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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Excerpt from Florida’s Snowbirds: Spectacle, Mobility, and Community since 1945


Godefroy Desrosiers-Lauzon investigates the phenomenon of the “snowbirds.” Every year, tens of thousands of individuals from eastern Canada and the US Northeast, mainly older people, migrate to Florida for the winter months. Going beyond the usual sociological (and satiric) treatments, Desrosiers-Lauzon studies the development of the migratory flows in the post-1945 period and analyzes them in relation to structural issues in leisure studies, such as the roles of state-promoted tourism, economic development, and environmentalism. Rather than seeing the migrants as contributors to community, either through their presence or their economic input, Floridians have tended to build community by engaging in tourist-bashing—the outsiders being scapegoats for larger concerns over growth and environmental damage. One of the author’s important contributions is in addressing the question of how we should understand this group of border-crossing migrants as constituting “Americans,” and his implicit response to the set of works, of which Lizabeth Cohen’s Making a New Deal is perhaps the most prominent, that foreground the role of cultures of consumption in identity formation.

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