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'Place images', East European migrants and the terms of belonging in a rural English village

Moore, H (2016) 'Place images', East European migrants and the terms of belonging in a rural English village. In: BSA Annual Conference 2016 - Global Societies: Fragmenting and Connecting, 6 - 8 April 2016, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.

Abstract

Findings from my PhD research into the classed and racialised relationships between rural English residents and East European migrant horticultural workers in the Worcestershire village of 'Mayfield' suggest that English villagers form opinions about migration from Eastern Europe based on their local lived experiences, observations and ideas about the place in which they live, rather than right-wing media discourses about England being 'full up'. The well-rehearsed anti-immigrant narratives perpetuated by the right-wing press did not emerge in my qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork. Rather, I discovered a classed discourse of 'fitting in' where East European seasonal migrants' perceived propensity for working hard at the village's horticultural nurseries means that they adhere to the residents' 'place image' of the 'working village'. This paper explores how the place image of the working village is mobilised in two ways. Firstly, it relates to the village's horticultural past and present; and secondly, it describes the residents' perception of the village's class identity. Villagers' place image of Mayfield as a working village is central to their (somewhat ambivalent) acceptance of Eastern European migrants in the locality. I do not suggest that social integration between migrants and villagers has been seamless. Indeed, village residents often make classed and racialised distinctions between the village 'self' and the migrant 'other'. But despite this, place – and more specifically, the place image of the working village – plays an important role in affirming who belongs in Mayfield and the terms upon which that belonging may be secured.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
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Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2017 14:52
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 14:52
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