In the age of ‘liquid modernity’: self-initiated expatriates in Crete, their multi-generational families and the community

David Clark, Yochanan Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we aim to broaden and deepen the current debate on expatriation in business and management discourse, and especially self-initiated expatriation. Following Bauman’s [Liquid Modernity (2000), Cambridge: Polity; Liquid Love, On the Frailty of Human Bonds (2003), Cambridge: Polity] critique of postmodern society and, employing an anthropological lens, we examine work-related expatriation as set within a wider life context. Whereas conventional expatriation research focus is on the workplace, the focus of this study is the wider community. We take a longitudinal approach demonstrating the essential fluid nature of expatriation in general, self-initiated expatriation in particular. We show the importance of multi-generational links as overall critical considerations in effecting decisions to move or stay; we also show how over time, changes in circumstances, career plans and demands of significant others, drive the expatriate agenda. We pay particular attention to non-traditional expatriates and issues of health and disability in the extended family. Finally, we document the importance of the wider family and of the community in the process of adjustment and in engendering a sense of belonging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-743
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number7
StatePublished - 11 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.


  • Crete
  • ethnography
  • longitudinal
  • multi-generational
  • self-initiated expatriation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'In the age of ‘liquid modernity’: self-initiated expatriates in Crete, their multi-generational families and the community'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this