Moving Lives : Narratives of Nation and Migration among Europeans in Post-War Britain book cover
1st Edition

Moving Lives
Narratives of Nation and Migration among Europeans in Post-War Britain

ISBN 9780367604080
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

Immigrants in Britain are often viewed as just that - 'immigrants'. Their experiences as migrants are sidelined in favour of discussions about assimilation and integration - how 'they' adapt to 'us'. This book refocuses debates about migration by following the experiences, memories and perceptions of three migrant groups in Britain: the Polish, Italian and Greek-Cypriot populations. In tracing some of the key themes of migration narratives, Kathy Burrell illustrates that the act of migration creates enduring legacies which continue to influence the everyday lives of migrants long after they have moved. The book is structured around four key themes. The first is the migration process itself. Burrell highlights the important contrast between voluntary and involuntary migration, examining the different memories and legacies of migration. The second theme is the national, (as opposed to ethnic) identities of the groups studied. The author demonstrates how national consciousness survives the upheaval of migration and is perpetuated through the recognition of national histories, myths and traditional rituals. The third theme is a memory of the homeland. The author traces her respondents' memories and experiences of their national territory, focusing particularly on the transnational connections that are established with the homeland after migration. Finally Burrell considers community, analyzing her respondents' experiences of community life and the shared social and cultural norms and values that underpin it.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Narrating migration; Remembering the Nation; The myth of no return; The binding ties of community; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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Kathy Burrell is a Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Geography at the University of Liverpool, UK.


'This is an outstanding piece of work by a talented young scholar. It both demonstrates a command of the existing literature and also makes significant methodological advances. It deals especially well with the significance of transnationalism and its relevance for three European communities in post-War Britain, which have received relatively little attention.' Professor Panikos Panayi, De Montfort University, UK 'This book provides a subtle and sophisticated analysis of how three European migrant groups in Britain have shaped their identities. Moving Lives is particularly significant in outlining the everyday processes and practices of the Poles, Greek Cypriots and Italians studied and how their national place of origin impacts on their life in Britain. Its comparative approach is revealing and the use of life histories fascinating and sensitively handled. The recent increase of European migration to Britain makes this lively book all the more relevant.' Professor Tony Kushner, University of Southampton, UK