At home in generic places: personalizing strategies of the mobile rich

  • Melissa Ley-Cervantes
  • Jan Willem Duyvendak


In the literature it is often suggested that mobile people, like their non-mobile counterparts, look for particular places to connect with. This has been documented in research focused on the way in which migrants (re)create particular places in their countries of destination (i.e., the formation of ethnic enclaves). However, our extensive fieldwork among Mexican professionals in Madrid, such as postgraduate students, academics, IT professionals, journalists, and others, point toward the opposite direction: for the very mobile and the recently arrived particular places matter little (Duyvendak in The politics of home. Belonging and nostalgia in Western Europe and the United States. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2011; Ley-Cervantes in Stuck in the middle: home-making strategies of Mexican Middling Migrants. Ph.D. Thesis, Autonomous University of Madrid, 2012). Instead they rely on generic places, such as airports, chain restaurants or hotels to feel at home. Instead of taking for granted the homeliness of certain places, this paper aims to inquire the role of generic places in the home-making experiences of a small and rather privileged portion of the moving population.


Chronically mobile Generic places Home Madrid Mexicans Personalization 


  1. Abdelhandy, D. (2008). Representing the homeland: Lebanese diasporic notions of home and return in a global context. Cultural Dynamics, 20, 53–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmed, S. (1999). Home and away: Narratives of migration and estrangement. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2(3), 329–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrews, H. (2005). Feeling at home. Embodying Britishness in a Spanish charter tourist resort. Tourist Studies, 5(3), 247–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauman, Z. (1998a). Globalization: The human consequences. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bauman, Z. (1998b). Postmodernity and its discontents. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  6. Beatley, T. (2004). Native to nowhere: Sustaining home and community in a global age. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  7. Beck, U. (2000). What is globalization?. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  8. Blunt, A., & Dowling, R. (2006). Home (Key ideas in geography). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Bonfil-Batalla, G. (1996). México Profundo: Reclaiming a civilization. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bookman, S. (2014). Brands and urban life: Specialty coffee, consumers and the co-creation of urban cafe sociality. Space and culture, 17(1), 85–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bourdieu, P. (1987). What makes a social class? On the theoretical and practical existence of groups. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 32(1), 1–17.Google Scholar
  12. Bozkurt, E. (2009). Conceptualising ‘Home’: The question of belonging among Turkish families in Germany. Frankfurt & New York: Campus Verlag.Google Scholar
  13. Calhoun, C. (Ed.). (1991). Social theory and the politics of identity. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.Google Scholar
  14. Castells, M. (1996). The rise of the network society (Vol. 1). Massachusetts: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  15. Chambers, I. (1990). Border dialogues: Journeys in postmodernity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Conradson, D., & Latham, A. (2005). Transnational urbanism: Attending to everyday practices and mobilities. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 31(2), 227–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cresswell, T. (2002). Introduction: Theorizing place. In G. Verstraete & T. Cresswell (Eds.), Mobilizing place, placing mobility: The politics of representation in a globalized world (pp. 11–32.) Thamyris/Intersecting: Place, Sex, and Race, 1(9).Google Scholar
  18. Delalex, G. (2002). Non-places: The everyday experience of flows. disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory, 11(9), 101–115.Google Scholar
  19. Delalex, G. (2006). Go with the flow: Architecture, infrastructure and the everyday experience of mobility. Helsinki: University of art and Design.Google Scholar
  20. Duyvendak, J. W. (2011). The politics of home. Belonging and nostalgia in Western Europe and the United States. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  21. Favell, A. (2009). Eurostars and Eurocities: Free movement and mobility in an integrating Europe. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hannerz, U. (1996). Transnational connections: Culture, people, places. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Harvey, D. (1989). The condition of postmodernity: An enquiry into the origins of cultural change. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd.Google Scholar
  25. Hiernaux, D., & Lindón, A. (2004). Metropolitan deterritorialization and reterritorialization: Mexico City [Desterritorialización y reterritorialización metropolitana: la ciudad de México]. Documents d’Analisi Geografica, 44, 71–88.Google Scholar
  26. Jensen, O. (2009). Flows of meaning, cultures of movements: urban mobility as meaningful everyday life practice. Mobilities, 4(1), 139–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Knox, P. (2005). Creating ordinary places: Slow cities in a fast world. Journal of Urban Design, 10(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lavrinec, J. (2011). Revitalization of public space: From “Non-Places” to creative playgrounds. Philosophy Communication, 19(2), 70–75.Google Scholar
  29. Lewinson, T. (2007). Extended-stay hotel as home: An exploratory study. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Georgia.Google Scholar
  30. Ley-Cervantes, M. (2012). Stuck in the Middle: Home-making strategies of Mexican Middling Migrants. Ph.D. Thesis, Autonomous University of Madrid.Google Scholar
  31. Nowicka, M. (2007). Mobile locations: Construction of home in a group of mobile transnational professionals. Global Networks, 7(1), 69–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Omar, E. O., Endut, E., & Saruwono, M. (2012). Personalisation of the home. Procedia-Social and Behavioural Sciences, 42, 328–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ong, A. (1999). Flexible citizenship: The cultural logics of transnationality. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Paulsen, K. (2013). Modeling home: Ideals of residential life in builders’ show houses. In M. Kusenbach & K. Paulsen (Eds.), Home. International perspectives on culture, identity, and belonging (pp. 25–48). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  35. Rapport, N., & Dawson, A. (1998). Migrants of identity: Perceptions of home in a world of movement. Oxford: Berg Publishers.Google Scholar
  36. Robertson, R. (1995). Glocalization: Time-space and homogeneity–heterogeneity. In M. Featherstone, S. Lash, & R. Robertson (Eds.), Global modernities (pp. 25–44). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Savage, M., Bagnall, G., & Longhurst, B. (2005). Globalization and belonging. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  38. Scott, S. (2006). The social morphology of skilled migration: The case of the British middle class in Paris. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32(7), 1105–1129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sleegers, F. (2008). The limits of feeling at home: On home feelings of transnationals [Grenzen aan thuisgevoel: Over het thuisgevoel van transnationalen]. MA-thesis, University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  40. Tandogan, Z. G., & Incirlioglu, E. O. (2004). Academics in motion: Cultural encapsulation and feeling at home. City & Society, 16(1), 99–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tian, K., & Belk, R. W. (2005). Extended self and possessions in the workplace. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(2), 297–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Urry, J. (2000). Sociology beyond societies: Mobilities for the twenty-first century. London: Routledge. Google Scholar
  43. Wells, M. (2000). Office clutter of meaningful personal displays: The role of office personalization in employee and organizational well being. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 20(3), 239–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wiles, J. (2008). Sense of home in a transnational social space: New Zealanders in London. Global Networks, 8(1), 116–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Williams, D. R., & McIntyre, N. (2001). Where heart and home reside: Changing constructions of place and identity. In Luft, K., & MacDonald, S. (Eds.), Trends 2000: Shaping the Future (pp. 392–403). Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.El Colegio de la Frontera Norte-CONACyTMonterreyMexico
  2. 2.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations