Arguing against David Goodhart (whose controversial new book The British Dream: The Successes and Failures of Post-War Immigration has recently been reviewed on openDemocracy), Lugo-Ocando remarked that the reason for the low standard of living for many people in the UK is not that migrants occupy a disproportionately high number of jobs, but is a result of the neo-liberal economic model which requires modes of working that are low-wage, insecure and often exploitative.
These concerns were considered in more conceptual terms in a keynote address by Bridget Anderson, Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at Oxford University (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, in which she posed the question: ‘who is the migrant?’ Neither a French banker working in the city, nor an Australian entrepreneur with a multi-million pound business, the migrant is predominantly perceived as poor, racially ‘other’ and non-English speaking. According to Anderson, this perception reflects a wide-reaching fear of the global poor, which demands examination if the political traction of the migrant figure is to be affirmatively appropriated.
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"This article was first published on 15 July 2013."
This article makes much sense, a must read, since I suspect that the analysis of the British situation reflects a western-european problem.
"Approaching immigration in a vacuum results only in the historically ineffectual battle between negative and positive images of migrants and the extent to which they enhance or undermine Britain’s economic and cultural value."
"Demonstrating the damaging impact of punitive approaches to migration on valued concepts of citizenship, democracy and welfare might help reorient the debate over immigration away from the ‘Us and Them’ paradigm articulated by Anderson towards a shared vision of the kind of society we want to live in. "
"The ‘naturalness’ of national belonging is one of the key ways in which migrants become the global scapegoats for the failures of global capitalism."
"The idea of neighbourliness was raised by conference participants as an alternative to the binary opposition between citizen and non-citizen that polarises the debate over migration. This does not entail a wholesale rejection of the concept of national citizenship, which is an enduringly important mode of belonging; not least for refugees unable to return to their country of origin who wish to make a permanent life elsewhere. Instead, neighbourliness suggests an ethical orientation towards others – regardless of political or social status – which recalls philosopher Emmanuel Levinas’s repeated assertion that ‘the other is the neighbour’. In this sense we might also consider ourselves ‘neighbours’ with others the world over, and in doing so overcome those divisions which reduce migrants to symbols of anxiety and fear. "