(Adam Mickiewicz University)
Paper Short Abstract:
This paper argues that the quest for a "good life" is also an important motivation for migrants from the Global South, who are predominantly associated with purely economic choices. It analyses "tranquility" as a leading motivation for seasonal migrants working in the Indian informal tourism sector.
Paper long abstract:
Migration motivated by the quest for a "good life" - e.g. lifestyle migration - is usually associated with the privileged citizens of the Global North. This is even more apparent if we take into account the intersections of migration and tourism, and speak about tourism-led lifestyle migration or lifestyle entrepreneurship in tourism (Ateljevic & Doorne 2000), i.e. the shift from lifestyle consumption to lifestyle production (Shaw & Williams 2004). These are usually "expatriates" from the Global North in the Global South who are able to fulfill their quest running lifestyle oriented small tourism (LOST) firm (Carlsen 2008). Meanwhile migrants who originate from the Global South are often imagined as homo œconomicus motivated mostly by better earning opportunities.
In this paper I would like to challenge this assumption by discussing some findings from my fieldwork conducted within the informal tourism sector at the Hampi World Heritage site in India. The majority of small entrepreneurs in this sector are migrants, both internal and international (e.g. from Nepal or Tibet), who move seasonally, often with their families. When asked about the reasons for choosing Hampi as their destination - when more popular and lucrative Goa beaches are just nearby - they point at the category of "tranquility", which they use to counter capitalist notions of profitability by not aspiring to maximize economic gain. I seek to answer the question of how "tranquility" is defined by migrants in the Indian tourism sector and how this affects their migratory decisions and practices.
Complexities of mobility: beyond the binaries of lifestyle v. economic migration