The British on the Costa Del Sol Twenty Years On: A story of liquids and sediments

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Abstract

This paper is based on ethnographic research with British migrants in Spain over a 20-year period: a period of mass migration and some return migration. British in Spain, who became a mass media and academic phenomenon during this time, have often been understood as performing liquid or mobile mobilities, and little attention has been given to the long-term impacts of their migration. This paper examines environmental and infrastructural changes in Spain, traces in the shape of abandoned properties and closed-down businesses and also the new long-lasting organisations, institutions and relationships that have emerged and taken on a form of permanence over time and daily practice of these migrants as agents. Drawing on practice theory to draw attention to outcomes of migration, this paper argues that even the most fluid of migrant communities and lifestyles leave sediments and traces that shape the future for prospective migrants and those who are settled.

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