Do it for charity! Radio's mediation of civic engagement among British ex-pats in Portugal

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'Following the social life' of broadcasts, to use Marcus' (1995) metaphor, this article explores how self-designated 'expatriates' residing in the south of Portugal use radio to advance efforts in support of local causes of public concern they become involved with as strategies of reterritorialization. Drawing on media ethnography, it argues that the radiophonic mediation of 'charitable' efforts foregrounds the possibilities and limitations of a connection to the public sphere facilitated by a commercial station in a lifestyle migration setting (Benson and O'Reilly, 2009; O'Reilly, 2000). Operating within an English-language public sphericule (Gitlin, 1998), broadcasts do not allow for deliberative interaction on air but rather promote the reproduction of 'charitable' values and practices among, mostly, British residents. However, mixing elements of critical and representative publicity, the radio's specific mode of address and circulation of texts particularly reflects and plays into naturalized but ambivalent stances of connection with local realities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-124
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • radio
  • Portugal
  • lifestyle migration
  • Algarve
  • charity
  • mediation
  • civic engagement
  • publics


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