RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017

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351 Negotiating Brexit: migrant spatialities and identities in a changing Europe (3): Everyday Relations, Integration and Securities
Affiliation Population Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Kate Botterill (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
David McCollum (University of St Andrews, UK)
Naomi Tyrrell (Plymouth University, UK)
Andrew Wooff (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
Chair(s) Kate Botterill (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
Timetable Friday 01 September 2017, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
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.

Linked Sessions Negotiating Brexit: migrant spatialities and identities in a changing Europe (1): Transnational mobility, materiality and emotion
Negotiating Brexit: migrant spatialities and identities in a changing Europe (2): Politics of Mobility, Citizenship and Belonging
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2017@rgs.org
‘Brexit and Me’: Exploring Identity and Belonging with Eastern European Young People Living in the UK
Claire Kelly (Plymouth University, UK)
Naomi Tyrrell (Plymouth University, UK)
Daniela Sime (University of Strathclyde, UK)
Christina McMellon (University of Strathclyde, UK)
Marta Moskal (Durham University, UK)
The enlargement of the European Union after 2004 led to significant demographic and social changes across all European nations, with key implications for issues of citizenship, diversity and national identity. With increased mobility, many children migrated with their migrant worker parent(s) from Central and Eastern Europe to the UK. Over the last decade, the UK has struggled with tensions between the clear economic benefits of migration and the perception that migrants are a threat to national identity and social stability (IPPR, 2014). In 2016, these anxieties led to the so-called ‘Brexit’ referendum on whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union, with a majority voting to leave. This paper reports on findings from a national survey carried out with Eastern European young people (12-18 years old) who have been living in the UK for three years or more (since 2004). The paper explores young people's identities, belongings and experiences of citizenship in the UK and as Europeans, and their everyday experiences of racism and exclusion. The findings reveal the uncomfortable position of many young people born in Eastern Europe and living now in the UK, and their ambiguous future in the context of current UK plans for Brexit. The study progresses existing knowledge by focusing on Eastern European young people's experiences in the context of current debates on the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU.
‘Getting used to it’: understanding EU migrants’ experiences of hostility in pre- and post-Brexit Wales
Taulant Guma (Aberystwyth University, UK)
Rhys Dafydd Jones (Aberystwyth University, UK)
The negative impacts of the EU referendum vote and the resulting Brexit on migrants and more widely on the British society have been widely reported in the media and among scholars. Most notably, attention has been paid to the significant rise in hate crimes and hostilities directed at migrants and minorities living in the UK. In this paper we examine the impact of Brexit from the perspective of EU migrants themselves; a voice largely absent from debates about migration during the referendum campaign. Based on qualitative research conducted with EU migrants living in Wales throughout 2016, we identify a more differentiated picture of the ways in which these migrants responded to the outcome of the EU referendum that took place in June last year. We argue that for some EU nationals the hostility and ‘questioning’ of their belonging has been ongoing and was already at play prior to the EU referendum, posing questions about the implications of living among hostile sentiments and actions for ideas of belonging and hospitality. In discussing the implication of such findings, we contribute to those debates which have called for an understanding of Brexit as an ongoing process rather than merely as an event.
Brexit and the Spanish community: Integration trajectories in turbulent contexts
Helen McCarthy (Middlesex University, UK)
In the past, EU citizens moving to the UK have enjoyed political, economic and social rights that have not always been available to other groups of migrants (Carmel 2013). Political and public discourses have long differentiated between groups of migrants, creating hierarchies of desirableness. EU citizens, influenced by official EU discourses of freedom of movement, have often been towards the top of these hierarchies, with important differences made between those from the newer accession countries (the A8 and A2) and those from the older Western European countries (EU15) (Collett 2013). In recent years, the increase in migration from Southern Europe (Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal) along with discourses about the financial crisis, have seen the beginning of the shift in attitudes to citizens from these countries (Angelo and Kofman 2016). The vote to leave the European Union created a dramatic shift in the political context particularly for groups that had not been problematised until recently (Fox, Morosanu, and Szilassy 2012). Drawing on preliminary findings from an online survey and in-depth interviews, this paper will trace integration trajectories and outcomes of Spanish nationals in the UK. Recognising that the community is not homogenous, the paper will consider the different experiences of Latin Americans with Spanish nationality and Spaniards who were born in Spain. In doing so, the paper will seek to understand the different factors that affect people’s reactions to uncertainty and their plans for the future.
‘Betwixt and between’ during Brexit? Questions of home for retired British migrants on the Costa del Sol
Rebekah Miller (The University of Edinburgh, UK)
The Costa del Sol region of Spain is well known as a popular as a destination for British people to migrate and retire to (Oliver, 2008; O’Reilly, 2000). The recent UK referendum on membership of the European Union has become a, substantial (and often unexpected), consideration in these migrants’ experiences of retirement abroad. As such, this paper investigates some of the ways that retired British migrants living in the Costa del Sol have begun to negotiate ‘Brexit’ and its implications in their daily lives, and how it may be re-making their sense of home (Blunt and Dowling, 2006). It draws upon O’Reilly’s (2000:17) assertion that British migrants living in the Costa del Sol find themselves “betwixt and between” Spain and the UK; simultaneously belonging in part to both, and yet to neither in totality. Drawing upon ethnographic research, this paper highlights some of the ways that Brexit is challenging, or reaffirming, retired British migrants’ senses of home and belonging. Particular attention will be paid to the migration stories of those retired British migrants encountered during fieldwork in an attempt to understand how Brexit may have re-shaped their ‘lifestyle project’ (Benson and O’Reilly, 2009), or may have challenged their concept of home or heimat (Huber and O’Reilly, 2004).
Some Aspects of Intangible Costs of International Migration: A case study of professional Indian immigrants in UK
Atreyi Majumdar (Delhi University, India)
As development accelerates in the era of increasing globalisation, migration pressures will mount in the coming decades. I attempted to assess the impact of professional and highly educated people’s movement from India to UK on the basis of a small survey, through direct interview method involving considerable interpersonal communication in 2001. I continued to interact with a few of original interviewees and community leaders to know about coping strategies with ageing in foreign land in 2006 via e mail and telephone, May – June 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 in numerous festivities. The change of environment for the skilled and educated manpower from India had a dramatic effect on their lives along with that of the two nations. I surmised from my detailed discussions with them as that the duration of residence increases in the land of destination, so does the migrant’s homesickness and longing to be with the people from the same country of origin possibly with grim consequences. However, majority of them are coping with growing loneliness and declining health focusing on four Gs: “Gardening, Golf, Grandchildren and God”. The cost- benefit analysis has ceased leading to assimilation and relative stability. Brexit may thwart this final process due to insecurity and uncertainty about the future. I would like to examine this issue through further interaction with the first and second generation immigrant in coming future.