American Dreaming (2008)

Hoey B A (2008) American Dreaming: Refugees from Corporate Work seek the Good Life. In E. Rudd and L. Descartes eds. The changing landscape of work and family in the American middle class : reports from the field. Lanham, MD, Lexington Books. 117-139.

The economic restructuring and corporate downsizing that has come to define the contemporary working world has made contingent, part-time, and temporary work a part of the American social landscape. In this chapter, life-style migrants describe challenging taken for granted assumptions of the American Dream as a framework, a moral horizon that orients and promises future reward for present day loyalty, hard work and self-sacrifice. The decision of how to live one’s life is made of more than simply economic choices, they are also moral. The case of life-style migration shows how people may attempt to be true to an emerging sense of an inner, authentic self, by using a notion of quality of life as a kind of personal moral compass. It involves seeking refuge through migration to new places that are believed to resonate with and support a life-style commitment. This chapter examines the relocation stories of life-style migrants to show how their attempts at work/family reorientation take place not only within culturally informed moral space of questions about what constitutes “the good,” what is worth doing and what is not, but also how it is bound up with their actual physical bearings in the world, with place itself.

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