Privileged Mobilities: local impacts, belonging and citizenship

Transnational mobility by migrants who are relatively privileged by citizenship, class, ‘race’ and investment capacity is on the increase. PRIMOB brings together researchers working on diverse forms of privileged migration – retirement, lifestyle, investment, amenity, elite, highly skilled and international residential mobilities.


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The objectives of PriMob are threefold

  1. The first objective aims to develop discussion around the conceptualization of privileged migration to increase understanding on the processes of privileged migration contextualized by origin and destination environments, migrant subjectivities and intermediaries – both human and non-human – in facilitating mobilities.  How can privileged mobility and whiteness be incorporated into theories of migration and transnationalism? How are different forms of privileged migration located in the economic migration-leisure migration spectrum?

  2. The second objective is to explore processes of emplacement and dwelling interrogating how temporalities of stay – in the context of multiple residences, transnational lives and ghost migration – impact practices of citizenship and belonging, and give rise to specific livelihood strategies. How do privileged migrants use, transform and partake in the city in which they live? How does that compare with migration to rural areas? What are the spaces and circuits of sociabilities established by migrants of privilege?

  3. The third objective explores processes of local transformation and the impact of privileged migration on destination areas and the local social resistances emerging from competition on resources, processes of transnational gentrification, touristification, increasing house and retail prices, pressure on rental markets, restructured commerce and services, etc. It will also investigate the link between privileged migration and the leisure- and tourism-led restructuring of cities. 

Names of coordinators

Jennifer McGarrigle

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Franz Buhr

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Names and institutional affiliations of (key) members

Jennifer McGarrigle

Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Franz Buhr

Centre of Geographical Studies, IGOT, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Maria Lucinda Fonseca

Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território, Portugal

Alina I P Esteves

Universidade de Lisboa, Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território, Portugal

Sue Coccaro

Katie Walsh

Sarah Scuzzarello

University of Sussex, United Kingdom

Sofia Gaspar

Jelena Dzankic

European University Institute, Italy

Roxanna Barbulescu

Alvaro Martinez Perez

Dora Sampaio

Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Zeynep Yanasmayan

Meghann Ormond

Wageningen University, Netherlands

Eralba Cela

University of Milan, Italy

Caroline Knowles

Michaela Benson

Matthew Hayes

Kwanchanok Jaisuekun

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Agenda of activities

The research initiative aims to create an open working group within IMISCOE, with the hope of expanding and evolving in the future to include new researchers at different career stages and from different disciplines. The activities are related with two main pillars, the first creating a lasting network on privileged migration based on research excellence and the second on dissemination. The research initiative will kick off with a virtual meeting in early October to organize our activities over the ensuing 12 months and beyond. During the course of the year, we will organise two workshops. The first in Lisbon during the IMISCOE Spring Conference in February 2020, where parallel sessions will be integrated into the conference. The sessions will bring together researchers working on various forms of privileged migration across Europe and beyond, with the objective of thinking through the objectives of the RI.  Local impacts will be observed and discussed further through a study visit to various localities in Lisbon in the process of socio-spatial change due to transnational investment, touristification and new forms of lifestyle/investment migration.

A second workshop will be organised at the IMISCOE Annual Conference in Luxembourg in June 2020. The research initiative will collaborate on a joint proposal for a session(s) on privileged mobilities providing an opportunity to bring together senior and young researchers working on related issues in the Global North and South. A side meeting at the annual conference will also provide an opportunity for collaborating researchers to meet and discuss ongoing activities and writing plans.

A further, on-going activity includes the creation of an online space to gather research diaries, podcasts with experts, disseminate results, analysis, events, thoughts and videos. The website content aims to attract a wider audience including academics, policy makers, journalists, the general public and students.

To enhance the budget and create synergies ERASMUS + exchanges between European partners will also be used to exchange knowledge and teaching practices on migration and hold extra meetings to plan for project funding and publications. 


The joining of scholars working on the objectives related to this research initiative will be the first step in building a dynamic research stream within IMISCOE to advance knowledge and build synergies on privileged mobilities. A major output of the research initiative is to promote continuity by organizing workshops on an annual basis at the IMISCOE conference and building a consortium for future applications for competitive research grants to develop joint projects. 

In the short term, we aim to bring scholars together, with special support for early stage researchers, in the annual and spring conferences in 2020 for workshops. Joint discussion and reflecting at these meetings will result in working papers or articles to create a future agenda for studies on privileged mobilities.  We also aim to create a PRIMOB (#primob_IMISCOE) identity and a web space that is navigable and dynamic with good quality content to attract a wide readership and group of contributors.


  • PriMob's website is on!

    The research initiative PriMob: Privileged Mobilities: local impacts, belonging and citizenship has a new website . The website contains a blog section, where members post reflections, opinions, and news regarding the field of privileged migration. A...