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Benno Herzog
Amelina, A., Horvarth, K. & Meeus, B. (eds.). International Handbook of Migration and Social Transformation in Europe, London: Routledge: 2017-229.
Publication year: 2015


Despite a more than 40-year-old tradition of international retirement migration (IRM) in Europe, relatively little social scientific research has been carried out in this field. Retired European migrants have not been considered to be politically controversial (i.e. they are not viewed as having been the causes of social problems or as needy, poor or deprived). Often, the terms used in the 1980s and early 1990s to describe these populations have been linked not to a migration model but to the model of the social agent of a tourist. The chapter is divided into three parts: (1) a general overview of the flows and socio-economic characteristics of IRM in Europe, addressing the main regions of attraction within Europe and the differences in the social profiles of their retirement migrants and an introduction into the wide range of transnational lifestyles and pensioners’ diasporic lives and leisure as part of their well-being; (2) serious social problems related to wellbeing, health care, social isolation in old age and the lack of attention by local authorities regarding the needs of this population as well as the adaptation of local, regional and national care schemes in response to these problems to address the reality of transnational migration, asking such questions as what integration means under the conditions of transnational lifestyle and what institutions are therefore needed; and (3) reflections about processes of social transformation related to IRM and some methodological problems faced by researchers who study this transnational, often unregistered and isolated type of migration.