Faculty Achievement: Hoey publishes ‘Opting for Elsewhere’


Dr. Brian A. Hoey, associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, has published a book with Vanderbilt University Press, Opting for Elsewhere: Lifestyle Migration in the American Middle Class.

Hoey’s book examines stories of everyday Americans who move to new places as a way to redefine themselves through reordering work, family, and personal priorities.  According to Hoey, their act of relocation expresses longstanding cultural values while also demonstrating developing responses to distinctive contemporary challenges and opportunities.

Based on Hoey’s community-based, ethnographic research, the book is about the impulse to start over. Whether downshifting from stressful careers or the victims of downsizing from jobs lost in a surge of economic restructuring, lifestyle migrants seek refuge in places that seem to resonate with an idealized, potential self. The book  captures their stories and frames them as part of a larger moral story about what constitutes the good life at a time of economic uncertainty coupled with shifting social categories and cultural meanings.

Hoey’s book provides illustration of the ways these sweeping changes impact people and the places where they live and work as well as how both react– devising strategies for either coping with or challenging the status quo.  Opting for Elsewhere is widely available at online retailers both in hardcover and as an eBook.   See http://www.vanderbilt.edu/university-press/book/9780826520050.