Roma migration, anti-migrant sentiment and social integration: A case study in South-east England
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 15:16 authored by David Smith
This article explores the settlement and residential patterns of Slovakian Roma migrants in Chatham, Kent where a significant number have been moving since the mid-2000s. This process is analysed in the context of growing hostility to European Union migrants and of fundamental changes to the local economy, labour markets, social and demographic structures and of growing neighbourhood polarisation. Vertovec’s (2006) notion of ‘hyper-diversity’ is used to frame the analysis allowing for a shift away from homogenising categories that conceive of Roma as being qualitatively ‘different’ to other migrant populations and towards the generationally specific hybrid group dynamics that evolve at the grassroots level (Tremlett, 2014). The discussion will highlight the relationship between the participants’ migratory strategies, social ties and settlement patterns in the UK and the increasingly diverse intergenerational experiences of life in their adopted hometown. While many Roma are following a similar path of absorption into the lower end of the working class followed by other migrant groups, structural changes to the local economy and the deterioration of poorer neighbourhoods mean this equates to integration into the social exclusion and marginalisation experienced by large swathes of the contemporary working classes as captured by Wacquant’s (2008) concept of ‘advanced marginality’.
Publication titleLocal Economy
- Accepted version