Skip to main content

Stories from a Migrant City: Living and Working Together in the Shadow of Brexit - with Professor Ben Rogaly

Seminar Series

25th November 2020. In this joint webinar, Northern Exposure and the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC) are pleased to welcome author Ben Rogaly, Professor of Human Geography, University of Sussex, to present his new book: Stories from a Migrant City: Living and Working Together in the Shadow of Brexit.

Nationalists and nativists often blame the figure of the immigrant ‘other’ for society’s ills, contrasting this with the ‘local’ or ‘native’ whose livelihood and way of life are seen as under threat from immigration. Being at ease with difference is seen as the worldview of a cosmopolitan elite. Ben Rogaly will read from and discuss his new book Stories from a Migrant City which argues for an urgent transformation of how such terms are understood and deployed. Drawing on eight years of research in an English provincial city and a biographical approach to oral history, the book challenges the ways in which people have come to be seen as ‘migrants’ or ‘locals’ and understood to have opposing interests. Non-elite cosmopolitanism is shown to be alive and well, in spite of racism, the legacies of empire and the devastating effects of four decades of neoliberalism.

Ben Rogaly is a Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sussex and a member of the Sussex Centre for Migration Research. His previous books include Moving Histories of Class and Community: Identity, Place and Belonging in Contemporary England (co-authored with Becky Taylor) based on research in Norwich where he lived for seven years during his previous job at the University of East Anglia. Ben’s earlier research involved long term residential fieldwork in West Bengal, India, where he focused on seasonal migration for agricultural and construction work.

The session was chaired by Adrian Favell, PI of the Northern Exposure project, and the talk was followed by responses from Zyama Ciupijus, of the Northern Exposure project and CERIC, and Vicky Ledwidge, from Migration Yorkshire.