"We live a life in periods" - Perceptions of mobility and becoming an expat spouse


  • Julia Büchele Centre for African Studies, Basel




narratives, mobility, migration, expat spouses, Uganda


Deploying organizations strongly support their employees’ relocation with their spouses and children under the premise that families guarantee a social and practical support system (Kraimer et al. 2016). Expat spouses I have interviewed in the course of my qualitative data collection were sure that their migration experience differed significantly from their employed spouses. While for themselves relocation was a (repeated) interruption of the “normal pace of life”, they assumed that their husbands were provided with a “ready-made life” because they started work right away and were thus integrated in a local social setting. This paper explorse different perceptions of expat spouses' mobility and argues that expat spouses learn to be expat spouses through repeated relocations and "mobility work" ( Mense-Petermann and Spiegel 2016).

Author Biography

Julia Büchele, Centre for African Studies, Basel

Julia Büchele, Dr. des. has studied Social Anthropology, German Philology and Sociology in Vienna, Basel and Lucerne. In 2017, she completed her PhD titled "Expat Spouses: An Ethnography on Global Migration" (supervised by Elísio Macamo, University Basel and Tomke König, Bielefeld University) at the Centre for African Studies Basel (CASB). During that time she was also part of the organising team of the 7th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) which was hosted by the CASB 29 June - 1 July 2017 in Basel. From 2011-1215 Julia Büchele was the assistant at the CASB and a from 2015-2016 visiting scholar at Harvard University.
Contact: j.buechele@unibas.ch




How to Cite

Büchele, J. (2018). "We live a life in periods" - Perceptions of mobility and becoming an expat spouse. Migration Letters, 15(1), 45–54. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v15i1.341