RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017

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288 Negotiating Brexit: migrant spatialities and identities in a changing Europe (1): Transnational mobility, materiality and emotion
Affiliation Population Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Naomi Tyrrell (Plymouth University, UK)
David McCollum (University of St Andrews, UK)
Kate Botterill (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
Andrew Wooff (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
Chair(s) David McCollum (University of St Andrews, UK)
Timetable Friday 01 September 2017, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Sherfield/SALC Building, Pippard Lecture Theatre
Session abstract On June 23rd 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU). While immigration was only one of the factors in the vote to leave, the referendum on Britain’s membership has exposed divisions within communities across the UK over the pace and scope of demographic and political change (Harris and Charlton, 2016). Moreover, a spike in racial hate crime across the UK against migrants following the vote has raised concerns for the security and wellbeing of EU and non-EU migrants. Beyond the UK, the geopolitical tremors of the Brexit vote still resonate and there are wide-ranging implications for migration patterns and processes at a range of scales and locations (Portes and Forte, 2016). Furthermore, the discourse of a ‘migration crisis’ following population displacement and refugee arrivals in the EU continues to shape perceptions and experiences of migrant bodies and has generated diverse responses within communities across Europe (Ansems de Vries et al. 2016; Freeman, 2016). Migrants have been the subject of much of these debates, yet their perspectives and experiences of negotiating everyday life in this context remain unexplored. This session aims to decolonize the debate on Brexit and international migration by facilitating an interdisciplinary, critical dialogue. The contributions in these sessions explore how international migrants (EU and non-EU) are affected, materially and emotionally, by Brexit. In particular, the papers explore how Brexit is affecting transnational mobility and identities; how the politics of citizenship and belonging are being negotiated; and the impacts of Brexit on migrant relationships, integration and security.

Note: David McCollum will now be chairing this session; Naomi Tyrrell will now be chairing Session 2
Linked Sessions Negotiating Brexit: migrant spatialities and identities in a changing Europe (2): Politics of Mobility, Citizenship and Belonging
Negotiating Brexit: migrant spatialities and identities in a changing Europe (3): Everyday Relations, Integration and Securities
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2017@rgs.org
Brexit and Secondary Mobilities in EU Migrants' Lives
Kathy Burrell (University of Liverpool, UK)
This paper focuses on the potential mobility fallouts for EU migrants in the UK in the wake of Brexit. EU migrants have, until now, been in a relatively privileged position within the UK mobility regime, and although this position has not been without its own vulnerabilities and costs, these rights are clearly in danger of being eroded. Significantly though, while Brexit heralds fundamental uncertainties over the essential mobilities of migration - legality, citizenship, passport and visa regimes - it also harbours less obvious threats to the range of what could be understood as 'secondary mobilities' which support migrants' lives and transnational practices. This paper considers what this might mean for EU migrants who remain in the UK and what their transnational lives could look like post-Brexit. It asks key questions which are at the heart of the art of transcending transnational distance - what might happen to phone costs, what will it feel like at the border, what might happen to low cost airlines and routes, what might happen to the courier services which ferry parcels back and forth? This paper, then, argues that there is another mobilities story unfolding here, which could potentially reconfigure the transnational practices of EU migration all over again.
The Impact of Brexit on EU migrants: British migrants across Europe
Katie Wright Higgins (Keele University, UK)
Katie Walsh (University of Sussex, UK)
This research examines how the meaning of citizenship, belonging and mobility are changing for British residents in Europe, following the result of the EU-referendum on 23rd June 2016. Influenced by a broader interdisciplinary scholarship on British migration (e.g. Knowles and Harper 2009; Leonard 2010), we adopt a critical usage of the term ‘expat’ which recognises the role that whiteness and relative wealth might play in shaping privileged articulations of Britishness abroad, but also the need to identify the affective and material vulnerabilities of this group as they negotiate questions of belonging, citizenship, and mobility in a changing Europe. Through a survey method, we enquire:
• What are the affective responses and experiences of belonging among British expatriates? How are emotional narratives of identification shifting in relation to the wider reconfiguration of Britishness and the European imaginary?
• How do British expatriates account for their lived, subjective experience of citizenship at this time? What are the perspectives of British expatriates towards the referendum, Brexit, the EU, and Europe?
• What is the envisaged impact of Brexit in terms of the materialities of mobilities for these migrants? What changes do British expatriates predict in terms of themselves/their family, in relation to European residence, transnational practices, and/or return?
Living in Limboland? How Paris-based British Nationals deal with the Uncertainties of Brexit
Corinne Nativel (University of Paris-East, France)
The redefinition of citizenship and mobilities has emerged as a central question following the outcome of the British Referendum on EU membership. Two categories are most affected by Brexit: EU citizens living in Britain, and the 1.2 million Britons living in the European Union (Davies, 2016). Brexit has stirred strong feelings of betrayal and disempowerment among expatriates, as widely documented in the media.

Beyond anecdotal evidence, more systematic research into the emotional and material geographies of Brexit is needed. How does Brexit affect British people’s sense of belonging to the UK and to the country in which they have settled? What emotional and practical reactions have the uncertainties of material life (healthcare, pensions, property, etc.) sparked? To what extent are tensions and conflicts playing out geographically, affecting proximity and distance, or rescaling patterns of engagement according to age, gender, socio-economic and family life, and time spent as a non UK resident?

These questions will be explored through a case study of British nationals who live and work in the Paris area.
British Youth’s Mobility Experiences and Their Identities
Calvin Jephcote (University of Surrey, UK)
Hania Janta (University of Surrey, UK)
Gang Li (University of Surrey, UK)
Allan Williams (University of Surrey, UK)
Recent scholarship has emphasised a development of new identities and coexistence of multiple identities among mobile European youth, with students and highly-skilled migrants in particular displaying strong European identities sometimes replacing, overlapping or blurring with their own national (and regional) identities. Acquisition of ‘mobility capital’ has been recognised as one of the key advantages of the free movement of labour; contributing to the career and personal development of young Europeans on the move. It is also inextricably linked with the reshaping of identities. Nevertheless, there are important territorial differences in the relationships between identities and mobilities, with the UK reported as the most distinctive case (Rother and Nebe 2009). This paper first analyses the multiple territorial identities of young British adults who have contrasting mobility experiences: stayers, leavers, returnees and foreign-born nationals living in the UK. Secondly, it compares these expressions of identities with those from eight other European countries, with sharply contrasting recent migration experiences: Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Romania, Latvia and Slovakia. Thirdly, it utilises multi-level modelling to analyse the principal determinants of the variations in identities. The paper draws on a large scale panel survey undertaken in nine European countries in late 2015, shortly before the Brexit referendum, as part of the EU H2020 project YMOBILITY.
Negotiating transnational identities in ‘Brexit Britain’: Communication strategies and everyday encounters of Polish nationals following the EU referendum vote
Kate Botterill (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
Jonathan Hancock (The University of Edinburgh, UK)
As the process of ‘Brexit’ is negotiated at state and inter-state level, EU nationals living in the UK, and with connections to it, are also engaged in complex and relational negotiations. For many, the outcome of the EU referendum in Britain was a distressing shock and has led to a re-negotiation of meanings of mobility, belonging and home. In this paper, we focus on the experiences of Polish nationals in the UK and return migrants in Poland with continuing transnational ties to Britain. Using data from qualitative interviews with Polish nationals in the UK and Poland during and after the EU referendum vote we explore how meanings of transnational mobility and belonging have shifted and how individuals negotiate everyday communications with others at a time when transnational loyalty is compromised. We examine linguistic and embodied communication strategies employed by Polish nationals to understand how, in the context of political rupture, such meanings are transmitted and/or muted in everyday encounters with others. We draw on theories of transnationalism to explore how national identities are dynamic in times of political instability, how Brexit nationalism disrupts transnational and cosmopolitan sensibilities among Polish nationals and how national frames re-emerge and provide a sense of security in the context of uncertain futures.