‘We’re not just guardians of the area but of the whole city’
Urban citizenship struggles and the racialised outsider
in Stories from a migrant city
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Opening with the story of a long-term resident who remembered once being a newcomer, the fourth chapter moves from the workplace to the neighbourhood. Contestations over place are central. Class, ‘race’ and the right to the city are all at stake. The chapter focuses on the life histories of people who either moved to or grew up in parts of Peterborough that have housed new international migrant arrivals since at least the 1940s. Stories of working-class lives in these neighbourhoods include inter-ethnic mixing, conviviality and racisms. Stereotypes have emerged about ‘eastern Europeans’ that ignore the diversity of subjectivities and identities among the more recent migrants. Demands made by recently arrived international migrants for a voice in city governance and for housing and workplace justice can be seen as struggles over the nature of citizenship. In the context of the ongoing multi-scale quasi-colonial governance of ‘difference’ in Britain, the chapter argues that such citizenship struggles need to be understood alongside (and in relation to) those of other working-class people, including long-term residents and migrants from elsewhere in the UK, and both ethnic minorities and the white British ethnic majority.

Stories from a migrant city

Living and working together in the shadow of Brexit



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