1st Edition

Negotiating Boundaries in the City
Migration, Ethnicity, and Gender in Britain

ISBN 9781138272811
Published October 30, 2016 by Routledge
240 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

Using in-depth life-story interviews and oral history archives, this book explores the impact of South Asian migration from the 1950s onwards on both the local white, British-born population and the migrants themselves. Taking Leicester as a main case study - identified as a European model of multicultural success - Negotiating Boundaries in the City offers a historically grounded analysis of the human experiences of migration. Joanna Herbert shows how migration created challenges for both existing residents and newcomers - for both male and female migrants - and explores how they perceived and negotiated boundaries within the local contexts of their everyday lives. She explores the personal and collective narratives of individuals who might not otherwise appear in the historical records, highlighting the importance of subjective, everyday experiences. The stories provide valuable insights into the nature of white ethnicity, inter-ethnic relations and the gendered nature of experiences, and offer rich data lacking in existing theoretical accounts. This book provides a radically different story about multicultural Britain and reveals the nuances of modern urban experiences which are lost in prevailing discourses of multiculturalism.



Joanna Herbert is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the Department of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London, UK. She has worked on several research projects on the experiences of minority ethnic groups. Her main areas of interest include the gendered nature of migratory experiences, the role of memory in life histories and constructions of whiteness and racisms.


Prize: Winner of the 2009 Oral History Association Book Award ’This is a finely nuanced study of migration, not as international phenomenon or national crisis, but as the lived experience, over time, of Asian migrants, and white neighbours in an English city. Using oral sources, it holds important insights and salutary lessons on migrant experience and host responses and makes a valuable contribution to the contemporary debates on multiculturalism.’ Mary Chamberlain, Oxford Brookes University, UK 'A fine contribution to the British tradition of qualitative research into urban inter-ethnic relations. Drawing on oral histories and interviews, Herbert explores beyond the clichés of assimilation, segregation and social inclusion to reveal the complexities of human interaction at the local level and how the local and the global engage through memory, gender, transnational migration and multicultural integration.' John Eade, Roehampton University, UK '...an incredibly accessible and illuminating account of immigration and integration at a grassroots level. This study breaks away from the traditional microcosmic approach and succeeds in illustrating how both the members of the South Asian community and those of the host population managed to command the challenges that the immigration process inflicted upon them. This is an attribute that will hopefully pave the way for future research.' Twentieth Century British History 'Joanna Herbert’s Negotiating Boundaries in the City: Migration, Ethnicity, and Gender in Britain is a study of migration not as an international phenomenon or a national crisis, but as a lived and local experience...Using oral sources, it sensitively examines the experiences of Asian migrants and their white neighbours in the city of Leicester, showing how the global and the local intertwine over time...The study provides rich new insights into the complexities of migrant lives, the cultural pressures placed on migrant families, and the more