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Lifestyle migration in East Asia: integrating ethnographic methodology and practice theory

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journal contribution
posted on 29.08.2014, 08:15 by Karen OReilly, Rob Stones, Katherine Botterill
This project was designed to study the lifestyle migration of British migrants in Thailand and Malaysia and Hong Kong Chinese migrants to mainland China. With a focus on the meanings, motivations and outcomes of lifestyle migration in Asian contexts, the goal was to tell practice stories. Practice stories explain a phenomenon by describing how it develops over time as norms, rules, and organizational arrangements are acted on and adapted by individuals as part of their daily lives, in the context of their communities, groups, networks, and families. This paper provides an explanation of the research project and its initial aims; describes what is meant by practice stories, and indicates their role in the design of the research; considers how practice stories emerge from a bringing together of strong structuration theory, the concerns of the lifestyle migration literature, methods, and empirical data; discusses the fieldwork undertaken by the authors in Malaysia and Thailand, and thus, illustrates how a project underpinned by ethnographic methodology and practice theories can address the initial aims of the research project.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

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Sage Research Methods Cases




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O'REILLY, K., STONES, R. and BOTTERILL, K., 2014. Lifestyle migration in East Asia: integrating ethnographic methodology and practice theory. IN: SAGE Research Methods Cases. London: SAGE Publications, Ltd. doi:




SMUR (Submitted Manuscript Under Review)

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