Media ethnography of lifestyle migration in Portugal

Media ethnography of lifestyle migration in Portugal

By Inês David and Marta Vilar Rosales

At the ‘Good Life Practices’ conference, I saw Inês present her work on the radio-ography of lifestyle migration, where she used her research with a local English-speaking radio station as a site to interrogate British lifestyle migration in the Algarve. I was struck at the time by how original this was in the field of lifestyle migration, so when I came across this recently-published article by accident this morning, I was keen to get it on the blog as soon as possible. 

The paper is entitled Do it for charity! Radio’s mediation of civic engagement among British ex-pats in Portugal‘ and it appears in the most recent issue of EthnographyHere is the abstract:

‘Following the social life’ of broadcasts, to use Marcus’ (1995) metaphor, this article explores how self-designated ‘expatriates’ residing in the south of Portugal use radio to advance efforts in support of local causes of public concern they become involved with as strategies of reterritorialization. Drawing on media ethnography, it argues that the radiophonic mediation of ‘charitable’ efforts foregrounds the possibilities and limitations of a connection to the public sphere facilitated by a commercial station in a lifestyle migration setting (Benson and O’Reilly, 2009; O’Reilly, 2000). Operating within an English-language public sphericule (Gitlin, 1998), broadcasts do not allow for deliberative interaction on air but rather promote the reproduction of ‘charitable’ values and practices among, mostly, British residents. However, mixing elements of critical and representative publicity, the radio’s specific mode of address and circulation of texts particularly reflects and plays into naturalized but ambivalent stances of connection with local realities.


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