‘Unraveling the Politics of Super-rich Mobility: A Study of Crew and Guest on Board Luxury Yachts’

Emma Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, I introduce the superyacht as a unique vessel, as a home and workplace to professional crew and holiday space for its super-rich passengers. Drawing upon the notions of motive, rhythm, and friction from Cresswell’s mobility constellation, this paper illustrates how the politics of super-rich mobility are performed by crew and guests on board. Rather than preserve the perception that super-rich individuals are hyper-mobile I in turn suggest that in the case of the superyacht the desire and to perform their mobility status when on board ultimately circumscribes or restricts super-rich mobility. Using data from an in-depth ethnographic study on board various superyachts, I suggest ways in which the mobility of the yacht can inform both super-rich and shipped mobilities as both fields continue to grow.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberDOI: 10.1080/17450101.2014.946772
Pages (from-to)401-413
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • yacht crew
  • superrich
  • politics of mobility
  • performance
  • rhythm

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