Based on several years of ethnographic fieldwork, French London provides rare insights into the everyday lived experience of a diverse group of French citizens who have chosen to make London home. From sixth-form students to an octogenarian divorcee, hospitality to hospital staff, and second-generation onward migrants to returnees, the individual trajectories described are disparate but connected by a ‘common-unity’ of practice. Despite most not self-identifying with a ‘community’ identity, this heterogenous migrant group are shown to share many homemaking characteristics and to enact their belonging in common ways. Whether through the contents of their kitchens, their reasons for migrating to London or their evolving attitudes to education and healthcare, participants are seen to embody a distinct form of London-Frenchness. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of ‘symbolic violence’ and ‘habitus’, inventively deconstructed into its component parts of habitat, habituation and habits, the book reveals how structural forces in France and early encounters with ‘otherness’ underpin mobility, and how long-term settlement is performed as a pre-reflexive process. It deploys an original blended ethnographic lens to understand the intersection between the on-land and online in contemporary mobility, providing a rich description of migrants’ material and digital habitats. With ‘Brexit’ on the horizon and participants subsequently revisited in a post-referendum Epilogue, the monograph demonstrates the appeal of London prior to 2016 and the disruption to the migrants’ identity and belonging since. It offers an unprecedented window onto the intimate lifeworlds of an under-researched diaspora at a crucial point in Britain’s history.
A multimodal reading of archived London-French blogs
This chapter brings the ethnosemiotic paradigm (Fiske, 1990 ) into its own, taking internet data as the analytical starting point. I return to the notion of habitus, deconstructed in previous chapters, but seek its representations in the London-French blogosphere. By examining five blogs preserved in different web archives between 2009 and 2014, I assess how they have evolved in social semiotic terms and what such developments tell us about the London-French migration experience over time. My analysis seeks to understand how identity is
the field of ethnography more broadly, crossing disciplinary boundaries through its innovative ethnosemiotic framework.
Notwithstanding Bourdieu’s rejection of the deterministic structuralist semiotics characteristic of the French School, my blended analysis of London-French institutional websites and personal blogs demonstrated the compatibility of ethnography and semiotics (Kress, 2011 ). Adopting the social semiotics advocated by Hodge, van Leeuwen and Kress (Hodge and Kress, 1988 ; Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996 , 2001 ; van Leeuwen, 2005 ; Kress, 2010
Blended understandings of symbolic forces in London-French education on-land and on-line
a blended whole.
Unlike Chapter 6 , where web resources are my starting point, in this chapter I begin with on-land interview data for contextualisation, and, in an ‘ethnosemiotic’ turn (Huc-Hepher, 2015 ), subsequently test the findings against the semiotic affordances of the on-line data. The first section of the chapter is dedicated to on-land experiences and perceptions of French and British education models, within the framework of symbolic violence. The second section is devoted to the on-line representations of three schools/colleges cited in my on
educational model, such as the discriminatory universalism and overly academic positivist French educational epistemology (Lea et al., 2003 ), or the practice-based, student-centred constructivist English methods (Lea et al., 2003 ), are substantiated semiotically through the multimodal orchestrations of the websites. I also demonstrate how the websites function as microcosms of the wider migratory experience and how education plays an important part in settlement processes (Ryan and Sales, 2013 ).
Chapter 6 fully embraces the blended ethnosemiotic paradigm (Fiske