Understanding Lifestyle Mobility in Contemporary China: A Case Study of Hostel Keepers in Lhasa | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


Since late 2000s, moving to certain tourism destinations such as Lijiang, Dali and Lhasa for a short term from cities and opening a hostel during the stay have become a phenomenon among young urbanites in China. It is commonly described as a rebellious gesture against humdrum city living, which has a significant cultural impact on the young in China. Among the destinations, Lhasa has become a popular choice for those “hostel keepers” since 2006 when its tourism market started expansion. After fifteen years of development, the “hostel lifestyle” practiced by these hostel-keepers has become an important aspect of youth sub-culture in China and Lhasa’s hostel sector a cultural icon for domestic tourists. This paper presents ethnographic information about the hostel-keepers in Lhasa based on the fieldwork conducted in 2018 and 2019, including the demographic feature of the hostel-keepers, migration motivations, its history in the local tourism sector, as well as the common business mode. It also adopts a new theoretical framework built upon the concept of “lifestyle migration” (Benson and O’Reilly 2009, 609-10) to better understand this rarely examined but important ongoing cultural phenomenon in China.


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