to University and I think I’ll stay over there cos, like, here, I don’t see any, like, job opportunities and, like, I’ve been learning Spanish, like, 8 years and I can’t speak it [laughs] and um. I don’t see anything interesting here. (Girl) I wanna stay here but there’s no jobs, not if you can’t talk Spanish. (Girl)
Lifestyle Migration What stay in Spain and work in McDonald’s? (Boy) Every English person that’s here is either a waiter or an estate agent. I don’t wanna be a waiter or an estate agent (Boy) It seems like there’s no opportunity to study and not so good education here, and you can’t make money over here if you don’t already have a job. (Boy)
Some children appear truly international in outlook and culture. It almost does not matter to them where they live; they feel they can choose from the whole world and there is no hurry to decide. These children live in a society of networks, not structures, and have no need for long-term planning (Bauman 2007). I don’t know. I may go to America, or England perhaps, or maybe Denmark for a while (Boy, aged 17) Yeah, well I think that most people who go to private colleges feel they are going to leave sooner or later. This is my last year, and I think I am going to take a gap year and maybe travel for a bit, but then I am going to go to university either in England or I’m going to go to the states. (Boy, aged 17) I’ve got a feeling I am going to live in lots of different countries. First I will start in America because there they speak English. (Boy, aged 15)
Other children, as we shall see below, do not have such freedom of choice. Tourists and Vagabonds: The Reproduction of the Elite Bauman distinguishes contemporary, nomadic lifestyles in terms of the ‘tourists’ and the ‘vagabonds’; these are stratifying features of liquid life. The tourists (a metaphor for a style of moving, not to be taken literally) have the freedom to decide where and when to move: ‘Those “high up” are satisfied that they travel through life by their heart’s desire and pick and choose their destinations according to the joys they offer.’ (Bauman 1998, 86) The vagabonds, alternatively, move because there is nowhere they can stay. Where solid modernity involved nationstate building, settlement and the sedenterization of nomadic styles of life, in liquid modernity the powerful elites are those who can travel light, and the settled majority are ruled by the nomadic. This, of course, is a serious contradiction in Bauman’s work. If, on the one hand, in liquid modernity identities are fluid, boundaries are broken down and categories no longer fixed, how does one begin to explain the stratification of liquid life? Where do the tourists and the vagabonds come from? In fact, an international school is a field of power, with a postcolonial trace: ‘an institution established to preserve
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the continuity of the western lifestyle and to raise … children uncontaminated by local cultures’ to be the future global elite (O’Reilly forthcoming, page unknown). In this context it is of course not the Western lifestyle that is being preserved, but a class-based one. If children who go to international school are destined to be the future global elite, in international school they are in training for their future touristic lifestyles: they are mixing with other future elites, picking up bits of other languages, making friends from all over the world and preparing for their atomized lifestyles which will not settle anywhere for long. This is why they accept they should learn some Spanish but it need not be in-depth. Listen to this group explaining to me how they communicate with each other. Some of them spoke good Spanish and good English, some spoke one language with more ease than the other. The following is paraphrased from a complicated explanation: So when we are speaking to Jose and Antonio (Spanish boys) we speak Spanish, but if Scott comes along (who doesn’t speak such good Spanish) then we speak English. But, see Paco can’t speak much English at all so if he is there we have to speak Spanish but we have to help Scott a bit too. (Boy, aged 13)
However, as we shall see below, they also denigrate the local community, not wanting to stay there when school is finished, and certainly not wanting to identify with this common mass (Reay 2004). The Continuing Salience of Categories and Classes Despite Bauman’s emphasis on fluidity, change and liquid styles of life, it is clear that the categorizations and fixed identities associated with solid modernity retain a strong influence over actions. Many of the quotes above reflect an appeal to national difference to justify choices and prejudices. Age and gender also remained relevant. Several children told me, for example, it is better to go to Spanish school when you are younger; ‘you have an easier time of it then,’ one boy suggested. And younger children are much more likely to have Spanish friends than older ones. A 14-year-old girl explained the bullying in terms of nationality but also age: ‘in some age groups, they just don’t want to make friends with you ’cause you’re a different nationality.’ And gender matters too: children told me girls seem to have a better time in Spanish school than boys and to suffer less hostility. However, the most pertinent category is social class, revealed in the children’s stories through subtle forms of distinction and as expressions of economic and cultural capital. Identifying together as a global elite, some of the children interpreted the bullying they received as expressions of jealousy on the part of those ‘less well off’: I think perhaps they (the Spanish) are jealous or something, we’ve got better clothes or something. (Boy, aged 17)
Yeah, for example Marbella’s different than Fuengirola, because if you walk around in Puerto Banus you get more trouble than if you walk around here, because they know that the people in Marbella own all the big houses and are worth money. (Girl, age unknown)
One older boy told me: Oh yes, there is a lot of racism … it’s just the younger generation. Perhaps they see that we have more money than them and they want to steal our stuff. (Boy, aged 18)
I asked a few of the groups why Spanish children bully foreigners: ‘how do they know they are foreigners for a start?’ I asked. One Year 10 group said it comes down to clothes, but their denigrations were class-based, drawing on cultural expressions of taste: They can tell by what you’re wearing. I know it sounds stupid but, different countries wear different clothes. (Girl) Yeah, they can tell straight away where someone’s from. (Girl) Can you give an example of that? What sorts of clothes? Cos I don’t know! I’ve never noticed that. (Teacher) You can just tell. (Girl) You can tell the difference between them. (Girl) All the Spanish, well typical Spanish girls I call them, they all go around in tight trousers and tight tops and all the English girls go around in sports tops. (Girl) And the Spanish girls wear them massive shoes as well. You know them really clumpy spice girl shoes [laughs]. (Boy) [Several girls laugh at once] They all dress like their mothers don’t they? and they wear them earrings. (Girl) You look on mufti day, you can tell straight away. (Boy) They look different as well, Spanish people look aggressive, they always look as if they want to kill you. (Boy)
Mufti day is ‘wear what you like to school’ day and is the chance for students to display their own identity through clothes instead of wearing uniform. Clothes
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seem to be very important for identity for these children. Students from several countries told me they buy their clothes when they go back home. One girl said: Well obviously I buy clothes here as well, but I’ve got a lot of clothes from England. And it’s like if I go back to England you just wanna go shopping straight away, because they have the most disgusting shoes out here as well.
I asked a Year 10 group: ‘do you try to look more Spanish in order to fit in?’ and a girl laughed, ‘No way, they dress like their mothers!’ Other girls appeared shocked at my suggestion and agreed with her, ‘Spanish girls are fat,’ ‘Yeah, or if they’re thin they’re really, really skinny.’ Despite the self-realization projects that one can identify in the stories of the children (and their parents), and despite their search for communities to wear as light cloaks, nevertheless the overwhelming significance of these stories is the way categories remain important; and cultural and economic differences especially continue to matter (see also Casado-Diaz this volume). These children’s experiences and identities draw on nation, age, gender and class in order to justify and reproduce their elite status as third-culture kids (Pollock and Van Reken 2001). Bauman’s work spends far too little time considering such structures and the actions which serve to reproduce them. The entire story above could now be retold, if I had the word space, as one of the reproduction of inequality; and what is really interesting is that we can even see global class and national class being reproduced. For, although many of these children are destined to be the elite ‘tourist’ class, others are not (because of their background, resources and habitus). The Continuing Salience of Constraints The particular international school where my research was centred is rather unusual. The headteacher feels that fees have to be kept low as a small percentage of their intake comes from backgrounds that would not normally send their children to private school; ‘but if I charged too much they would not go to school at all’ she told me. In this part of Spain, many working-class British families send their children to international school because they are failing to integrate in Spanish school, failing to learn the language or make friends, are not sure how long they will stay in Spain, have moved during a crucial phase of the child’s education, or want to send their children to the same school as other (foreign) children in their neighbourhood. But these children do not suddenly join the elite, tourist class as a result. Their habitus and capital remain relevant in this new field of power.
Non-school attendance is a growing problem among migrant children in this area (Interview with social worker in Mijas, 2005).
Rather than seeing the world as their oyster, children of working-class backgrounds have two choices when they leave school: they can return to the UK and live on their own or with extended family, or they can stay in Spain and work in what they see as a dead-end job. Their choices are much more constrained by past experiences and resources, by risk, than the children discussed earlier. Many feel the pressure from their peer group to go back to the UK to attend university but the parents are not sure this is the right decision. If they did not go to university themselves they may not have the same aspirations their children have acquired in international school. They often do not have the economic and social resources to support such a decision. I asked one girl who was returning to the UK to take her A-levels how her parents feel, and she said: They are alright. They don’t really like it all that much but they do understand. I mean, Dad is fed up with the school a bit anyway, so he knows I have to go back really, if I want to get on. Mum is not looking forward to it, but she is going to get me a mobile on a contract so I can ring her when I want to. (Girl, aged 17)
A boy told me that his mother doesn’t want him to go back to do his A-levels like lots of kids do because his older brothers are already back in the UK and she misses them dreadfully. A girl who is going to live with her grandparents told me: It’s hard. My parents make me feel guilty every day. Cos they don’t want me to go back. But it’s just something I felt that I had to do. To get what I wanted to do later on – It’s like, I’ve got a life here and a life in England and there’s lots of stuff going on in England that I feel like I should be there for, like now – my uncle’s not well, and my granddad hasn’t been well, and it’s all just been like that. (Girl, aged 16)
These children are forced to make uncomfortable choices about their futures, since the ‘responsibilities for resolving the quandaries generated by vexingly volatile and constantly changing circumstances’ has been individualized (Bauman 2007, 3). But this is more easily understood with reference to Bourdieu, to class and to habitus. For all that they have moved to realize their dreams the parents (the hunters of utopia) take their habitus with them and socialize their children into a class habitus that is cross-cut by nationality. Children are therefore predisposed to act according to their group habitus. After migration they will make friends, and acquire habits, tastes and ways of acting and thinking that are in tune with their parents’ habitus but they will begin to acquire some of the tastes and dispositions of the other children in school. But, even where a habitus is being slowly developed over time and in an entirely new and different set of circumstances from which the habitus of the parents were developed, external conditions will constrain one’s choices and the tendency is to revert to type. Working-class children do not have the freedom to choose where to go next in the world; they are constrained by the amount of economic capital available and their imaginations are curtailed by their
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habitus. They have few resources to cover the costs of a return home, of return visits to Spain or of accommodation in the UK. They have little family history of fluid lifestyles and little knowledge of the world beyond their daily experience. Conclusion This chapter is based on conversations with, and essays from, over 90 children living in Spain, most of whom were British and many of whom attended an international school (following an English curriculum). Overwhelmingly these children’s explanations for moving to Spain describe the fear, risk and uncertainty of the lives they left behind and the freedom, warmth, fun and safety that Spain provides. However, their location in Spanish society is somewhat marginal: they attend international school, make friends within their own, foreign, communities, and are fully aware they are not likely to stay in Spain beyond school life. Spain remains an unreal space they can fill with their imaginings so long as they are uncontaminated though little contact with it. The Spanish society of workingclass children remains for them a dangerous mass, full of its own insecurities and fears; while their international community provides a safe haven in a third space of networks and flows. These children are individuals by decree, apparently free to hunt out their own, privatized version of the good life. They share an identity as global elite, as ‘tourist’ to the Spanish ‘vagabond’, but they wear this community as a light cloak, ready to cast it off and move on when necessary. However, closer inspection demonstrates the continuing salience of former categories and the reproduction of certain stratifying features of social life. Even vagabonds and tourists must come from somewhere, yet Bauman is unable (or unwilling) to explain where. Here, Bourdieu’s theories are much more explanatory. International school children tend to have certain amounts of capital not available elsewhere; they attend school with the habitus (the dispositions, habits and tastes) of those destined to be the global elite; and the school continues to contribute to these internalized structures both through the formal and the informal curriculum. Yet, in a final test of the promise of the self-realization project, this peculiar situation reveals something more. In this particular school, although it is feepaying and elite, there are working-class children who would not normally mix with this stratum. But this does not mean that their class habitus is erased and their capital becomes irrelevant. Indeed, individualism by decree turns them into the vagabonds, who move because they cannot stay. Acknowledgements I would like to thank the Economic and Social Research Council (grant R000223944) for their support for the research on which this chapter is based, and the children (and their parents) for allowing me a glimpse into their lives.
References Bauman, Z. (2007) Liquid Times. Living in an Age of Uncertainty. (Cambridge: Polity). Bauman, Z. (2005) Liquid Life. (Cambridge: Polity). Bauman, Z. (2004) Wasted Lives: Modernity and its Outcasts. (Cambridge: Polity). Bauman, Z. (2000) Liquid Modernity. (Cambridge: Polity). Bauman, Z. (1998) Globalization: The Human Consequences. (Cambridge: Polity). Blackshaw, T. (2005) Zygmunt Bauman. (London: Routledge). Bourdieu, P. (1990) The Logic of Practice. (Cambridge: Polity). Bourdieu, P. (1985) ‘The Social Space and the Genesis of Groups’, Theory and Society 14:6, 723–744. Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul). Bourdieu, P. (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Casado-Díaz, M.A. (2006) ‘Retiring to Spain: An Analysis of Differences among North European Nationals’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32:8, 1321–39. Franklin, A. (2003) ‘The Tourist Syndrome: An Interview with Zygmunt Bauman’, Tourist Studies 3:2, 205–217. Huber, A. and O’Reilly, K. (2004) ‘The Construction of Heimat under Conditions of Individualised Modernity: Swiss and British Elderly Migrants in Spain’, Ageing and Society 24:3, 327–352. Inglis, D. and Hughson, J. (2003) Confronting Culture. (Cambridge: Polity). Jacobsen, M.H. and Marshman, S. (2008) ‘Bauman’s Metaphors. The Poetic Imagination in Sociology’, Current Sociology 56:5, 798–818. Jenkins, R. (1992) Pierre Bourdieu. (London: Routledge). King, R., Warnes, A.M. and Williams, A.M. (2000) Sunset Lives: British Retirement to Southern Europe. (Oxford: Berg). O’Reilly, K. (2007) ‘Intra-European Migration and the Mobility-enclosure Dialectic’, Sociology 41:2, 277–93. O’Reilly, K. (2002) ‘Britain in Europe/The British in Spain. Exploring Britain’s Changing Relationship to the Other’, Nations and Nationalism 8:2, 179–194. O’Reilly, K. (2000) The British on the Costa del Sol. (London: Routledge). O’Reilly, K. (forthcoming) ‘Children’s Moving Stories: How the Children of British Lifestyle Migrants Cope with Super-diversity’, in Waldren, J. and Kaminski, I.M. (eds) Learning from the Children: Culture and Identity in a Changing World. (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Pollock, D.C. and Van Reken, R.E. (2001) Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. (London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd).
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Reay, D. (2004), ‘‘‘Mostly Roughs and Toughs”: Social Class, Race and Representation in Inner City Schooling’, Sociology 35:4, 1005–23. Waldren, J. (1996) Insiders and Outsiders. Paradise and Reality in Mallorca. (Oxford: Berghahn Books).
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A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France Michaela Benson
In this chapter I examine how British lifestyle migrants living in rural France compare and contrast their individual migrations to those of their fellow lifestyle migrants living locally and in other destinations. As the chapter reveals, how my respondents perceive and depict other lifestyle migrants gives insights into the lives they imagine themselves as leading. In this respect, their discussions of ‘others’ reflect the extent to which they see themselves and the lifestyles they seek as distinctive. The ethnography presented here thus demonstrates that for my respondents in the Lot, distinctiveness (contra the indistinctiveness of others) is indicated and gauged by the nature of the place they migrate to; their (expressed) desire and ability to integrate; and their rigorous adherence to the quest for a better and more fulfilling way of life. It seems that the high levels of cultural capital accumulated through these processes of distinction, ironically, confirm the migrants’ position as members of the British middle class. Between 2004 and 2005, I carried out 12 months of ethnographic research into the lives of the British residents of all ages living in the Lot, a rural, inland department in southwest France. Through interviews, the collection of life histories and extensive participant observation, I gained insights into the daily lives of these migrants. As I argue, their perceptions of the migration and subsequent lives of these others reveal an undeniable ambivalence. While they stress the unique nature of their own migration and their lives in rural France, they condemn their compatriots, other lifestyle migrants, for being indistinguishable from one another and for leading unexceptional lives following migration. David Lomax, a retired city worker in his late fifties, clearly expressed this irony during my first interview with him. As he recalled: We all come out here and like to pretend that we’re the only people here; we all like to say, ‘I hope the British invasion stops soon.’ I certainly wouldn’t want to
I present a typology of the different British migrants living in the Lot, based on their context – political, economic, social and familial – elsewhere (see Benson forthcoming). To preserve anonymity and confidentiality, all names that appear in this text and elsewhere are pseudonyms.
Lifestyle Migration live in areas that I’ve heard talked about in the Dordogne, for example … it’s like a British colony.
The migrants’ retrospective accounts of the decision to migrate to the Lot demonstrated that the promise of a different and better way of life had indeed motivated their migration. I witnessed how these stories were told to me as a researcher, but also to an audience of friends and family living back in Britain, through telephone calls, emails, letters, but also in person when they came to visit. The way of life that they had found in the Lot was invariably described as better than the life that they had in Britain, or more fulfilling, as Huber and O’Reilly (2004) describe in the case of retirees in Spain. Indeed, their narratives often drew on the opposition between their memories or imaginings of life in Britain and their experiences of life in France. In addition, they expressed their continued attempts to distinguish themselves from others, emphasizing that their new lives in the Lot were significantly different from those of their compatriots. The quest for a better way of life thus emerged as a never-ending process that they continue to engage in even once living in the Lot. As the ethnography below demonstrates, my respondents were well aware that many other Britons were also choosing to move abroad in search of a particular and peculiar lifestyle. For my respondents in the Lot, the better way of life sought through lifestyle migration (cf. O’Reilly and Benson, this volume) was expressed as the pursuit of difference and distinctiveness. They measured this in contrast to their perceptions of other lifestyle migrants, the distinctiveness of their individualized migration standing out vis-à-vis the mass relocation of these others. They thus implied that their migration was special and unique. I argue in this chapter that my respondents in the Lot distinguished themselves on the grounds that their new lifestyles were more distinctive and therefore different from those of their fellow lifestyle migrants living in other destinations and their compatriots living locally. On the one hand, my respondents marked out the Lot as a location exclusively offering the different way of life that they sought (see also Hoey this volume). On the other hand, they stressed that they could only bring this potential to fruition through their own actions. This focus on their own agency in achieving a better way of life provided further scope for the processes of distinction in which they regularly engaged. Referring to their compatriots living locally, for example, they would simultaneously stress their solidarity and difference from one another, stressing how, in this latter case, they, as individuals, were closer to gaining a better way of life than these others. As I argue in this chapter, the different way of life that the migrants seek remains a relative endeavour; to demonstrate their progress en route to this goal, the migrants compare their lives to those of their compatriots. It seems that the pursuit of a better lifestyle relies upon my respondents’ continued engagement in processes of distinction. Their continued expression of their lives as distinctive from those of others, as evident in the migrants’ narratives about life in the Lot
A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France
and who they choose to distinguish themselves from – namely their compatriots – is extremely telling, reflecting their continued status as members of the British middle class, a classification that the migrants themselves recognize (see also Oliver and O’Reilly forthcoming). Although the migrants achieve a new way of living through their migration, how they present this reveals that their lives before migration still influence their actions following migration. While they stress they have escaped life in Britain, it seems that there are certain aspects of their lives and identities that they simply cannot leave behind. The Decision to Migrate Lifestyle migration has been used to refer to a group of migrants who do not move for the traditionally cited reasons such as work and political refuge, but are primarily spurred by something broadly stated as quality of life (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming; O’Reilly and Benson this volume). This relocation thus emerges as the search for an alternative lifestyle where the quality of life is better (cf. Buller and Hoggart 1994; Barou and Prado 1995; King et al. 2000; O’Reilly 2000; Oliver 2008). Previous literature on the British living in rural France places this quest for lifestyle within a more general middle-class trend towards counterurbanization (Buller and Hoggart 1994) or neo-ruralism (Barou and Prado 1995), with the landscape of rural France offering the potential for a different way of life. As Buller and Hoggart argue, the British in France … are going to cheap, accessible rural areas, where the quality of life is regarded as an improvement on a previous place of residence … counterurbanization is more than a simple search for cheap properties in rural areas. It implies also recognition of a desire for an alternative, less urban lifestyle (1994, 126–7).
The lifestyle that my respondents believe is available to them in the Lot is heavily influenced by their imaginings of the virtues of traditional rural living (cf. Hoey this volume), reflecting the trend towards counterurbanization more generally (Buursink 1986; Champion 1990; Halliday and Coombes 1995). Rural France is thus presented as the rural idyll, characterized as the Britain of 50 years ago, offering a way of living that the migrants believe is no longer available to them back in Britain (Buller and Hoggart 1994; Barou and Prado 1995; Benson forthcoming). It is thus the case that accounts of the decision to migrate reflect both the push and pull factors that motivated their migration (Buller and Hoggart 1994; King et al. 2000; O’Reilly 2000), demonstrating the migrants’ persistent belief that the Lot offers them the potential to lead a different and preferable way of life. As Susan Sparrow, who had retired to the Lot with her husband Trevor in the early 1990s, explained, the British moving to the Lot ‘all want a different way of life’. My respondents described this different way of life in a variety of ways, ranging from their discussions of the improved quality of life to the community spirit that
they witnessed around them. In their accounts, life in the Lot was characterized as offering a slower pace of life and a simpler way of living, a less stressful and healthier lifestyle, having less crime and thus offering a greater sense of security and freedom from the constraints that they had felt on their lives back in Britain (cf. O’Reilly 2000; Oliver 2007, 2008). For example, James and Sian HarveyBrowne, who had left Britain in the early 1990s when James was made redundant, explained that they had been attracted to the Lot by the promise of a better quality of life, defined as: … the quality of food we buy, mainly the vegetables; they’re so much different to what we were used to … they’re, sort of, better quality … the pace of life I suppose as well. That was quite important because it was quite stressful where we were.
They had moved with their four children from the southeast of England, where James had worked for the Civil Service and Sian had been a stay-at-home mum and housewife. As they made clear, they had wanted a better life for their children (cf. Matthews et al. 2000), away from the pollution of southeast England and the material pressures that characterized British life. They had rarely allowed their children to play outside in Britain because of fears for their safety, while in France they did not worry about them at all and allowed them much greater freedom. This focus on the comparative safety of the French countryside and thus the freedom that they allowed their children was representative of the accounts of those who migrated with their families (see also O’Reilly this volume). Safety remained a common feature of the accounts of all my respondents. For example, Anne and Vic Wilson, a retired couple in their sixties, explained that they had taken the decision to migrate after their house in rural Oxfordshire had been burgled three times. Vivian St. John described how she had not felt safe walking her dog at night in rural Wales where she had previously lived. She contrasted this with her account of life in the Lot: It is so safe here … if I wake up in summer, maybe late in the evening, and I hear some noises … I’m up and just stick a jacket on and I go down there with the dog and see what is going on. I’m not afraid … it’s people, who’ve got the floodlights on and they’re playing boules is more likely to be going on, or somebody’s having a late night picnic and I’m invited for a glass of wine.
She also explained that the attitude of young people in the area contributed to her sense of security. While she had felt threatened in Wales, she told me that the young people in the Lot seemed to respect their elders; in the streets of the village, they greeted her and stood aside to let her through. The vulnerability that she had felt in Wales did not seem to be a feature of her life in France. Many of my retired respondents positively contrasted their lives in the Lot to their working lives or with the lives of their retired friends back in Britain. Oliver
A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France
argues that by distinguishing their lives from those of others, northern European retirees living in Spain reinforce their claims to an improved life, ‘positive lives are claimed as much through processes of distancing and relocating negative pictures of ageing – commonly stressing monotony, security and control by other people – onto others …’ (2008, 162). This perception of ageing similarly pervaded the accounts of British retirees living in the Lot. For example, Ron Stampton, a retired managing director of a small insulation company, explained that he had witnessed the boredom that characterized the lives of his retired neighbours back in Britain, who cleaned their houses at seven in the morning and discussed the virtues of various feather dusters at dinner parties. He stressed that he did not want to lead his retirement in this way. In contrast to this negative image of the life retirees led in Britain, Susan Sparrow explained her migration in the following manner: We’d lived and worked in London all our lives and I always feel that it’s like putting old workhorses out to graze. So you come away from it and you find a different life, and people are living longer [in the Lot] … and you’ve already got that spirit of get up and go to come here.
On the one hand, this quotation draws attention to the slow pace of life in the Lot. However, on the other hand, it demonstrates Susan’s belief that she is a ‘pioneer’, with migration demonstrating her ‘get up and go’. This account was representative of the way that many of my retired respondents explained their migration, with migration emerging as a way of gaining agency in their lives and a sense of positive ageing (Oliver 2008). However, there was additionally a sense in the migrants’ account that the southern French culture taught greater respect for the elderly. This perception contributed towards the decision to migrate. As Simon Glass, a 40-year-old migrant who ran a relocation company in the Lot, explained: … it’s very much like 50s/60s England, our social and cultural norms … there’s more respect for the elderly built into the children’s culture … and possibly because of the environment, the elderly are more active … France represents something we’ve lost.
For him and many others, rural France offered a community where people had respect for one another and where people lived longer, unlike Britain. As Simon continued, while he had felt undervalued in Britain, now people stopped to talk to him on the streets and he felt valued. The ill health that he associated with his life in London was a thing of the past. He thus drew attention to the curative properties of the slower pace of life available in the Lot, stressing his recovery from the damages wrought by the 24 hours a day, seven days a week life he had led before migration. Jon and Kay Morris, a married couple in their early forties, similarly expressed their need for a more forgiving pace of life. As Kay explained, ‘That
was part of the reason for coming here, to have more free time and you could have that all the time.’ As the ethnographic vignettes above show, my respondents present their lives in rural France as a way that they escape their persistent dissatisfaction with life in Britain (cf. Hoey this volume; Korpela this volume). For example, one of my respondents told me, ‘I certainly wanted to get away from the lifestyle I had, which was pretty hectic and stressful.’ The migrants’ narratives about the decision to migrate give some insight into the motivations behind this, showing that in all cases migration is prompted by the desire to lead a different and better life than they anticipated having in Britain. In this respect, my respondents’ stories confirm and support the argument that this form of migration is the search for a different lifestyle. However, it is questionable whether this search ends at the point of migration. Talking about Other Britons Although the migrants themselves may believe that migration helps them to achieve this different lifestyle, their stories about life following migration demonstrate that they are still engaged in the process of getting to this distinctive way of living. While migration is no doubt an important stage in this process, their continual discussions of how they are different from their compatriots demonstrate that they have not yet reached their goals. As the ethnography presented below demonstrates, migration operates as a key point distinguishing them from their friends and family back in Britain, but they employ other strategies to set themselves apart from their fellow lifestyle migrants in other overseas destinations, others living within France and their compatriots living locally. By stressing that the different way of life that they seek is uniquely available in the Lot, the migrants present their lives as distinct from those of lifestyle migrants in other destinations. And by presenting themselves as actively working towards a better way of life, while others give up, they mark themselves out from other British residents of the Lot. In their presentations of these various others, the migrants frequently use stereotypical images, which, as McDonald (1997) asserts, are revealing because of what they can tell us of the people who use them. Following Herzfeld (1997) and Theodossopoulos (2003), I stress that it is necessary to interrogate how my respondents employ these and question the significance that they have for them. As I argue below, stereotypes are a further mechanism that the migrants employ in order to distinguish themselves from other Britons. In particular, by emphasizing the negative features of these others, the migrants present themselves in a positive light as though to say, ‘this is what we are not.’ Furthermore, the stereotypes give insights into the idealized lives that the migrants wish they could lead, their hopes and dreams for the future, even if these are currently out of reach. It was common therefore to find the migrants presenting Britons in other destinations negatively, stressing connotations of expatriate living in colonial
A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France
lifestyles. For example, Sian Harvey-Browne, whose parents had lived in Spain for 18 years, explained that the British migrating to Spain, move: … to a community where they do not need the language … They can probably order a couple of things in the supermarket, and that’s about all … In Spain you have, sort of ‘ghettos’ if you like. It’s a horrible word, but you have a community of French … and then you’ve got the Dutch and the Germans. And they’ve even got their own English butcher, their own German butcher.
In this quotation, Sian emphasized that lifestyle migrants in Spain do not need to have any contact with the local population in order to live there. Sian stated adamantly that life in the Lot was in no way similar; she speaks French, her children attend the local French schools and she works for a local hotel during the summer. Furthermore, the English services available in Spain are not available in the Lot. Through these contrasts, Sian stressed that her life was different because she made an effort to communicate and engage with the local French, rather than living in an English ‘ghetto’. Another respondent explained to me that he thought that the Spanish had promoted ghetto living; life in Spain appealed to a certain kind of Briton who did not want the hassle of having to learn Spanish and integrate. Indeed, Spain has flourished on the income from tourism because of their extensive service provision for English-speakers (Rodríguez et al. 1998). These presentations of the British in Spain are representative of the opinions held by many of my respondents and reflect stereotypical images of the British in Spain that continue to be promoted in the British press (O’Reilly 2000, 2001; Oliver 2008). Many of the migrants contrasted these presentations to the lives that they led in the Lot, where there is no English-speaking infrastructure and no geographical concentration of Britons (they live disparately around the department). Further to this, other migrants explained to me that the community spirit they had tapped into in the Lot was not available in Spain, where the rate of crime was high, with British enclaves being a particular target for thieves. In contrast, my respondents in the Lot rarely locked their doors – testament to the safety that they felt the area offered them. Similar themes emerged when the migrants spoke of their compatriots living in the Dordogne, a neighbouring department renowned for its large British population. For example, recalling her initial decision to migrate to the Lot, Sarah Hammond, a migrant in her early forties, told me, ‘The last thing we wanted to do was join an English circle. You know? One of these expat groups, which we knew was very dominant in the Dordogne region.’ Drawing upon these stereotypes of expatriates, Sarah simultaneously distanced herself from other migrants who do participate in the ‘English circle’, from expatriates in general, and specifically from Britons residing in the Dordogne. By highlighting this conceptual difference between themselves and other lifestyle migrants, my respondents in the Lot revealed an important aspect of the lives they sought: to become a part of the (albeit idealized) local French community. Comparing themselves to those in other locations,
my respondents in the Lot stressed that they uniquely had the inclination to do this, feeling that they were more integrated with the local population than their compatriots elsewhere. As James and Sian explained, ‘the English that live in the Lot area are more integrated than the English in the Dordogne.’ Despite their ambitious and idealistic goals for life following migration, the migrants remained wary of the impact that the increasing British population could have on life in the Lot. They demonstrated their fears that eventually the Lot may become as the Dordogne had already become. As Jon Morris described, if this were to happen, their new home could become a less desirable place to live, with its charm and culture eroded. He questioned whether, if this happened, he would still want to live there, or whether he might search for pastures new. Jon and his wife Kay, and many of my other respondents, wanted the Lot to continue offering them the distinctly French life (rather than English life), uniquely available in the Lot that they had moved for. The Dordogne, in contrast, invaded by their compatriots, had become just another hotspot for Britons seeking a life abroad. In the opinions of my respondents, it had lost its distinctiveness and could no longer offer the different way of life that they sought. Their concerns emphasized that they feared the Lot might go down the same route, although it had not yet done so. While the migrants believe that the different and better way of life that they seek is uniquely available in the Lot, it is also clear from the accounts that it is not just there for the taking, reflecting the sense that this is also search for a particular ‘self’-fulfilment. It requires hard work to achieve (see also Hoey this volume). By distinguishing themselves from their compatriots living locally, the migrants demonstrate their progress en route to the better way of life that they seek. Within their discussions of their fellow Britons, they often drew on similar themes to those they had evoked when they talked about the British in Spain and the Dordogne, emphasizing, for example, as one respondent told me that, ‘for a lot of English people here, it’s just one big holiday.’ They largely focused on people’s willingness (or not) to engage with the local population, efforts made to actually live in France and on general behaviour. For example, Ron explained that he found it astonishing that an acquaintance of his who split his time between France and Britain never bought any food in France; he had all his food shipped in from Britain. This was a rather extreme example, but resonance with this pseudocolonial living also featured in other cases. It was common for the migrants to compare themselves to one another on the basis of their abilities to speak French, reflecting once more a key characteristic of the life that they sought: meaningful interaction with the local population. In a part of France where few members of the local population speak English, for those British residents who do not speak French, it could be difficult to interact with the local population. Jon, who spoke French well having previously lived in the Savoie, a department in the Alps, explained that you could get by without French so long as things were going well, but when things started to go wrong, life could become extremely problematic. As he later emphasized, to really live in this part of France, speaking French was vital; it helped when it came to
A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France
becoming integrated into the community and to socializing with neighbours. It also meant that if you came up against problems, you would be able to deal with them confidently, without worrying that you had misunderstood. He had found that acquaintances who could not speak French so well had started to come to him with correspondence that they needed translating. At first, he had been happy to do this, as well as writing responses, but it had increasingly impinged on his time. He finally drew the line when one man came to him with a letter from the bailiffs to translate. But this was not the only area for concern; those who spoke French wondered what would happen when those who did not were ill and had to go to hospital. At that time, would it not be uncomfortable to be in a situation where you could not communicate fully with your carers? However, aside from the undeniable practical benefits of learning French, by drawing attention to the incompetence of other migrants, my respondents highlight their own progress. As Justine Grange, who retired to the Lot after living and working in Hong Kong for 30 years, emphasized, her ambitions ‘to become part of the village’ had come to fruition because she speaks French well. The migrants would also highlight their relative achievements at socializing with members of the local French population to distinguish themselves from their compatriots. For example, Alannah, a retired civil servant, described how she had been thrilled to be invited to the opening of their plumber’s exhibition. As Alannah explained, she and her husband Daniel were the only British residents of the town to be invited to the event. I was surprised, therefore, when Brian and Sally Waites, a retired couple living in the same town, who did not speak a lot of French, told me of their invitation and attendance at the same event. This was not the only case where migrants who did not speak French managed to interact socially with the local population; indeed, these social successes were often used as a way for these migrants to emphasize their distinctiveness. For example, Vic and Anne Wilson, who readily admitted that they could not speak French, had established good relationships with a large family in their village. They taught the grandson English, had drinks and food with the parents in the summer months and exchanged planting information with the grandparents. Vic argued that his relationships with these local people were better than those of his compatriots who spoke more French than he did, stressing that it came down to his friendly attitude towards his neighbours. Other respondents also highlighted that their engagement with the local French exceeded that of their compatriots. As Sarah explained: I think the trouble is because the majority of English people who come here to live are retired and have got lots of money. A high percentage are like that; they
It may seem strange that a plumber has an exhibition, but in France, a plumber is considered an artisan, a skilled craftsperson. The exhibition would showcase work that, in this case, she had done.
Lifestyle Migration all want two acres of land, they want it isolated and stress, ‘we don’t want any French neighbours.’
Later in the discussion, Sarah emphasized that even the local French had recognized that she and her husband Ken, who worked as a carpenter in the Lot, were different: … and the French people at the football club have said to us, ‘you and Ken just aren’t English. Are you sure you’re not French? You’re just not like the English people that I know. They’re all horrible. They’re cold. They’re materialistic. But you and Ken are different.’
As she recalled, this statement made by a local French man gave Sarah the feeling that she was becoming part of the local community, a sense of affirmation that she was different from her compatriots living locally. These various ways of presenting others say more about the migrants themselves than it does about those they represent (Aldridge 1995, Waldren 1996). It is through these representations that they confirm and affirm ‘this is what we are not,’ and, further to this, ‘we are not like this, we are different.’ This is similar to the way that lifestyle migrants have been argued to distinguish themselves from tourists, stressing that tourists only have a superficial experience of life within a destination, while the migrants have unique knowledge of how to live within the destination (Waldren 1996, 1997; O’Reilly 2000, 2003; Gustafson 2002; Oliver 2008). As I argue in the following section, the processes of distinction that my respondents engage in are reminiscent of the social distinction that Bourdieu (1984) claims as characteristic of the way that the French middle classes reproduce themselves. Understanding that these processes of distinction remain central to the migrants’ lives following migration reveals that their British middle-class background continues to inform their daily lives once living in the Lot. The Continued Pursuit of Difference In this section, I argue that Bourdieu’s theories about distinction can provide valuable insights into the processes of distinction engaged in by my respondents in the Lot. Despite the overwhelming reluctance to apply Bourdieu’s ideas about the role of culture and cultural capital in the reproduction of class to British society – due to Bourdieu’s inherent Francocentrism and the portrayal of the British middle classes as lacking culture (Gunn 2005) – following Savage et al. (1992), I argue that Bourdieu’s theories are valuable in explaining class reproduction in Britain (see also Butler and Savage 1995). As Savage et al. claim: Bourdieu’s main contribution is to show that the dominant and subordinate groups within the middle classes are engaging in endless though reasonably
A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France
genteel battles to assert their own identities, social positions and worth (1992, 100).
My respondents’ accounts of their difference and distinction similarly demonstrate that they continue to engage in struggles associated with their position as members of the British middle classes. Indeed, the ethnographic examples presented in this chapter show that the migrants refer to specific ‘others’ who, in their perceptions, do not have the knowledge, or even the desire, to live a different way of life. Britons living in the Lot thus frequently portray their compatriots in the Dordogne and Spain, as well as certain local British residents, as not even attempting to live within the local French community, importing their food from abroad, socializing with British people only and not learning the language. In contrast, they knowingly present themselves as different from these other incomers, stressing their efforts and successes at becoming part of the local community. Their continual references to the way in which they are different from others, and their goal of a different way of life, thus resonate with Bourdieu’s (1984) argument that distinction is characteristic of middle-class engagement in class reproduction. More specifically, they continue to distinguish themselves from their compatriots back in Britain, in other migration destinations and living locally in the Lot, who variously act as reference groups against which individual migrants mark out a distinctive identity. Those back in Britain represent the life that the migrants are keen to distance themselves from and in their discussions they highlighted that their relocation demonstrated that they were different from their compatriots; only they had the courage to venture into the relative unknown. But their comparisons to their fellow lifestyle migrants confirm that the Lot uniquely offers a better way of life and that they have achieved relative success in achieving a peculiar lifestyle. Ironically, although they believe that they have escaped, as one of my respondents explained, ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’, their narratives and actions suggest otherwise. They cannot, despite living in another country, fully break away from their lives before migration. Ironically, they remain engaged in similar processes of distinction to those they so willingly left behind in Britain, demonstrating the continuing salience of class (see also O’Reilly this volume; cf. Oliver and O’Reilly forthcoming; Benson forthcoming). Distinction is also a self-justificatory process, through which the migrants confirm that they are on the right track, they are learning how to live in rural France and gaining a different way of life. But this would not be possible without an audience. The audience is the initial point for marking the difference in their lives, consisting as it does of their friends and family back in Britain. Through the performance of their accounts, the migrants thus affirm that they are different and seek some approval of this position. Again, the audience is important here, and my respondents would often tell me, for example, how happy their families were that they had taken the decision to migrate. What is important here is not the veracity of these statements (indeed, I often came across examples of how the families of migrants were not so happy with the decision to migrate), but rather the role that
these play in the migrants’ narratives. I argue therefore that the migrants present the opinions of their audience in order to reinforce and affirm their discourses of difference. Britons living in the Lot are continuously engaged in processes of distinction, but the question remains, to what ends? In their own perceptions, Britons living in the Lot aim for a distinctive life characterized by becoming indistinct from the local population, neglecting the all too apparent structural differences between them, while simultaneously becoming distinct from their compatriots. Similarity is stressed to emphasize distinctiveness from other Britons and the extent to which the migrants are insiders to the local population is thus questionable. It is rather the case that the discourse about how migrants are gradually achieving integration is instrumental to the ways that they distinguish themselves from other Britons (cf. Waldren 1996, 1997). Furthermore, following Bourdieu (1984, 1986, 1996), the migrants’ narratives and their choice of audience for these demonstrate that they are in the process of accumulating capital. Their advancement within British society relies upon this. Pursuing their dreams of leading a different way of life is a demonstration that they aim for cultural capital, with this different lifestyle, a rare symbolic good, deemed worthy of being pursued (cf. Casado-Díaz this volume). Their status within the British class system resembles that of Bourdieu’s (1986) professional class; in comparison to other members of the British middle class, they may be less affluent in economic terms, but they counter this with their accumulation of cultural capital. With this in mind, they gather cultural capital precisely through their pursuit of a different way of life. The irony is, that in order to maintain this high level of cultural capital, they must remain in France, constantly striving for a different way of life. As their stories reflect, the different lifestyle that migrants seek is not achieved solely through migration and the acquisition of property in France; the accumulation of cultural capital requires a little more finesse. It seems that it is one thing to consume life in rural France, and another thing to understand and live it. While objectively it may seem that they achieve a different way of life through migration, as the migrants’ narratives recalled here reveal, this is not the case. Applying Bourdieu, what their accounts show is cultural capital is only achieved once the migrants have incorporated this different way of life into their habitus. This is an ongoing process, continuing long after migration, the evidence of which remains in the migrants’ accounts. By drawing out distinctions between themselves and their compatriots, they show that they are in the process of gaining a different and distinctive way of living. Conclusion For Britons living in the Lot, everyday life reminds them what their new life promises in contrast to their prior experiences of life in Britain. Their desire for a
A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France
different way of life prompts migration, but this quest is a never-ending process, continuing until long after migration. Through their classifications of other Britons, migrants show that they are in the process of learning to really live differently and distinctively while others do not have access to this, do not have the desire, or learn at a much slower rate. In their discussions, they thus draw attention to their own willingness to learn and prove that they are en route to obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills required to achieve their goals. As the ethnographic examples in this chapter demonstrate, there are various levels on which the migrants distinguish their lives from those led by others, namely, the lives led by their friends and families back in Britain, Britons living in other migration destinations and their compatriots living locally. These different distinctions serve a variety of purposes. Through their discussions of those back in Britain, the migrants affirm and provide further justification for their migration. Through the evocation of an audience, made up of their friends and families back in Britain, the migrants stress that they really are leading a different life and in the process they affirm and approve their decision to migrate. But generally, the distinctions that the migrants highlight represent particular boundaries of inclusion and exclusion, whereby they distance themselves from others, who they deem as not having the knowledge or skill to lead a better way of life. In this manner, they imply ‘this is what we are not’. Simultaneously, the distinctions that they draw, particularly as this is framed through discussions of how people live, highlight that even following migration my respondents pursue a better, different and more fulfilling way of life. However, there is a further aspect of this, linking the migrants back to their lives in Britain. By applying a Bourdieuvian framework as this chapter suggests, it can be seen that the desire for difference and furthermore, distinction, is evidence that the British living in the Lot are still firmly embedded in the British class structure. After all, they distinguish themselves only from other Britons. On one level, they achieve cultural capital through the purchase of property in rural France. But this is not sufficient. By demonstrating that they have the real knowledge of how to live in rural France, while others among their compatriots have not, they stress that they have embodied that cultural capital. Importantly, this level of distinction would not have been available to them back in Britain, where their circumstances and lack of economic wealth constrained their abilities to accumulate such capital. In contrast, the Lot specifically offers them the opportunities to exponentially increase their capital due to the low cost of property and living. And so it seems that the migrants’ dreams of escaping life in Britain can never fully be achieved; they continue to be haunted by the spectre of class. References Aldridge, A. (1995) ‘The English as They See Others: England Revealed in Provence’, Sociological Review 43: 415–434.
Barou, J. and Prado, P. (1995) Les Anglais dans nos Campagnes. (Paris: L’Harmattan). Benson, M. (forthcoming) ‘The Context and Trajectory of Lifestyle Migration: The Case of the British Residents of Southwest France’, European Societies. Benson, M. and O’Reilly, K. (forthcoming) ‘Migration and the Search for a Better Way of Life: A Critical Exploration of Lifestyle Migration’, The Sociological Review. Bourdieu, P. (1996) The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press). Bourdieu, P. (1986) ‘The Forms of Capital’, in Westport, J. (ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. (New York: Greenwood). Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction: A Social Critique on the Judgement of Taste. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press) (R. Nice trans.). Buller, H. and Hoggart, K. (1994) International Counterurbanization. (Aldershot: Avebury). Butler, T. and Savage, M. (1995) Social Change and the Middle Classes. (London: Routledge). Buursink, J. (1986) ‘Economic Urbanizaton and Desuburbanization within the Dutch Settlement Continuum’, in Borchert, J., Bourne, L. and Sinclair, R. (eds) Urban Systems in Transition. (Netherlands Geographical Studies No. 16, Department of Geographical Studies, Department of Geography, University of Utrecht, Utrecht). Champion, A. (1990) ‘Counterurbanization: The Conceptual and Methodological Challenge’, in Champion, A. (ed.) Counterurbanization: The Changing Pace and Nature of Population Deconcentration. (London: Edward Arnold). Gunn, S. (2005) ‘Translating Bourdieu: Cultural Capital and the English Middle Class in Historical Perspective’, The British Journal of Sociology 56(1): 49– 64. Gustafson, P. (2002) ‘Tourism and Seasonal Retirement Migration’, Annals of Tourism Research 29(4): 899–918. Halliday, J. and Coombes, M. (1995) ‘In Search of Counterurbanization: Some Evidence from Devon on the Relationship between Patterns of Migration and Motivation’, Journal of Rural Studies 11(4): 443–446. Herzfeld, M. (1997) Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State. (London and New York: Routledge). Huber, A. and O’Reilly, K. (2004) ‘The Construction of Heimat under Conditions of Individualised Modernity: Swiss and British Elderly Migrants in Spain’, Ageing and Society 24: 327–351. King, R., Warnes, A. and Williams, A. (2000) Sunset Lives: British Retirement Migration to the Mediterranean. (Oxford: Berg). Matthews, H., Taylor, M., Sherwood, K., Tucker, F. and Limb, M. (2000) ‘Growing up in the Countryside: Children and the Rural Idyll’, Journal of Rural Studies 16(2): 141–153.
A Desire for Difference: British Lifestyle Migration to Southwest France
McDonald, M. (1997) ‘An Anthropological Approach to Stereotypes’, in Macdonald, S. (ed.) Inside European Identities. (Oxford: Berg). O’Reilly, K. (2003) ‘When is a Tourist? The Articulation of Tourism and Migration in Spain’s Costa del Sol’, Tourist Studies 3(3): 301–317. O’Reilly, K. (2001) ‘Blackpool in the Sun: Images of the British on the Costa del Sol’, in King, R. and Woods, N. (eds) (2001) Media and Migration. (London: Routledge). O’Reilly, K. (2000) The British on the Costa del Sol: Transnational Identities and Local Communities. (London: Routledge). Oliver, C. (2008) Retirement Migration: Paradoxes of Ageing. (London: Routledge). Oliver, C. (2007) ‘Imagined Communitas: Older Migrations and Aspirational Mobility’, in Amit, V. (ed.) Going First Class: New Approaches to Privileged Travel and Movement. (Oxford: Berghahn). Oliver, C. and O’Reilly, K. (forthcoming) ‘A Bourdieusian Analysis of Class and Migration: Habitus and the Individualising Process’, British Journal of Sociology. Rodríguez, V., Fernández-Mayoralas, G. and Rojo, F. (1998) ‘European Retirees on the Costa del Sol: a Cross-National Comparison’, International Journal of Population Geography 4(2): 91–111. Savage, M., Barlow, J., Dickens, P. and Fielding, T. (1992) Property, Bureaucracy and Culture. (London: Routledge). Theodossopoulos, D. (2003) ‘Degrading Others and Honouring Ourselves: Ethnic Stereotypes as Categories and as Explanations’, Journal of Mediterranean Studies 13(2): 177–188. Waldren, J. (1997) ‘We are not Tourists – We Live Here’, in Abram, S., Waldren, J. and Macleod, D. (eds) Tourists and Tourism: Identifying with People and Places. (Oxford: Berg). Waldren, J. (1996) Insiders and Outsiders: Paradise and Reality in Mallorca. (Oxford: Berghahn).
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Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey Ozlem Nudrali and Karen O’Reilly
Turkey, which has long been a country of origin for economic migrants and asylum-seekers within traditional European migration systems, has quite recently emerged as a destination for those people, particularly German and British citizens, whose more individualized migration is inspired by considerations for their future quality of life. Although there exists no statistical data to characterize the scale of such modes of mobility, these ‘sun-seeking patchwork-biography makers’ are notably visible in several western and southern Mediterranean coastal towns and on the political agenda of the country marked by a crisis of national identity and by ambivalence and tension in its relations with the European Union. Based on a qualitative study carried out during 2006 in Didim, a coastal town in western Turkey, with an established brand name in the lower segment of the British mass tourism market, this chapter explores the meaning of this migratory phenomenon for the parties involved. The experiences of the British migrants and the Dydimians, and the social construction of space in this small locality on the fringes of the European Union, provide some hints about the ways that broader and structural changes under the conditions of late modernity and globalization are impacting individuals and communities, and the strategies being devised to address the inevitable challenges that subsequently arise. The material covered in this chapter is exceptional as a study of lifestyle migration for a variety of reasons. First, Turkey provides a unique context for intraEuropean migration given its economic, political and religious distinctiveness, its ambivalence in the context of EU enlargement, and its geographical location between East and West. Second, unlike several other lifestyle migrant trends (see Benson this volume and Hoey this volume), many of these migrants are from working-class backgrounds, raising challenges to assumptions about otherwise privileged migrants. Third, the relationship between the migrants and the locals is affected by their cultural and religious differences. Finally, the work reported here uniquely explores both sides of the migration story, examining the perspectives of both migrants and locals.
Background The emergence of Turkey as a country of destination within international migration systems dates back to the 1990s (İçduygu 2004, 80), but the country’s experience with new forms of migratory moves, not motivated by traditional causes like flight, exile or work but targeting personal lifestyles, is even more recent. There exists no official data on the scale of northern or western European migration to Turkey. Previously discussed problems in quantification of such forms of mobility (see Casado-Diaz et al. 2004) are compounded by the fact that migration and the acquisition of property by foreigners at a significant scale has occurred since the last census in 2000. Furthermore, the intra-EU incentives for individuals to register as resident, such as benefiting from the health services of the host country or being eligible to vote, are irrelevant in this situation. Nonetheless, the occasional journalistic coverage of various aspects of expatriate life in Alanya, Fethiye or Didim (Armutçu 2004; Özcan 2005; Özalp and Oral 2005) and the few academic field studies (Sudas 2005; Tamer-Görer et al. 2006) demonstrate that coastal Turkey has taken its place as a destination zone alongside Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, France, Malta and Cyprus (Casado-Diaz et al. 2004). Germans and Britons, especially, now include Turkey in their search for a ‘place in the sun’ (King et al. 2000) to structure their lives into ‘patchwork biographies’ (Hitzler and Hoher 1994 cited in Boenisch-Brednich 2002, 66). It is not surprising to find Turkey becoming a destination for lifestyle migration. It has an established place as one of the most popular European holiday destinations, while the lengthy Europeanization process has provided the civic and legal framework for the internationalization of real estate. On the other hand, there are certain factors differentiating Turkey from other lifestyle migration destinations. The history of mass tourism in the country dates back only to the second half of the 1980s (Yücel 1996) and is quite recent when compared to Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Greece, Malta and Cyprus. Furthermore, unlike other Balkan countries, such as Bulgaria and Croatia, with which it is considered a new tourism and lifestyle migration destination, the country’s future within the European Union is still far from being certain. Whenever Turkey is considered either positively or negatively within the context of EU enlargement it seems that cultural difference, with an (implicit or explicit) emphasis on ‘the Muslim religion’, remains the issue of paramount importance. Finally, the fact that the country does not have a colonial past distinguishes Turkey from other non-EU countries attracting lifestyle migrants. Turkey thus does not offer lifestyle migrants the full regulatory comfort of some destinations in the EU, or the cultural or linguistic comfort, shared history or familiarity, of some other destinations (see Korpela this volume). It does, however, provide similar financial and geographical opportunities at an incomparably lower cost than some of these other destinations.
Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey
The Research This chapter is based on research examining lifestyle migration in a national and political setting on the fringes of Europe, the dynamics of which are shaped by an ambivalent relationship with the EU. Focusing on two aspects of the migratory move – namely the meaning of the move for the migrants and the meaning of the migratory transformation of the town for the host population – it exemplifies some of the ways that broader social and cultural changes impact on individuals, and some of the ways in which people are reacting to, and devising new strategies for coping with, such change. The empirical data were obtained by Nudrali through a multi-method ethnographic approach during the seven-month period between February and September 2006. Twenty in-depth interviews were conducted with British (permanent and temporary) settlers in Didim and a further 20 with Turkish nationals who have been living in the town for more than three years. Purposive sampling was used to secure selection of male and female migrants of a range of ages that demonstrate different modes of mobility (including permanent, seasonal and peripatetic migrants, see O’Reilly 2000). Interviews were also conducted with 16 public officials in Ankara and in Didim; 20 essays on the ‘Pros and Cons of Living in Didim’ were collected from British participants of a Turkish language course (organized by the municipal government); the two English weeklies of the town were regularly reviewed; and extensive participant observation led to the collection of many further opportunistic interviews. The British in Didim: Characteristics and Activities Didim is a coastal town in Aegean Turkey with a developed road network and a coast of 30km, located within easy access of metropolitan Izmir and both Bodrum and Izmir airports. According to the 2000 census, the town has 26,260 inhabitants, but the summer population, excluding tourists, rises to some 52,000 with visits from the growing number of second-home owners. Discovered by British tour operators in 1987, and marketed with the brand name Altinkum, the town has gained a double reputation as a resort catering for Turkish middle-class visitors and secondhome owners as well as for British package tourists. The surge of Britons buying homes in Didim started more recently, in 2001 when, as a result of improved relations with Greece and the EU, restrictions to foreign property ownership were lifted and a massive construction boom began, with a mushrooming of new Head offices of all the government institutions are located in Ankara where most of the statistics (e.g. foreigners’ acquisition of property, foreign-owned enterprises etc.) are kept. In Turkey, Didim refers to the town while Altinkum is the wider coastal neighbourhood. Nevertheless, the tourism and real estate markets tend to use Altinkum for both.
housing developments. The amendment of the Title Deed Law in 2003 in an effort to adopt the EU Acquis made foreign property acquisition even easier. While the first wave of foreign home buyers were the regular tourists of the town, locals involved in the tourism business and particularly those with personal relationships with Britons have been important agents during the transnationalization of the real estate market and transformation of this urban economy. At the time of the research 3,138 properties in Didim were owned by foreigners, with Britons owning the highest share, at 88 per cent of the total, while Irish nationals rank the second largest group, at 8 per cent. European Anglophones together thus own 96 per cent of the foreign-owned properties (General Directorate of Land Registry 2006). Most, though not all, of this property is located in the coastal neighbourhoods. As a further indicator of the extent of British settlement, water subscription records held by the municipal government in 2006 indicate that, of a total 34,410 subscribers, 3,060 are British. However, figures of the extent of residence are very unreliable. All property owners with EU citizenship can routinely obtain a five-year residence permit upon confirmation of having the financial capacity to meet basic standards of living. But, it is also possible (and common practice) to stay almost permanently on three-month tourist visas that can be obtained and renewed by presenting a valid UK passport at any of Turkey’s ports of entry (for example, by taking a day trip to a neighbouring Greek island). Despite a minor and rather problematic study conducted on behalf of the municipality which conceptualizes the phenomenon as international retirement migration (Karakaya and Turan 2005a and 2005b), very little is systematically known about the extent and characteristics of this mobility. Nevertheless, the presence of English-speaking foreigners in the town is very visible and local impacts are profound. Strolling around the town on an average winter day it is an ordinary feature of daily life to meet the migrants in all the public spaces, from inner city buses to banks, in the markets and supermarkets. Traditional Sunday lunches, live broadcast of the British Premier League football matches, karaoke, pool and quiz nights at pubs, and foreign newspapers and magazines in news stands that are the characteristics of a typical Turkish tourism resort during the season seem to continue all year long without lacking clientele. There are two English weekly newspapers, the Dydimian and the Voices of Altinkum, both owned by Turkish entrepreneurs involved in real estate. These are very similar to those seen in Spain (O’Reilly 2000); they abound with news of informal charity campaigns and fundraising activities either for local causes or for members of the British EU Acquis (or Acquis Communaitaire) is a technical term defining the totality of the EU legislation (i.e. not only the laws, communiques and regulations but also the decisions of the European Court of Justice). Adoption of the EU Acquis is a part of the EU accession process. In 2004, the 20 highest taxpayers in the town were almost solely composed of realtors and constructors – among which the top taxpayer was a Briton married to a Turkish real estate agent (The Dydimian, 11 April 2005).
Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey
contingent facing some financial difficulty (usually associated with ill health); they provide legal guidance for matters concerning the foreign residents, from inheritance law to importing cars into Turkey; and they facilitate communication between the Turkish and the English-speaking populations at all levels (from the British Consulate in Izmir reminding his compatriots to register to vote, to a local man seeking a wife!). Alongside the newspapers, an advice desk was established in the town hall after discussions between foreign settlers and the town mayor in 2005, and two UK-based Internet forums provide further points of reference. It is clear that while there may be a majority of middle-aged or elderly foreigners, there are also young families with children living in the area, as evident in the increasing number of foreign children enrolled in the local primary school. There are several Britons working in Didim but mostly this is unregistered activity. According to official figures (General Directorate of Foreign Investments 2007) 56 firms, mostly in construction or real estate, are owned wholly or partly by Britons. But the many, more visible, small businesses such as cafés, shops, bars or boats advertising as ‘British owned’ tend to register in the name of a Turkish partner. Foreign employees can also readily be found working in real estate offices, fast-food restaurants, pubs and cafes. None of these jobs are registered but so far there is little evidence of any law enforcement in this area. Likewise, there have been only two deportations, that of two gay Britons who tried to set up a ‘queer bar’ with a Turkish partner in 2005, and a British female who stripped in the mosque in 2004. British and other north/west European activity attracts little concern in a country that is so clearly located at the gateway to fortress Europe and thus has other, more pressing, migration concerns (interview with the Police 4 July 2006). Motivations for Migration Current migration research understands the cause of migration as increasingly complex, and unable to be adequately explained in terms of the old language of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors. Even stated motivations are often as much ‘post-hoc justifications’ for the move as they are adequate explanations for it (O’Reilly 2000). The post-hoc justifications of the migrants in Didim are similar to those expressed by lifestyle migrants in diverse settings (including, for example, north European elderly in southern Europe, business owners in the Costa del Sol, and American retirees in Mexico), who cite quality of life, the climate, the low property and living costs, business opportunities, culture, closeness to home, the desire to leave the home country and to go somewhere ‘you can be yourself’ among their reasons for moving (King et al. 2000; Sunil et al. 2007). They share a common theme: the anti-modern sentiments of the counterurbanites seeking the rural idyll, though this Independent of their residential area, foreign children in Didim attend Valiler Primary School where, for the term 2006–2007, 42 children with British nationality and another 18 with one non-Turkish parent were enrolled. The curriculum is taught in Turkish.
time guided by images constructed by the tourism industry (Benson and O’Reilly forthcoming). For those moving to Didim, these pull and push factors are interlinked such that the new life experienced is constructed as the opposite of the one left. Especially in the discourses of the younger migrants, the discontent regarding the home country outweighs the attractiveness of the new place; as one observer wrote in a Guardian article (Morris 2004): ‘It is not as if they’ve fallen in love with a place and want to go. They have had enough of where they live and want away.’ Britain is depicted as unhealthy, cold, depressing, isolated and lonely, unaffordable, highly regulated and taxed, on the one hand, and as offering no sense of future security, or control over one’s own life, on the other. Didim, alternatively, is described as sunny, laid-back, easy and secure, offering a better quality of life both financially and personally. The feelings of alienation and loss of control against a deteriorating country leaving, as one respondent put it, ‘no space for honest, hard-working English people’, and with an inherent anti-immigration tone also noted in O’Reilly’s (2004) study, are implicit within most migrant narratives. Migrants also compare themselves favourably with others who are immobile, sometimes by presenting portraits of those still ‘stuck in’ or ‘condemned to the terrible life in the UK’. The other thing that is revealed in these migration stories is the high-risk strategies that were employed to achieve their goals, and the way motivations are employed as self-reassurance. Jen (35), a hairdresser who decided to move after a holiday visit to her retired parents living in Didim, admits that hers was a difficult decision. She needs reassurance that she has done the right thing given that her lorry driver husband still works in England, making only regular visits to Didim when he can, and that her 16-year-old daughter does not attend school in Turkey. So she says of the UK: It was all work, work, work to pay the bills. There was not a lot of social life going on. None. Frankly, you’ve got to work very hard back in the UK to get what you want. I mean, you come here and pay cash for the property. That’s yours. You don’t work here to pay for your mortgage. If you work you work just for your electricity, your water and it’s a lot, lot cheaper than what it is in the UK.
Debby is a 45-year-old owner of a small travel company, who holds a Turkish passport due to a former marriage. When she moved to Didim, her 21-year-old daughter and seven-year-old grandson soon joined her. Now Debby is worried about the child’s future. Even though, thanks to her, he can apply for citizenship in the future, this means he would be subject to Turkey’s compulsory military service, which she sees as a serious problem given ‘all those troubles in the East’. But she reassures herself: All names have been changed, except that of John Key (below) who is known in Didim and was not an interviewee in this research.
Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey
But in the end he has a much better life here than he’d have in England. He picked up the language very, very well. He’s been here for a year now and he’s doing very well. He’s happy. He’s got a lot more freedom here than what he’d have in England. He can walk around the corner to see his friends. He can’t do that in England. There’s a lot of space here. It’s safe.
Finally, Lily, a 49-year-old divorcee, lost most of the money she had raised from the sale of her home in the UK in a risky business venture with a Turkish ex-boyfriend, and has since been drifting between informal real estate jobs. Nevertheless, she declares that even though she is not in a position to fully retire (to paraphrase from field notes): It is still better to live in a lot freer, a lot more relaxed place where the weather is nice instead of the other alternative, where everything is so regimented and has got to be so politically correct.
For these migrants, migration is an escape strategy in the construction of a ‘doit-yourself’ biography (Beck 1992) and Turkey offers, above all, the opportunity of early retirement. Even for those who acknowledge the fact that they are still bound to work to sustain their lives, the exit from the formal labour market of the UK is experienced as a form of retirement. Meanwhile, in the narratives of the relatively elderly, familiar motifs of successful ageing, a change, or a fresh start are more common. Here a geographical move has become associated with moving forward in life, and retirement is presented as an opportunity and a new beginning. But whatever the expressed motivations, the act of migration shapes the migrants’ perceptions of themselves and, as witnessed by Gustafson (2001) in the case of the Swedish elderly in Spain, a sense of accomplishment is embedded in all migrant narratives. The Distinction of Risk-taking Most (though not all) of Didim’s migrants were structurally located with the less privileged of their affluent societies, whose ‘life chances and social behaviours are restricted by the exigencies of daily survival’ in a highly competitive job market (May and Cooper 1995, 79). They are, with few exceptions, people who spent all their working lives in the same place, more often than not in the locality where they were born and bred. Nonetheless, they are also inhabitants of contemporary Western societies where cultures of mobility are connected to lifestyle decisions and an essential component of even working-class habitus (Bourdieu 1990; Boenisch- Brednich 2002). Moving itself is thus experienced as a form of social distinction, something to be achieved by those with broad horizons and enough courage, especially when the destination is Turkey – a place associated with risk even as a location for property investments.
Rose and Dan, a retired working-class couple in their late sixties, believe it is only they among their circle of friends who own a nice summer house with a common pool where they can enjoy eight months under the sun. Rose said, ‘Most people were envious, they would love to do it,’ and Dan continued, ‘They have no guts to do it, they are scared, they are frightened.’ Sixty-one-year-old Ken, whose wife passed away in Didim in 2005 and who struggled psychologically and financially to deal with the consequences of the death in a completely foreign land, says: People thought I was crazy. For one, my cousin’s husband. They came out here to visit me. He said before he came he thought we were stupid. Seeing what we’ve got here … I think a lot of people have got the apprehension that Turkey is a place where there were nothing. I remember a woman saying to my wife: ‘Are there any shops?’ That idea of that barrenness; they think there are still camel trails. When they saw, their views changed.
Nathan, a 43-year-old window fitter from Derby who moved out to Didim with his wife and eight-year-old daughter just one year after they had their first family holiday abroad there, not only justifies his decision but continues celebrating his departure, describing his joy at waving goodbye to people from a ‘32 feet limousine’: We did not consider anywhere else. Just seeing here and the people. And my friends … they were all leaving England. They were going to Portugal to live. They were going to Cyprus. [Now] they are all back in England. Back to work seeing how expensive it is. In Cyprus a house smaller than I have here, 110 grand. Beer same price as in England, cigarettes same price as England. Everything, because it’s Europe. It’s EU.
While describing their move in terms of taking the risk despite all the hype at home about Turkey as a poor Muslim country – a theme recurring in all the narratives – they nevertheless also rely on their perception or touristic experiences of Turkey as just another Mediterranean mass tourist zone. They take it for granted that the area guarantees the levels of comfort and convenience that coincide with an established infrastructure. Tourism and holiday locations and what they imply might inform many migration choices, but it is not crucial to have personal experiences in a specific place. The transnationalization of the real estate market with Internet access to otherwise out-of-reach property means people’s search spaces now extend beyond their lifetime ‘activity space’ (Hall and Williams 2000, 2). Armand and Laura, a working-class couple in their late thirties, chose Altınkum, even without visiting, as the location for their holiday home in which they eventually intend to retire:
Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey
I was looking on the Internet to buy. Obviously in Spain, Croatia, everywhere. Found Altinkum. Oooo! We came. We didn’t buy through the Internet. We came and looked. Everywhere you’ve got a holiday, they’re all the same. Spain, this place could be in Spain.
Lifestyle migrants now, it seems, buy anywhere they imagine (or can virtually see) has the required attributes; they move from being tourists to second-home owners, to temporary and then permanent migrants in flashes of time (often leaving out some of the once-crucial stages). And in order to grab opportunities in a runaway world (Giddens 1999) people show high levels of flexibility and risk-taking, exemplified here in the narrative of 62-year-old Dana, a state pensioner from Hull: I’d always intended to go abroad anyway. I didn’t want to grow old in the UK … I’d always thought of France, not seriously though. Never had the money. I was looking at the Internet. I was messing about. I ended up emailing one of the agents here. He contacted me back and we just kept in contact. That was that … I moved in 2004, April, when I bought. I came over here with nothing. And I sold my house in the UK, I had my furniture sold and I took the plane and came over here.
These migrants are thus proud of their risk-taking, seeing it as marking them out as different, or special, rather than forced on them by circumstances. Reality Bites: The Daily Lives of the Migrants The British migrants’ experiences in Didim are as heterogeneous as their ages and social backgrounds. While those who are relatively well off can afford at least some peace and quiet in the newly developed areas, usually in detached or semi-detached villas with swimming pools, others live in flats in high-density neighbourhoods where the public services are less than adequate. For the nine months during which the weather is nice, most people are satisfied. They spend more time outside, often eating out, hanging around in the cafes and bars, going to the beach, or visiting friends in their shops. But almost all the foreign settlers of the town work part-time in (or get into commission-based deals with) the many, often unregulated, realtors or in other commercial enterprises, and summer is therefore their busiest time. It is also when the most visits from family and friends occur. Once the tourism season is over, the construction work starts again in earnest, with dust and noise to endure. During winter the town is not only quieter and colder, with less of the holiday atmosphere that sustains one through the busier times, it also gets harder, with mud on the roads, and frequent power failures and water shortages to contend with. Whatever price they paid for their property, all migrants have to deal with the consequences of the lack of adequate building regulations. Fifty-year-old Jan, a
former National Health Service worker, expressed her surprise to see that the two guys who came to do masonry work on her home were the same she had seen working in a bar the previous year: I just feel anybody can do a house here. In England we have so many regulations. Maybe too many. Everything has to be checked. Here, oh my god, it is like they are totally under qualified. But then again I try to think, like, it’s their way, they do it to each other too.
Those migrants still owning property in the UK often prefer to spend winters there. For this group, moving between the UK and Turkey is easy, not only economically but also psychologically. Those who sought an economic escape route through migration, however, share the ‘myth of no return’ witnessed among O’Reilly’s (2007) working-class migrants in Spain. But this is not only a myth, a belief guiding their actions and informing an expressed commitment to a new life elsewhere; it is also a harsh reality since most could not afford to go back even if they wanted to. However, this either discursive or actual unidirectionality of the migration does not imply an eventual assimilation to the host society. Theirs remains the attitude of a sojourner, of Siu’s (1950, 36) Simmellian stranger ‘who spends many years of his lifetime in a foreign country without being assimilated by it’. Language is a lost battle, except perhaps for the young children; the most they can hope to learn is enough to get by, to understand information announcements and to interact with the Turkish neighbours or service suppliers outside the tourism industry. Like the British in Spain (O’Reilly 2000), distance is maintained by reminding each other that they are ‘guests’ in this Muslim land where they must respect, but cannot expect to share, people’s beliefs. On the other hand, Britons in Turkey are not trying to create a ‘corner of a foreign field that is forever England’ (Scott 2006, 1107). Their identities are transnational in the sense Taras et al. (2004, 835) express with the pun: ‘They are neither “be longing” for the motherland, nor “belonging” to the host country.’ Theirs is the space of the in between, where travelling and dwelling become intermingled (Clarke 2005, 381). Dwelling in Turkey they ‘travel’ to the UK passively through the Internet and TV, actively through the cultural content they consume in furniture and objects carried from home and with regular visitors from there, and interactively by phone calls, emails, postcards and karaoke parties. But in order to lead the easy life they aspire to in Turkey, they adopt behaviours they deduce, from the conflicting messages around them, will help them fit in. Thus John Key wears a ring with the symbol of the ultra nationalists in Turkey and introduces himself as Cemil Anahtar (meaning ‘key’ in Turkish), and another elderly couple decorate their home with Turkish flags. And they are not isolated as some lifestyle migrants appear to be; locals are important actors in the social spaces they inhabit, appearing, for example, as ‘love rats’ making attempts on
Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey
lonely ladies, as business associates, as friends and as neighbours offering water from their well during the water shortage. How are the Migrants Received? Host Society Attitudes To many people of the town lifestyle migration is no more than the temporal and spatial expansion of tourism: from summer to all year round, from coastal Altinkum to the whole town. Impacts are experienced rather indirectly, like the changes the migrants have wrought upon the commercial services and the entertainment culture of the town, discussed above. But locals and migrants do share the same social spaces and rather than being a matter of acculturation of the migrants into the host culture, it seems the hosts are the ones experiencing doubts, concerning themselves with how to adapt and worrying about potential threats to the economy, environment and culture. Relationships between British migrants and locals are often hierarchical. The migrants, like the tourists, are both guests in the country and commercial trading partners, and usually ones with higher purchasing power due to being citizens of a country that is among the most affluent in the world. The combination of commercial interest and the traditional Turkish hospitality thus brings them a great deal of attention. Some locals expressed this as privilege, which left them feeling like ‘second-class citizens in our own country’. Ayse, a 38-year-old female chemist, reports an incident at her child’s school: The students had been asked to write an essay on ‘Didim of the Future’. And one of the kids wrote: ‘I feel upset when I go to the bank that the Brits are given the priority, when I go to the notary’ – of course she hears these from her parents – ‘the Brits are in front of me, the waiters serve them first.’ I mean there’s that situation that even now the seeds of hostility are being planted.
Similar to the responses to ‘residential tourism’ seen in Spain (see Mantecón 2008), most locals celebrate the economic benefits of the migration in terms of property sales and all-year-round tourism expenditure, but they are also ambivalent about the shape the changes are taking and what they mean for the town’s future. Some are concerned about the environmental impacts of rapid growth. Others are concerned that, even though the foreigners’ current involvement in the business life of the town is always under the control of a local, either as a partner or an employer, this may not continue to be the case in the not so distant future. How much control will they have over their town once the foreigners can act independently? This conflict of interest combines with the existing cultural distance between the home and host countries; in which for example, a 10-year-old British school girl’s modes of self-expression can be interpreted as a sign of sexual promiscuousness that her Turkish classmates must be warned against imitating. Unlike the general indifference shown by Spanish and French towards the poor efforts at integration
of the lifestyle migrants in their midst (O’Reilly 2004; Smallwood 2007), locals in Didim privately condemn the British migrants as lacking family and community values. Their migratory move itself is depicted as a showcase of their individualistic desires. Osman, a 22-year-old hassle boy, is a good, if exaggerated, example of the confusion, ambivalence and contradiction experienced by locals trying to find strategies of adoption, accommodation and collaboration in the face of the international migration in their town. Osman was a former supporter of his prime minister but now angrily protests this same administration has ‘sold the land we took by blood to foreigners’ and ‘gave residence permits to them who will consequently kill tourism’. But Osman has an English girlfriend and lives with her family in Didim. They call him Jimmy. He wants to move to England one day, where he believes there are more foreigners than the English because ‘the majority of the English have already run away’, and where he believes that, since he has worked 16 hours a day since his childhood, he will make a fortune in the land of ‘lazy people who know nothing but the booze’. Ambivalence is discernible in all the locals’ accounts of the impacts of ‘residential tourism’ on their town. It can be heard in the intermingling of positive and negative elements in even the most emphatic accounts, whether of content or discontent, envy or dissent, a sense of power or a sense of victimization, or in the wish for or anxiety about change. It is witnessed in the fears for the environment, for the future of the town, in worries about ‘becoming second-class citizens’ or of not ‘receiving the same rights’ as the incomers. What lies behind these concerns is not the migrant him or herself but the fragility shared at the national level towards globalization (Akman 2004). As Magnarella (1982, 193) has noted, the Turkish national psyche has a tendency to develop and accept conspiracy theories to explain the country’s dismal position compared to its oil-rich neighbours and to Europe. This tendency has been reinforced in recent decades, during which time the country’s articulation to the world, and consequently the internal power structure, have been undergoing a drastic transformation; and has been implicated in (both as cause and effect) the ambiguity of the relationship with the EU. And it is this very same tendency that prevails as apparent not only in speculations that ‘one day might come when the Brits will not let us into Didim’ but also in accounts of migrants who are learning to buy their food from the Saturday market, visiting places of interest by bus rather than buying the tourist excursions, and otherwise ‘getting themselves organized without us’.
This term denotes a young service employee who stands in front of the door of restaurants, shops and cafes, physically approaching the passers-by and persuading them to enter.
Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey
Conclusion Based on a qualitative study in Didim, a coastal town in western Turkey with an established brand name in the lower segment of the British mass tourism market, this case study provides a modest example of what Smith (2001) refers to as the global–local interplay in the shaping of places, the interaction of the peculiarities of localities in the globalization process, within which international migration is an agent and consequence. Didim, like everywhere else, is not a ‘pure’ locality but a ‘product of continual and contested material and discursive practices of numerous people and the institutions they create’ (Clarke 2005, 311). The cohabitation of British migrants and locals, two groups of people from countries of very different levels of affluence and with significant cultural distance in a social setting of migration which has transgressed the boundaries of international tourism, shapes daily life in Didim through the construction of new social spaces and the constant renegotiation of identities. Though it is difficult to enumerate the extent of this migration trend it is evident to locals, impacting on their lives in a number of ways. Foreigners own homes and businesses in the town and can be seen working in a range of establishments linked to both tourism and real estate. Foreign children attend the local primary school. The importation of, especially British, culture is clearly visible and seems to emulate that of working class or mass tourism zones in other parts of the Mediterranean, with their karaoke nights, pub food and football match broadcasts (see Bott 2004). There are English-language newspapers and a help desk for foreign residents in the town hall. But the response so far from the locals is ambivalent. There is an overt acceptance of the general and widespread economic benefits, but this is mixed with an implicit fear, as they anticipate changes beyond their control, or of unintended (or unforeseeable) consequences. This ambivalence partially mirrors that same ambivalence seen in Turkey’s relationships with Europe more broadly. As for the, mostly British, migrants, they celebrate the risks they have taken in order to escape lives which they feel are deteriorating before their eyes. Their actual insecurities and marginal status in Turkey are masked by their emphasis on their escape from insecurity, crime and oppression and on having taken their lives into their own hands. What the future holds, for both incomers and locals, remains to be seen. Acknowledgements Ozlem would like to take this opportunity to thank all the research participants for admitting her into their lives for a short while. This work also owes a great deal to Associate Prof. Dr Sibel Kalaycioglu (METU-Turkey) who supervised the MA thesis, of which the research was a part. Karen would like to thank Ozlem for allowing her to work with her in the interpretation of the data and in the preparation of this chapter.
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Taking the Risk: The British in Didim, Turkey
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Lifestyle Afterthoughts Jacqueline Waldren
When the editors of this volume asked if I might contribute a chapter based on my work with ‘expat’ communities in Mallorca, I hesitated. It was difficult for me to place my study about locals’ coexistence with increasing numbers of resident and visiting foreigners over the past 150 years with the contemporary lifestyle migrants discussed in these chapters. Rather than a chapter on my work, I decided to consider some ‘lifestyle afterthoughts’ dealing with the issues developed in this book, making comparisons with my own work, other current issues relevant to the discussion and future considerations. Reading the chapters in this volume one is forced to confront an ongoing interrogation of some fundamental precepts of our civilization, combined with a search for new formulations of what it means to be human at this critical and perilous moment in the story of our species. Brian Hoey, for example, describes ‘pursuing the good life in an age of uncertainty’ based on lived realities of displacement after September 11, financial meltdowns and corporate power abuses in America and begins with a quote that highlights the search for knowledge of something yet unknown that pervades all of the chapters here, ‘I needed land and country around me so I could feel I belonged to something bigger than myself.’ This spiritual quest is often associated with pilgrimage, tourism and travel; relocation to meaningful places becomes a way of redefining the self. With the demise of a shared religion, the idea of the sacred disappears from everyday discourse and perception, and its merely human symbols are exposed to a kind of sceptical rage. Is there then, as Roger Scruton (2003) suggests, ‘a primordial yearning for the sacred, one reaching back to the very earliest dream pictures of mankind (sic) and recorded in a thousand myths and rituals,’ or, ‘perhaps precisely because of the multiple manifestations of this search, its self-referential and self-organising nature, it is ubiquitous’ (Strathern 2002). Literature about the Grand Tour, the Mediterranean, exotic others, perfect climates, sandy beaches, blue skies, romantic adventures, freshly grown food, French wines and cheeses, Greek olives and fish, Spanish tapas and cheap properties I never liked this word ‘expat’ as it suggests banishment or withdrawal from one’s country, or renouncing one’s citizenship, none of which any of us did. Some of the foreigners who lived in Deía during this time had experienced the social upheavals that occurred during and after the Second World War. They were inspired by existentialism and seeking to ‘transcend universality through individuality’ (Kirkegaard 1968, 335).
all created the ideal of the places chosen by our lifestyle migrants. Holiday time, relaxation, endless days of free choice prompted an imaginary horizon of hopes and dreams being realized ‘over there’. ‘The rural idyll became the repository for ways of life regarded as more natural, holistic and harmonious and remains one of the most widespread and abiding myths in common circulation’ (Rapport and Overing 2000, 316). I tried to identify with some of the lifestyle migrants in this book. My book, Insiders and Outsiders: Paradise and Reality in Mallorca (1996), had focused on locals and foreigners and the processes of each forming personal and social identities in a period of accelerated social and economic changes in Mallorca and Europe. However, most of the authors here do not discuss how the lifestyle migrants’ expectations impact on the social and cultural life of the regions they chose. The motivations of those who came to Deía seemed different, but recognition of the involvement of self as revealed in migration, adventure and the impact of self on all experience soon became clear. The similarities of mobility, the search for safety, meaning in earthly existence, the fascination with nature, ‘the other’, identity, social harmony in contrast to war, oppression, hyper-technology, environmental degradation, and the loss of what they felt were essential qualities of life motivated all of those discussed here. These lifestyle migrants, it seems, are not so different from those who found Deía and settled there in previous decades and are remarkably similar to those who continue to choose it as their ‘home’. All of our work confronts the individual’s search for free choice, change and movement between countries, homes, cultural and social spaces, and shows that fundamental changes in social relations over the past three decades have massively eroded previously defined boundaries between ‘us and them’, between ‘self and other’, and between ‘formal and informal’. ‘There also seems to be a discernable tendency to problematise certain cosmological dualisms, notably the conceptual contraries of mind-spirit and body, individual, self, and society, subjective and objective, and the supposed antinomies of biology and culture’ (Willis 2003). Choice or Circumstance? The chapters here provide a glimpse into the multiple realities, the imaginations and experiences, of choosing to pursue a different way of life. The current economic situation and the impact of global consequences in the twenty-first century may well force the reassessment of these choices; and, in the midst of financial ‘crisis’, forced migration, refugees, asylum-seekers, people displaced by war, hunger, disease or natural disasters, it may seem insensitive to dedicate an entire book to lifestyle migrants who are able to choose where and when they will go, and can afford such mobility. However, research has revealed that, even amongst people living in the harshest conditions, it is often imagination and individual agency that allow them to go on. A concentration camp survivor, for example, described how
he survived his holocaust experience by visualizing his dream house, designing the frame, adding rooms, windows, furniture, all that would be needed for his ideal house where he might live when free (personal communication). Refugees often carry objects of hope when forced to abandon their homes and loved ones (Parkin 1999). Human ingenuity and creativity arise in many situations that seem insurmountable. Despite experiences of being violently or forcibly uprooted and plunged into discord and disorder, refugees demonstrate the strengths of innovation for survival, as well as the vitality to create and negotiate new roles and behaviour to achieve both necessary and desired ends (Camino and Krulfeld 1994, xv). Reports of Palestinians in camps over 35 years, refugees in emergency housing or favela dwellers in Brazil all stress the migrants’ sense of these conditions as ‘only temporary’ along their routes to better lives. Lacking role models and particular scripts to follow, innovators search for appropriate symbols to exemplify new identities, sometimes inventing new ones, and sometimes reinventing the meanings imputed to old ones (Barth 1969). Symbolic and spatial boundaries take on new meanings as a result of war or migration. The refugee experience entails losses; however, while transformation and change are part of the experience, not all change is perceived as loss or defined as problematic or unwelcome by refugees themselves. If you have no future, no job, are a war exile or victim of war, anything is better than what you had ‘at home’. In the modern system of nation states as a conceptual order, in which the nation is perceived as the ‘natural’ place of belonging, identity and culture are secure and stable ‘at home’. However, the concept of home is often circumstantial and, as people out of place, migrants are often in an ambiguous position (Waldren 2006). Perhaps, as Carter (1992) suggests, rather than regarding movement as an awkward interval between fixed points of departure and arrival, it can become a mode of being in the world. A Change of Mind: Faced with the Facts Most social life entails compromises between opposing social constructions of reality (Herzfeld 1987), but moving from one place, where one knows the ways and means of doing things, to another strange cultural milieu imposes insecurities and requires adaptations. Choice and mobility take on new meanings as realities of everyday co-existence evolve; still there is a constant sense of being in between, neither ‘at home’ nor a complete stranger. Drawing from my experience as a resident foreigner in Mallorca, I recall being given a gift of brightly coloured t-shirts and bikinis from some English tourists who I befriended during their fortnight’s visit to the village. They felt I was becoming ‘too Spanish’, always wearing black. I must admit this caused me to question not only my manner of dress but also various other adaptations I had made to local norms and values. Some of the chapters here, like other research into the fate of people who have
moved from one place to another, emphasize the accommodations that migrants make to their host societies (Camino and Krulfeld 1994, 57). Catherine Trundle’s chapter, for example, contrasts the earlier imaginings – of adventurous searches for difference and freedom – of young women who fall in love with Italian men, with the gendered realities of becoming a woman/wife/mother in Italy. Burkitt argues that ‘identity is derived from one’s place within social relations and interdependencies, despite appearances to the contrary that exist in the modern world. There are many different levels of dynamic agency within the personality, both conscious and unconscious. These different levels are always interwoven with and determine social relations and activities. We are in every way social selves’ (1991, 215). However, ‘social structure is not sui generis, and does not exist through inertia: it depends on the continuing, conscious, concerted activity of different individuals to intend, produce and sustain it’ (Holy and Stuchlik 1981, 15–16 cited in Rapport and Overing 2000, 8). Personhood in many of the places lifestyle migrants choose to live derives from within kin relationships, home and land ownership, genealogies and biographies known and shared by others; whereas migrants have a more limited local familial network and need time to form new social relations. There is taken-for-granted, tacit knowledge that make up ‘locals’ everyday life, and newcomers are actively involved in those patterns and behaviours and may absorb those silent rules through proximity and familiarity over time without even realizing it. As Karen O’Reilly observes in her chapter, children who quickly become aware of local values through television and school must negotiate behaviour with each other, their parents and representatives of local institutions. The chapters here elucidate the role of such individual creativities and pull individual agency out from under the weight of the collectivity. Whether it is socio-culturally confirmed or not, the individual is the crucial actor in every social situation and individual consciousness the crucial factor in the interpretation of any action (Macfarlane 1978). Some of the social contradictions and conflicts that form the basis of individual selves and their inherent dilemmas may lead to a sense of loss or disillusionment in the search for a better life. One takes the self and all his or her experiences wherever he or she goes and is subjected to a new set of social interactions that may exacerbate dilemmas or leave one disconnected from the new environment and people. There and Then Human beings conceive of their lives in terms of moving – between – between identities, relations, people, things, groups, societies, cultures, environments and times. In and through the continuity of movement, human beings continue to construe moving accounts of their lives (Rapport and Overing 2000, 268). I studied social anthropology, which ‘in essence, is a kind of writing and itself a kind of journeying, inscribing what it was like There and Then in the categories and
genres of the Here and Now’ (Geertz 1988, 1–5); and I discovered that historical and contemporary myths of Europe and the Mediterranean have, for centuries, attracted travellers in search of a better, fuller, romantic, enlightening, spiritual and/or healthier lifestyle than those they were living ‘at home’. My work led me to George Sand’s book Winter in Mallorca. She describes the island in 1837, when she arrived with her two children and the Polish composer Frederick Chopin in the hope that they would find the cure for all their bodily and spiritual ills. It was widely believed on the continent, at that time, that the island possessed therapeutic properties for all kinds of illnesses. An island is often thought of as a refuge and Mallorca, more than most, was an accessible and enchanted place that made one forget the insecurities of the immense unknown. Many literary accounts exist, describing the island as a never-ending source of physical and mental health. This belief has, in fact, played a large part in the evolution of tourism and expatriate residence on the island. But, like Sand and Chopin, migrants or tourists may find disappointment in their treatment by local people, or if the weather is damp and skies are grey, or other anticipated aspects of utopic idealism enter into conflict with stark reality. Sand, as many other travellers, discovered the tranquillity, the almond blossoms, ‘the picturesque beauty everywhere’ and was able to contemplate the sea just as she had imagined it, ‘clear and blue as the sky with gentle waves like a plain of sapphires patterned with regular grooves’ (Sand 1842, 12). Yet she also describes constant conflicts with the local people and the general indifference with which she was received. Tourists and tourism have taken on multiple meanings since Emile Litre defined the word tourist in his French dictionary published between 1863 and 1873 as being ‘he who travels out of curiosity or to amuse himself’. Mallorca was still very much on the margin of other tourist routes in Europe at that time. Yet those who found their way there felt they had discovered ‘paradise’. My research, almost 150 years after Sand’s visit, was about how foreigners in search of unspoiled beauty and tranquillity ‘discovered’ Deía, a mountain village on the northwest coast, during the last century. I had been a resident for 20 years before I began my research. I had to find a way to translate local perceptions of a world that I had been part of while stepping back from it to find others’ (increased numbers of foreign residents) perceptions of the same setting and people. Definitions of tourists by then emphasized the temporary leisure and voluntary choice to visit places away from home for the purpose of experiencing ‘change’, and began to question the value of distinguishing tourists from other mobile people. Foreign Interestingly, Celia Fiennes, writing about the home tour in Britain at the turn of the eighteenth century, reveals an anxiety about foreign sites of travel and presents the desire for foreign exploration through the language of immorality and disease and not as discovery and knowledge, but as contagion (Kinsley 2008, 1). Many writers of the time presented travel as a ‘man’s activity’ despite the many travel books written by women from at least the seventeenth century (Kinsley 2008).
residents found themselves in ambiguous space, no longer tourists but not really ‘at home’ or ‘local’ (Abram and Waldren 1997). Retracing my memories of adapting to the small village community as one of only 10 or 12 foreigners was in stark contrast to the cosmopolitan village of 1980. I had arrived in 1959 as a 20-year-old tourist, stayed in a local pension and met a group of expatriate artists who drew me into their bohemian existence: painting, swimming, eating fresh fish at the tiny beach hut restaurant, drinking sangría, having heated discussions about life, philosophy and art. The locals seemed to see through us as they sat in front of their doorways in the warm evenings looking out at the scene. Although the inn keeper was welcoming, one was barely acknowledged on the street other than by a few foreigners. Still, the arrival of a small number of strangers into the village added to interests of local life. Through their dealings with foreigners, who could only purchase land in the name of a local person, some local men formed relationships of mutual interest and respect and thus gained power and prestige. Poet and author Robert Graves, for example, a resident since 1929, was befriended by a local man with whom he entered into many negotiations: investing in a generator to bring electricity, buying land to build a house and a road to the cala (beach). Having a local friend led to exchanges of information, capital, transport (there was only one bus a day to the city and one car) and other reciprocal gestures. When only a few foreigners lived there, they were reliant on the local people for access to most goods and services, and relationships of interdependence developed. Their social and economic standing did not wholly alleviate being in a country where they were not familiar with the politics, language, legislation or local culture: a privileged and marginal position at the same time. Culturally, economically and socially different from those who lived in their idyllic retreats, these early lifestyle migrants were in pursuit of an authenticating experience where what is authenticated is one’s self through the mental and physical experience of creativity, time, space and place. ‘Authenticity in this sense, becomes a commodity in its own right, and the possibility of attaining it is projected onto objects or places bringing a whole world of myth and expectations with it’ (Fees 1996, 121). However, what is ultimately being consumed by all migrants are not objects or places but each person’s sensations or illusions of them. In Deía, outside the mainstream or accepted norms of their own or local culture, each new arrival endeavoured to create his or her own persona while becoming neighbours and friends, trying to understand the manner by which each was making sense of earthly existence (Waldren 1996). When I settled in the village in 1960, I was taught how to cook on a charcoal burner by my neighbour, bath in cold water (or heat it on the coals) and read by candlelight when the poor electricity went off at 10 o’clock each evening. However, foreigners soon encounter other individuals who share their marginality in their chosen place. And as increasing numbers of foreigners arrived in the village, they began to turn to one another for information and advice instead of relying on the locals.
The symbiotic relationship of locals and foreigners, which had been beneficial to both groups, was no longer possible. Foreigners no longer represented the wonders of the outside world once thought unattainable by a local person. On the contrary, they now posed a threat to the local inside world. The presence of another group that could alter their very existence strengthened cohesiveness and drew, and continues to draw, locals together despite individual differences. However, increased incomes and continuous interaction with foreigners have allowed individuals and groups to develop new avenues and relationships that reduce internal pressures and divert social conflicts. The changing concepts of insiders and outsiders, over time in this village, have provided a sense of combined history that has aided locals and foreign residents in constituting ongoing relationships despite their differences. There may also be connections, as cultures evolve and share characteristics that seem familiar to migrants; these are the subtle realities of adaptation to different cultures, social lives and places. In pursuit of a unique experience, locals, expatriate residents and tourists may often coincide unwittingly, in their particular ideals of social interaction. Human society is fluid and inclusive, such that ways of life may influence or parody one another (Clifford 1988, 22). If travel is ubiquitous, and one is ‘at home’ in the entire globe, one finds some recognizable elements everywhere. Choosing Place and Learning Space Foreigners are perceived differently, both in Deía and in the places discussed in this book. In these contemporary studies of lifestyle migration, some foreigners are resented or feared, some are welcomed as sources of ‘otherness’, distraction or income, while others may be ignored or rejected in more or less subtle or direct manners. When I lived in Paris for a few months in the 1960s, I frequented the shop next to our flat. On the first few visits, I requested (in my best French) the same products each morning: eggs, milk, butter and yogurt, and the assistant replied: ‘Je ne comprends pas’. Only when another customer, seeing my frustration, intervened and asked the attendant if she was French, did she instantly provide my goods and continue to do so, without question, in the following months. These sorts of challenges reveal identity issues and can easily affect one’s ideals of a new place and people, as well as one’s confidence. I wanted to change shops but for some reason decided to see if continuity might create familiarity and overcome the assistant’s attitude. If one confronted the challenge by persevering, I hoped the opposition would decline, and it did. A similar shop experience in Mallorca made one feel less threatened as the shopkeeper made signs, holding up different articles, trying to determine what the English, German or other foreign language speaker was requesting. These are various modes that remind us that we are temporary visitors, whom the locals may imagine are brought there by some incomprehensible desires, but who can leave at any time for a better place. This
may well be the dominant feature in forming social relations. Can locals afford to make friends and commit themselves to relationships with those who might leave at any time? I still combine living in the village with time in the UK and am often asked when I return, ‘Are you here for good now?’ Each time I return it takes concerted efforts on my part to re-integrate into village life, to regain the trust and confidence I have known over the years. Meanwhile, many shopkeepers in Deía have learned to speak enough English or German to deal with customers quickly and with little personal interchange. Daily routine becomes an essential part of expatriate living, as Thomas et al. note, ‘Movement, memory and daily routine within a landscape may work to create particular senses of personhood as well as ideas about appropriate action in different contexts’ (2001, 547). Are newcomers’ actions or time frames – whether they prefer early nights or early mornings, bringing groceries from their home country, shopping in supermarkets rather than locally, their manner of dress, or even their gendered expectations – noticeably different than locals? Is there hostility, formality or mutual respect expressed in greetings and actions? As Catherine Trundle highlights in this volume, liminality and exclusion are common problems to overcome. Shared experiences are not always articulated; they may rest in intuition, sensual, bodily and heartfelt experiences that promote respect, compassion and empathy. Whether one goes to a café first thing in the morning for half an hour to read the paper and have a coffee and croissant, or spends hours in deep (or casual) conversation with fellow residents or newly arrived visitors, or rises at 4am to write or paint before the sun comes up, each orders time and space to accommodate self-realization and personal accomplishment. One endeavours to be ‘spontaneous’ but finds that time and space are socially constructed and can go out of control if one is not self-disciplined. The locality of their new life is contained and made their expressive domain through self-discipline. No clock-in or boss to set patterns and pressures but an inner drive to organize one’s day, to fulfil one’s dreams, hopes and ambitions. Transforming Lifestyles The various forms of lifestyle choices presented here offer an overview of options open to people who seek renewal, knowledge and autonomy, and take positive actions to realize these often unattainable goals. This applies for all migrants, and the quest for personal development and fulfilment is shared by all. Every world upheaval provides increased numbers of lifestyle migrants, all of whom must sort out legal and financial issues, find accommodation and work, experience inevitable culture clashes, and adapt to their new environments. The impacts on both locals and migrants are inevitable and the social transformations within the I take this as a compliment. They know my family live there and one day I shall ‘settle down’ there as well.
destinations they bring about may lead to improved multicultural relationships or, as in many current cases, increased discrimination, hostility and exclusion. It will be interesting to follow the development and experiences of the lifestyle migrants in these chapters over an extended time span. Mari Korpela’s chapter already gives us an idea of the risks involved in turning youthful backpacking experience into lifestyle migrations in Varanasi, India. After several years of bohemian existence, a return to the West is difficult but then so is economic survival in India. And Karen O’Reilly (this volume) also gives us a glimpse of long-term lifestyle changes and the influence of children on altering their parents’ lifestyle choices. In the case of Deía, it still looks rural and quaint but it has become one of the most popular and expensive resorts on the island of Mallorca. Everything in Deía during the summer season is crowded, colourful and exotic compared to other places on the island. Struggling artists and many of the young who have grown up there can no longer afford to rent or buy property. What some see as success may be the result of the symbiosis of outsiders and insiders who over the last century learned to complement the interests of one another and gain the full advantage of their respective goals. It may also be due to outside developers and local officials working together to exploit the very qualities that have attracted people to Deía and to sell them to the highest bidder. The ‘new Deía’, in contrast to the old, has 24/7 electricity, Internet, two cars for every three people, 11 restaurants, three firstclass hotels, and the rock- and pebble-covered cove is filled, cars parked between the trees and along the dirt paths and streets of the village. These studies of lifestyle migrants, all of which stress the search for ‘the good life’, acknowledge the economics and advancements in technology that make it possible for people to change where and how they choose to live. As long as there are good telecommunications nearby and access to global transport they imagine they can live anywhere in the world. Computers, air travel, cars and mobile telephones have made the world a tiny place. They have also opened routes to different worlds from within once remote places, allowing inhabitants to glean information from afar rather than depending on neighbours and even family for news. Physical travel is often complemented by communicative travel, imaginative travel, virtual travel, Internet and the movement of objects (Urry 2007). The infrastructure for these different forms of mobility and the ability to use them are important conditions for transnational strategies for locals and foreigners in most places today. Prosperity, lifestyle similarities among the locals and expats, family and generational changes, individuality and education have fused the vast differences that once existed between rural cultures, foreigners and tourists. Lifestyle migrants may soon run out of ‘idyllic settings’ through their own impacts or they may join in the struggles to incorporate progress without losing the values that attracted them in the first place. As locals feared, migrants can move on and locals will remain to sort out the problems and the future. However, although some foreigners and locals have come and gone, those of us, local and foreign, who have lived the changes in Deía, have memories of ‘the way it was’ but also welcome ‘the way it is’ knowing that it has evolved into ‘home’ for ourselves, our children and our
grandchildren through all of our interactions. The ideology that identified ‘others’ as more authentic, places and spaces as purer or better, offered potential lifestyle changes to many foreigners who transcended localities with their transnational identities and cultural diversities. The places and spaces are transformed, as are those who experience them, and the images of locality will continue to be remade by new arrivals in the future (Waldren 2007). References Abram, S. and Waldren, J. (1997) ‘Introduction: Tourists and Tourism – Identifying with People and Places’, in Abram, S., Waldren, J. and Macleod, D. (eds) Tourists and Tourism – Identifying with People and Places. (Oxford: Berg). Barth, F. (1969) Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. (Boston: Little, Brown). Burkitt, I. (1991) Social Selves. Theories of the Social Formation of Personality. (London: Sage). Camino, L.A. and Krulfeld, R.M. (eds) (1994) Reconstructing Lives, Recapturing Meanings: Refugee Identity, Gender, and Culture Change. (Basel, Switzerland: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers). Carter, P. (1992) Living in a New Country: History, Travelling and Language. (London: Faber & Faber). Clifford, J. (1988) The Predicament of Culture. (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press). Fees, C. (1996) ‘Tourism and the Politics of Authenticity in a North Cotswold Town’ in Selwyn, T. (ed.) The Tourist Image: Myth and Myth Making in Tourism. (Chichester: John Wiley and Son). Fiennes, C. (1982) The Illustrated Journeys of Celia Fiennes 1685–c.1712. (London: Macdonald). Geertz, C. (1988) Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author. (Cambridge: Polity Press). Herzfeld, M. (1987) The Social Production of Indifference. (Chicago: Chicago University Press). Holy. L and Stuchlik, M. (eds) (1981) The Structure of Folk Models. (London: Academic Press). Kinsley, Z. (2008) Women Writing the Home Tour 1682–1812. (Aldershot: Ashgate). Kirkegaard, S. (1968) Concluding Unscientific Postscript (trans. D.F. Svenson). (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Macfarlane, A. (1978) The Origins of English Individualism. (Oxford: Blackwell). Parkin, D. (1999) ‘Mementoes as Transitional Objects in Human Displacement’, Journal of Material Culture 4(3): 303–320. Rapport, N. and Overing, J. (eds) (2000) Social and Cultural Anthropology: The Key Concepts. (London: Routledge).
Sand, G. (1842) Un Hiver à Majorque. (Paris: Souverain). Scruton, R. (2003) ‘The Beastly British’, The Spectator 15 November. Strathern, M. (2002) ‘Afterword’, Social Analysis 46: 90–91. Thomas, T., Sheppard, P. and Walter, R. (2001) ‘Landscape, Violence and Social Bodies: Ritualized Architecture in a Solomon Islands Society’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 7(3): 545–572. Waldren, J. (2007) ‘Reframing Place, Time and Experience: Leisure and Illusion in Mallorca’, in Coleman, S. and Kohn, T. (eds) The Discipline of Leisure: Taking Play Seriously. (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Waldren, J. (2006) ‘ A Precarious Balancing Act’, in Stacul, J., Moustou, C. and Kopnina H. (eds) Crossing European Boundaries: Beyond Conventional Geographical Categories. (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Waldren, J. (1998) ‘The road to ruin: the politics of development in the Balearic Islands’, in Abram, S. and Waldren, J. (eds) Anthropological Perspectives on Local Development: Knowledge and Sentiments in Conflict. (London: Routledge). Waldren, J. (1997) ‘We’re Not Foreigners, We Live Here’, in Abram, S., Waldren, J. and Macleod, D. (eds) Tourists and Tourism – Identifying with People and Places. (Oxford: Berg). Waldren, J. (1996) Insiders and Outsiders: Paradise and Reality in Mallorca. (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Urry, J. (2007) Mobilities. (Cambridge: Polity). Willis, R. (2003) ‘ASA 2003: Communitas Enters the Academy’, Anthropology Today 19(6): 24.
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American dream 6, 31, 37, 45 American travelogues 32–33, 34–35, 37, 38–41, 42, 45, 46 ‘Anglo’ women, Florence, Italy 5, 6, 7–8, 10, 51–52, 63–64 childcare 59–60, 62 employment 60–62 gender roles 56, 57–62 marriage 57–62 mother-in-law 58–59 retirement 62–63 romantic Grand Tourists 52–57 Aron, C.S. 42 backpackers 15, 16, 20, 26, 161 Bauman, Z. 3, 10, 103–4, 105–6, 108, 109, 112, 117 Benson, M. 5, 6, 9, 10 ‘better way of life’ 1, 3–5, 8, 10–11, 104, 153,161 Lot, France 121, 122, 123–26, 128, 132 Westerners, Varanasi, India 21–24, 27 bonding social capital 89, 90, 95, 98, 99 Bourdieu, P. 103, 104–5, 116, 117, 130–31, 132 bridging social capital 87, 89, 91, 95, 99 British migrants Didim, Turkey 5, 10, 137, 139–41, 142–47, 149 Lot, France 121–30, 131–32 O’Reilly, K. 6, 8, 9, 10, 156, 161 Spain 87, 89, 94–98, 99–100 British retirees, Calpe, Spain 87, 89, 94–98, 99–100 Buller, H. and Hoggart, K. 2, 8, 32, 69, 123 Calpe, Spain 87, 91–93 British retirees 87, 89, 94–98, 99–100 social networks 93–98 Calpe U3A 92, 93–94, 95
Casado-Diaz, M. 4, 6, 7, 8 childcare, Florence, Italy 59–60, 62 children, of migrants 5, 103, 156, 161 France 124 international school 105, 108, 109, 110–11, 112–13, 115–16, 117 Italy 59–60, 62 Spain 9, 105–8, 109–10, 111–17 Spanish schools 108–9, 113 Turkey 141, 149 working-class 116–17 corporate refugees 1, 32, 38, 43, 46 Costa Blanca, Spain 87, 91–92, 94, 99 counterurbanization 123 cultural capital 104–5, 117, 121, 130, 132, 133 cultural difference 7, 80–82, 83, 138, 156 Deía, Mallorca 154, 158–60, 161 Didim, Turkey 5, 10, 137, 139–41, 147–48, 149 British migrants 142–47, 149 risk-taking 142, 143–45 distinction, pursuit of 130, 131–32, 133 Dordogne, France 127–28 downshifting 4, 6, 31, 32, 37, 45, 46 dream destinations 4, 6, 21–22, 104 elites 112, 113, 115, 117 employment, Florence, Italy 60–62 escape 3–4, 9, 53 backpackers 16, 19, 26, 33 to France 123, 126 to Spain 105 to Turkey 143, 146, 149 Florence, Italy ‘Anglo’ women 5, 6, 7–8, 10, 51–52, 63–64 childcare 59–60, 62
employment 60–62 gender roles 56, 57–62 marriage 57–62 mother-in-law 58–59 retirement 62–63 romantic Grand Tourists 52–57 France 9, 10 British migrants 121–30, 131–32 counterurbanization 123 ‘good life’ 121, 122, 123–26, 128, 132 rural idyll 123 friendships 24, 87, 91, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99–100 gender roles, Florence, Italy 56, 57–59 ‘good life’ 1, 3–5, 8, 10–11, 104, 153, 161 Lot, France 121, 122, 123–26, 128, 132 Westerners, Varanasi, India 21–24, 27 Grand Tour 7, 53 Grand Tourists, romantic 52–57, 63–64 Grand Traverse, Michigan, USA 6, 32, 33, 37–38 Gustafson, P. 6, 7, 143 habitus 8, 9, 103, 104, 115, 116–17, 132, 143 handbook, Swedish migrants 71, 72, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82 Herzog, B. 37 Hoey, B.A. 5, 6, 153 homes mobility strategies 77–78 multiple 7, 70–71, 74–77, 82–83 residential strategies 72–73, 74–77 second 9–10, 69, 70–71, 82–83, 139–40, 145 idylls 158, 161 rural 6, 22, 32, 41–42, 45–46, 54–55, 123, 154 urban 6–7, 55 India 4, 7, 9, 15, 17, 20, 25–26 International Retirement Migration (IRM) 69, 74, 77, 83, 87–88, 92, 98, 140 international school 105, 108, 109, 110–11, 112–13, 115–16, 117 IRM. see International Retirement Migration
Johnstone, B. 34 King, R., Warnes, T. and Williams A. 2, 8, 69, 70, 71, 73, 75, 76, 87, 105, 123,138, 141 Korpela, M. 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 161 language skills 8 France 128–29 Italy 52, 53, 60, 61, 62 Spain 73, 81, 96, 99, 109, 110–11, 113 Turkey 146 Larsson, P. 79, 80–81 Leelanau County Association of Commerce 38–41 leisure 6, 87, 88, 89, 90–91, 93–94, 99. see also U3A letting 77, 79 life stories 34–36 lifestyle choices 1, 2–3, 7–8, 11, 19–20, 26, 54, 160–61 lifestyle migrants 52, 132–33, 160–62 Calpe, Spain 87, 89, 94–98, 99–100 Didim, Turkey 5, 10, 137, 139–41, 142–47, 149 Lot, France 121–30, 131–32 Turkey 137, 138 lifestyle migration 1, 2–3, 5–7, 10–11, 16, 17, 24, 123 International Retirement Migration (IRM) 87–88 lifestyles 3–5 post-migration 7–11 seasonal migration 69–70, 83–84 self-realization 5–6 lifestyles 2, 3–5, 8, 22, 160–61 liminality 9, 32, 42–43, 58, 60, 61–62, 64, 160 liquid life 103–4, 108, 112 liquid modernity 103, 104, 108, 112 Lot, France 9, 10 British migrants 121–30, 131–32 counterurbanization 123 ‘good life’ 121, 122, 123–26, 128, 132 rural idyll 123 Mallorca 153, 154, 155, 157, 158–60, 161 marriage, Florence, Italy 57–62
Michigan, USA 6, 31, 33–34, 37–40 mid-life crisis 42–43 mobile lifestyle migrants 1, 16, 27, 82, 88 mobility strategies 77–78, 83 mother-in-law, Florence, Italy 58–59 motherhood, Florence, Italy 59–60, 62 multiple homes 7, 70–71, 74–77, 82–83 mobility strategies 77–78 residential strategies 72–73
British, Lot, France 125 International Retirement Migration (IRM) 87–88 Swedish 71–72, 73, 74–77, 82, 83 risk, management of 78–79 risk-taking, British migrants 142, 143–45 romance tourists 5, 7, 51, 52–57, 63–64 rural idyll 6, 22, 32, 41–42, 45–46, 54–55, 123, 154
narratives, of travel 32–33, 34–35, 37, 38–41, 42, 45, 46 new lives, post-migration 7–8 Northern Michigan Asylum 33–34, 38 Nudrali, O. and O’Reilly, K. 5, 6, 10
Sand, G. 157 seasonal migration 7, 69, 83, 146 backpackers 16 Swedish retirees 71, 72–73, 74–75, 77–78, 79 second homes 9–10, 69, 70–71, 82–83, 139–40, 145 multiple homes 74–77 residential strategies 72–73 self-realization 2, 3, 5–6, 103, 115, 160 Sheehy, G. 43 social capital 87, 88, 89–91, 93–95, 98, 98–99 social contacts 88, 91, 93–94, 159 social networks 155, 156 British retirees 87, 88, 89–91, 93–94, 95, 97–98, 99 Deía, Mallorca 158–59 Lot, France 129, 130 Swedish retirees 71, 73, 80 socio-cultural differences 7, 80–82, 83, 138, 156 solid modernity 103, 104, 112, 113 Spain 9–10, 69–70, 72–73, 74–77 British retirees 87, 89, 94–98, 99–100 children, of migrants 9, 105–8, 109–10, 111–17 cultural difference 80–82, 83 international school 105, 108, 109, 110–11, 112–13, 115–16, 117 language skills 73, 81, 96, 99, 109, 110–11, 113 schools 108–9, 113 Swedish retirees 71–72, 77–80, 82–83 transnational life 77–82 Spanish schools 108–9, 113 spirituality 23 States of Mind (1999) 37
Oliver, C. 5, 124–25 O’Reilly, K. 6, 8, 9, 10, 156, 161 Pahl, R. 91, 99–100 place-making 34–36, 41–42, 46 post-migration 7–11 Putnam, R.D. 87, 89–90 recreational activities 6, 87, 88, 89, 90–91, 93–94, 99. see also U3A refuge 3, 4, 31, 32–33, 37, 38, 41–42, 45–46 refugees 154–55 residential strategies 70–71, 75, 76, 77, 82–83 mobility strategies 77–78 multiple homes 74–77 risk, management of 78–79 seasonal migration 74–75 second homes 72–73 residential tourism 9–10, 71, 147–48 retirement migrants 5 ‘Anglo’ women, Florence, Italy 52, 62–63, 64 British, Calpe, Spain 87, 89, 94–96, 99–100 British, Didim, Turkey 143 British, Lot, France 125 Swedish, Spain 72–73, 75–77 retirement migration 5, 52, 64, 69–70 British, Calpe, Spain 87, 93–96, 99–100
Swedish retirees 1, 7, 71–73, 75–77, 82–83, 143 mobility strategies 77–78 multiple homes 74–77 residential strategies 77–82 second homes 72–73 social networks 71, 73, 80 The Captives (1924) 38–41, 42, 45, 46 therapeutic landscape 6, 32, 33, 34–36, 37, 40–41, 45–46, 157 tourists 112–13, 117 transnational life 77–82, 83–84 travel brochure 32–33, 32–33, 38–41, 42, 45, 46 travelogues, American 32–33, 34–35, 37, 38–41, 42, 45, 46 Trundle, C. 5, 6–7, 10, 156, 160 Turkey 5, 10, 137, 138, 139–41, 147–48, 149 British migrants 142–47, 149 risk-taking 142, 143–45
U3A (University of the Third Age) 8, 87, 89, 92–93, 95–96, 98 urban idyll 6–7, 55 Urry, J. 77, 78, 83 vagabonds 112, 117 Varanasi, India, Westerners 1, 4, 7, 9, 15–20, 21–24, 25–27, 161 wage work 19, 25 Waldren, J. 55, 56, 110, 130, 132, 153–164 ‘West’, criticism of 6, 18–20, 22, 27 Westerners, Varanasi, India 1, 4, 7, 9, 15–16, 17–18, 25–27, 161 backpackers 16–17 ‘good life’ 21–24 mobile lifestyle migrants 27 ‘West’, criticism of 18–20 Winter in Mallorca (1842) 157 Working at Play (1999) 42 working-class children 116–17 working-class migrants, Didim, Turkey 5, 137, 142, 143–45