Decolonisation, space and power
Immigration, welfare and housing in Britain and France, 1945–1974
in Writing imperial histories
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This chapter takes one of the foundational themes of Studies in Imperialism, the reciprocal influences and complex connections that arose from the traffic of people between metropolis and colony, to explore immigrant welfare systems during and after decolonisation. It is explicitly comparative, framed around the experiences of Britain and France, and focuses on the crucial matter of immigrant housing, an issue at once economic, political, social and cultural in nature. The chapter argues that, notwithstanding significant national differences in public discourse, there was a deeper, underlying similarity or convergence in assumptions and outcomes as both countries confronted the process of decolonisation and rapidly increasing immigration in a period of housing shortage between 1945 and 1974. Housing affords an unparalleled viewpoint on the politics of immigration and the making of Britain's and France's multicultural urban experiences.

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