Lifestyle migration: from the state of the art to the future of the field

Benson, Michaela. 2015. Lifestyle migration: from the state of the art to the future of the field. Two Homelands, 42, pp. 9-23. ISSN 0353-6777 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This introductory article provides an overview of the predominant themes that have been explored within the field of lifestyle migration research. In this way, it seeks to locate the contributions to this special section within a wider field, showcasing their innovation. It highlights longstanding interests in migrant subjectivities, cultural narratives of place and migration, alongside a consistent focus on understanding the structural conditions that promote and facilitate lifestyle migration. This overview introduces the field of research to a non-specialist audience and organizes existing theoretical and conceptual concerns within the field.

The central concern of the article is to promote the urgent need for scholars working in this area to consider how lifestyle migration research might intersect with other areas of social science research. This is both necessary as an exercise in extending the relevance of the field, and developing the analytical purchase of the research conducted in this area. Taking its lead from the papers within the section, it highlights two particular areas, migration studies and rural development, to demonstrate that considering these intersections will help to develop the scope of the field, while also making valuable contributions to these wider fields that can innovate their understandings.

In relation to migration studies, the article foregrounds the need to understand migrant subjectivities, to recognize the complex circuits of consumption and production within which migrants are located, and through which migrant identities are (re)constructed. A further contribution is the recognition of privileged subjects as migrants, extending the migration landscape and thus challenging some of the dominant popular framings of migration. The discussion of rural development highlights the need to consider the various ways in which social and economic transformation at different spatial and temporal scales and locations, while also recognizing that lifestyle migration might be part of the way that different locales are restructured. I argue here that in establishing these points of dialogue, lifestyle migration research might be coaxed out of its silo.

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Date Deposited:

23 Jun 2015 11:41

Last Modified:

15 Jan 2018 12:32

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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