‘India’s my heart, and I know I’m an Indian’
Histories of mobility and fixity
in Stories from a migrant city
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Opening with an extended story of remembered cosmopolitanism and racism in a Peterborough childhood, the chapter then draws on biographical oral history interviews with three other men resident in Peterborough, all of whom were born outside the UK and have South Asian heritage. All of them moved to England as children or teenagers, and all at some point in their lives worked in factories. The analysis of these three narratives uses concepts developed in the field of critical mobilities studies to challenge the way in which migration is often discussed. It shows first how biographies of spatial mobility – people’s life geographies – cannot be understood separately from racisms and from class and gendered inequalities. Secondly, it insists on undoing the taken-for-granted hierarchy in understandings of migration that often automatically gives greater importance to international moves than to shorter-distance ones. Thirdly, the chapter shows how fixity – not moving residence – exists in relation to mobility, a conceptual development which opens new possibilities for political alliance between people who are displaced by moving residence and those who are displaced because the place around them has become unrecognisable.

Stories from a migrant city

Living and working together in the shadow of Brexit



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