Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
Swedish Whiteness in Southern Spain
Southern Spain is one of the most attractive places in Europe for so-called lifestyle mi-
grants to live and retire. Most of them come to the Spanish Sunbelt from Great Britain
and the Scandinavian countries. The presence of Northern European migration is strik-
ing in the coastal towns of Fuengirola, Marbella, and Málaga. Stores or bars such as the
London Pub, O'Hara's Irish Pub, Nordic Video, and Casa Nórdica, or organizations such
as the Swedish Church, Club Nórdico, and the Swedish School, give a glimpse of the
institutionalization of migrants' national identities. Along with the thousands of British,
erally during the winter, on the Costa del Sol.
This chapter analyzes the various expressions of national identity among Swedish mi-
grant women, and their institutionalization in a foreign context. It draws on in-depth in-
terviews and visual network analysis conducted in 2010 with 20 Swedish migrant wo-
men between 27 and 72 years of age, and field research in the Swedish community in
Andalucía located in a region in southern Spain, popularly known as the Costa del Sol.
Most of my fieldwork took place in Fuengirola, which was characterized by a predom-
inantly lower-middle-class Swedish community that is more vulnerable economically in
of other national origins, settled in the area of Nueva Andalucía outside Marbella, close
to Puerto Banús, a resort for international celebrities. These upper-middle-class migrants
retained their class positions in Spain more effectively than those who belonged to the
lower middle-class. For the lower middle classes, migration to Spain could include a
sense of downward class mobility in terms of economic capital, and a higher orientation
toward national organizations and institutions. This tendency was most obvious among
those living in the coastal town of Fuengirola. According to the women interviewed, the
quality of life, defined as a shift from a materialistic lifestyle in Sweden to a more enjoy-
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