The Aspirational Class “Mobility” of Digital Nomads

Authored by: Erika Polson

The Routledge Companion to Media and Class

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138493612
eBook ISBN: 9781351027342
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



This chapter looks critically at the growing phenomenon of “digital nomads,” a new generation of workers who combine online labor and personal motility to maintain a lifestyle of permanent travel, working remotely in cultural and nature hotspots around the world. Although there have always been segments of the labor market whose work requires travel, seasonal migration, or expatriation, digital nomadism represents a novel mode of lifestyle-centric labor migration enabled by developments in technology, infrastructure, and employment models, but also, importantly, represents a new stage in the elevation of global mobility as a status asset. Through an examination of mediated discourses around the growing digital nomad movement, I show how the nomad identity is constructed and sold as an advanced mode of living through liberation from societal constraints. Although they make up a just a fraction of the millennial generation, the rarely-questioned status attached to their lifestyles in mainstream and social media indicates that a recognizable “mobile dream” is emerging based on travel and continuous movement, lack of place-based commitments, convergence of labor and leisure, and eschewing homeownership in favor of drop-in housing. In conclusion, I consider the notion of “location independence” that underlies the digital nomad movement, noting that this concept means taking for granted the privilege to imagine stepping into and experiencing other worlds—worlds that others have labored to produce and maintain.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.