The immigration debate and common anger in dangerous times
in Stories from a migrant city
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Ironically the framing of society as divided between a disaffected working-class (implicitly ‘white’) and a ‘cosmopolitan elite’ is a narrative constructed by writers who are often themselves elite. Chapter 6 challenges the premise of the divisions that they claim to be reporting but in fact frequently promote. It brings together shared histories of mobility and fixity; workplace experiences that produce solidarity across boundaries of ethnic, national, linguistic and faith identities; and struggles for urban citizenship for all residents of a particular place. Being forced to move or stay put is in both cases structured by class inequalities and racisms. As Doreen Massey has argued, this can provide the seeds of ‘common anger’. Moreover, migration is within the experience of people defined as ‘locals’ or ’us’ rather than an action undertaken by a separate category of ‘them’. Yet racisms continue, rooted in colonial history, and promulgated, individually and collectively, by middle-class people and rich elites as well as by some working-class people. Alongside and entangled with such politics, the stories drawn on in this book also collectively portray universal elements of human experience, and thus enable a vision of common humanity that can be a resource for future struggles for equality and justice.

Stories from a migrant city

Living and working together in the shadow of Brexit



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