Karen O’Reilly, Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University

The British on the Costa del Sol, twenty years later

In 1993, I moved to Spain with my family for 15 months fieldwork with the British on the Costa del Sol. I have since lived in Spain, visited Spain for months at a time, bought and sold a house there, and, more recently, allowed my research and connections to be put on the back-burner. In April 2015, I am returning for a twenty year update. I have written in the past about community cohesion, ethnicity and integration, tourism and migration, ageing, children’s experiences, and the informal economy – all in relation to the British abroad. For example, I have described how British children in Spain are living with and internalizing the contradictions that mark their parents’ lives; the love of Spain and antipathy towards home that mark their lives, combined with the awareness they are not (nor ever could  be) fully integrated in Spain, and that there are more opportunities for them if they move back home or elsewhere in the world. I am now intrigued as to what I will find when I return; what is the situation for younger and poorer migrants since the financial crisis. This paper will thus explore the experiences of poorer and working-class migrant families, those who were affected by economic downturn but whose choices are restricted and constrained. Drawing insights from visual anthropology and from narrative, the paper will engage in ethnographic, visual story-telling, and will help us learn, again, from people who move abroad in search of a better life.

All seminars in the series.