42 / 2015
Michaela Benson, Nataša Rogelja


This thematic section is focused on lifestyle migration, a social phenomenon that foregrounds the role of lifestyle considerations within migration (Benson and O’Reilly 2009; Knowles and Harper 2009). For the large part, this theoretical and conceptual framework has been used to explain the migration of the relatively affluent and is part of a more general shift within migration studies to increase the visibility of the migration of the more privileged, a population flow that, as Amit (2007) has argued, is poorly understood and collectively conceptualized. It has precursors—international retirement migration, leisure migration, counterurbanization, second-home ownership, amenity migration—within migration research, but these rarely captured the full complexity of this phenomenon, delimited around concerns such as aging, and privileging place to the exclusion of subjectivities (for an overview of this discussion see Benson and O’Reilly 2009). The development of the concept of lifestyle migration, primarily identified through rich ethnographic research (see for example Hoey 2005, 2006; Knowles and Harper 2009), sought 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” (Benson and O'Reilly 2009), with lifestyle migration defined “as a 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” (ibid).

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