Nav: Home

Lifestyle migrants bring good intentions -- but major change -- to Costa Rica

August 12, 2018

LAWRENCE -- A group of Americans and Europeans has relocated to a Costa Rican community in recent decades, and despite the government cheering the economic jolt, their isolation from locals there more highlights the privilege of these migrants who drastically transform coastal villages, according to a study by a University of Kansas researcher.

"Americans and Europeans are not thought of as migrants, more like expatriates or tourists," said Erin Adamson, a doctoral candidate in sociology. "But they have a really large economic impact on the places they go."

Adamson is presenting her findings Aug. 12 at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia.

In her research, Adamson conducted interviews with locals and two months of participant observation in a Costa Rican Caribbean coastal town identified with the pseudonym Los Reyes. She sought to give voice to the local understandings about the utopian idea of tropical beaches and rainforest there as "paradise" that they see as attracting migrants to live and work on the coast.

Instead, the process has left likely unintended consequences, including a type of gentrification when U.S. and European migrants build large housing and businesses and price out locals in places where they traditionally lived.

"The biggest influences are the land development and also the economic impact because many of the migrants are becoming employers," Adamson said. "Most of them end up opening up tourist-centered business, and the locals often experience them as the boss, even though the migrants think of themselves as someone opting out of the system back home to go live at the beach."

The flux of wealthier migrants in the community has also created a de facto racial segregation in a community that before was home mostly to black locals because the white migrants tend to build in their own housing developments and even send their children to private schools. She said the perception is interesting because most of the white migrants are likely politically liberal and see themselves as egalitarian people who want to experience another culture.

"I don't think that's what they are intending to create, but it is what is being created," Adamson said.

The locals do see some benefit to the influx of migrants as well.

"People also talk about how important lifestyle migrants are to the economy and providing jobs," Adamson said. "So they don't say all negative things."

For sociologists, studying this type of migration that has good intentions on the surface is important, she said.

"It is a kind of migration that is increasing globally," Adamson said. "There are a lot of countries with the exact same situation going on. You can call it neo-colonialism, but it is often ignored in that sense because those governments want the foreign investment. In some ways, they will bring real material investment that can pay for nice roads and infrastructure, but the long-term impact is that local people will get pushed out over time."
-end-


University of Kansas

Related Research Articles:


Related Research Reading:

Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches
by John W. Creswell (Author), J. David Creswell (Author)

The Craft of Research, Fourth Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Wayne C. Booth (Author), Gregory G. Colomb (Author), Joseph M. Williams (Author), Joseph Bizup (Author), William T. FitzGerald (Author)

Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
by Ranjit Kumar (Author)

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Eighth Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Kate L. Turabian (Author), Wayne C. Booth (Editor), Gregory G. Colomb (Editor), Joseph M. Williams (Editor), University of Chicago Press Staff (Editor)

Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog, 5th Edition
by William Badke (Author)

Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches
by John W. Creswell (Author)

Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences (MindTap Course List)
by Frederick J Gravetter (Author), Lori-Ann B. Forzano (Author)

Practical Research: Planning and Design (11th Edition)
by Paul D. Leedy (Author), Jeanne Ellis Ormrod (Author)

The Craft of Research, Third Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Wayne C. Booth (Author), Gregory G. Colomb (Author), Joseph M. Williams (Author)

Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice
by Denise F. Polit PhD FAAN (Author), Cheryl Tatano Beck DNSc CNM FAAN (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Story Behind The Numbers
Is life today better than ever before? Does the data bear that out? This hour, TED speakers explore the stories we tell with numbers — and whether those stories portray the full picture. Guests include psychologist Steven Pinker, economists Tyler Cowen and Michael Green, journalist Hanna Rosin, and environmental activist Paul Gilding.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#487 Knitting in PEARL
This week we're discussing math and things made from yarn. We welcome mathematician Daina Taimina to the show to discuss her book "Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes: Tactile Mathematics, Art and Craft for all to Explore", and how making geometric models that people can play with helps teach math. And we speak with research scientist Janelle Shane about her hobby of training neural networks to do things like name colours, come up with Halloween costume ideas, and generate knitting patterns: often with hilarious results. Related links: Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane by Daina Taimina and David Henderson Daina's Hyperbolic Crochet blog...