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Postcolonial Cultures and Continuities

Western expatriates should not be considered a homogenous group and the articles

collected here reflect some of the diversity of their experiences. In part, this is related

to the variety of geographical locations in which they reside, including the cities and

countries represented here: Jakarta, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, India and

Namibia. The expatriates involved are also engaged in different forms of mobility.

Although many of them could be described as ‘labour migrants’ insofar as they move

for work-related reasons (as in the papers by Leggett, Leonard, Coles/Walsh,

Armbruster, Farrer and Rogaly/Taylor), this term comprises a range of motivations,

skill levels, and temporalities of movement. On one end of the time spectrum are

those traditionally described as ‘settlers’, such as Germans moving to Namibia in

order to live and work there, and those*discussed in Farrer’s and Leonhard’s papers*who have made Shanghai or Hong Kong their long-term home, setting up businesses and having families. The middle ground is occupied by people who are

being posted as ‘intra-company transfers’ by multinational corporations, as well as

independent professionals, who may envisage moving to another country in the near

future. People in this group include those discussed by Leggett (Jakarta), Leonard

(Hong Kong), Rogaly/Taylor (Asia, Middle East) and Coles/Walsh (Dubai), as well as

those who accompany their spouses (Fechter, Jakarta). On the far side of the

spectrum are lifestyle migrants: in Korpela’s case study, these are Westerners who live

in the city of Varanasi, India, pursuing particular lifestyles and cultural interests while

returning regularly to their home countries to engage in income-generating activities

which make their stay in India possible.