Performing Expatriate Mobilities in Kuala Lumpur

Gareth Butler, Kevin Hannam

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Research focusing upon expatriates in Asia has been geographically sporadic in nature and has typically centered upon those based in China, Hong Kong or Singapore. Focusing on Kuala Lumpur this research analyses the experiences of expatriates via the notion of automobilty by critically observing their preferred modes of travel and the importance their car journeys play in overcoming problems in Malaysia. While a growing body of research has centered on expatriates' integration into new surroundings, these themes have predominantly observed career motivations and progression, coping mechanisms and the neocolonialism of space. The significance of the decisions made by expatriates regarding how they travel and commute in their new surroundings have been noticeably overlooked. Indeed, the findings of this paper reveal that particular modes of transport are often intrinsic tools in terms of mitigating negative environmental sensations and uncomfortable social encounters. Moreover, it is observed that transportation choices afford some expatriates exclusive opportunities to encounter Malaysia. For others however, transportation preferences lead to a new range of frustrations that were often alien to their experiences back home.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


    • Automobilities
    • Expatriates
    • Malaysia
    • Transport


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