Migrant Experiences of Conviviality in the Context of Brexit: Polish Migrant Women in Manchester

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This paper explores how people live together in different places in the context of Brexit. This issue seems more relevant than ever due to the continued attention being paid to immigration, identity and nation and raising questions about conviviality – understood in this paper as a process of living and interacting together in shared spaces. Building on my earlier research in 2012/13 and drawing on qualitative interviews conducted with Polish migrant women after the EU referendum in 2016, this paper explores the complexity of my participants’ everyday interactions with the local population in Manchester in the context of Brexit, viewed by many as a disruptive event impacting on social relations. The paper shows that conviviality is a highly dynamic process influenced by spatio-temporal characteristics, revealing not only tensions but also various forms of conviviality, in some cases sustained over time. It illustrates that, while Brexit poses challenges to conviviality, there are instances of thriving and sustained conviviality that endures despite exclusionary anti-immigration rhetoric. The paper also reflects on the possibilities of maintaining social connections and belonging in the context of Brexit, whereby some migrants become more rooted in their local areas and are likely to be settled on a more permanent basis, contrary to earlier assumptions that post--accession migrants are temporary.

Keywords: Polish migrant women, Brexit, conviviality, racism/xenophobia, belonging

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-83
JournalCentral and Eastern European Migrant Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2020