Phil Hubbard
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Boat people
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This chapter considers the traces of refugee arrival and integration at the Kent coast, focused on Hythe and Folkestone. It contrasts the accommodation given to Vietnamese ‘boat people’ in the 1970s and 1980s at Moyle Tower, Hythe, with the incarceration of more recent asylum seekers and undocumented migrants at Napier Barracks, Folkestone. Considering the ethics and politics of hospitality, the chapter suggests that the ongoing attempts to discourage and prevent migrant crossings of the Channel are indicative of the rise of the ‘island thinking’ that has accompanied Brexit, fuelled by negative representations of refugees as economic migrants. The chapter concludes by noting the opposition to these dominant representations which is articulated via local public art, suggesting that a careful reading of the local landscape reveals the positive contribution that successive waves of migrants have made to the life of towns, which have been indelibly shaped by arrivals and departures.

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Identity and belonging at the edge of England


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