Research Online


Goldsmiths - University of London

Toward a critical sociology of lifestyle migration: reconceptualising migration and the search for a better way of life

Benson, Michaela and Osbaldiston, Nick. 2016. Toward a critical sociology of lifestyle migration: reconceptualising migration and the search for a better way of life. The Sociological Review, 64(3), pp. 407-423. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article]

[img] Text
Pre-publication_AcceptedVersion_Benson_and_Osbaldiston.docx - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (60kB)

Abstract or Description

This article places under critical and reflexive examination the theoretical underpinnings of the concept of lifestyle migration. Developed to explain the migration of the relatively affluent in search of a better way of life, this concept draws attention to the role of lifestyle within migration, alongside understandings of migration as one stage within the ongoing lifestyle choices and trajectories of individual migrants. Through a focus on two paradigms that are currently at work within theorisations of this social phenomenon—individualisation and mobilities—we evaluate their contribution to this flourishing field of research. In this way, we demonstrate the limitations and constraints of these for understanding lifestyle migration; engaging with longstanding debates around structure and agency to make a case for the recognition of history in understanding such the pursuit of ‘a better way of life’; questioning the extent to which meaning is made through movement, and the politics and ethics of replacing migration with mobilities. Through this systematic consideration, we pave the way of re-invigorated theorising on this topic, and the development of a critical sociology of lifestyle migration.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


lifestyle migration; mobilities; individualism; historical sociology; migration

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



17 August 2016Published
31 March 2016Published Online
13 July 2015Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

30 Jun 2015 08:08

Last Modified:

15 Jan 2018 12:07

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)