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"Highly Skilled Migrants in the City of London" Seminar - Louise Ryan

We look forward to welcoming Louise Ryan, Professor of Sociology, University of Sheffield, UK who will present a paper entitled: Highly skilled migrants in the City of London: Applying the concept of differentiated embedding to understand responses to Brexit as part of the 2019-20 Seminar Series, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice . This seminar is also supported by the UCD Migration Research Platform (headed up by UCD Prof. Bryan Fanning, Professor of Migration and Social Policy).

The seminar will take place in the Seminar Room (Ground Floor) of the UCD Geary Institute at 2pm on Friday 8th November.

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This paper draws upon the concept of differentiated embedding to understand how EU migrants, resident in the UK, are responding to Brexit. We draw upon rich, longitudinal data of French highly skilled migrants whom we interviewed repeatedly over 7 years.  Having interviewed them both before and after the Brexit referendum, our data offer insights into how their experiences and evaluations of life and work in the UK have changed in response to the UK planned exit from the EU.

As a relatively privileged, ‘low-visibility’ group, our participants had tended not to see themselves as migrants, but who took advantage of mobility rights as EU citizens to develop their careers in London. Following the 2016 referendum, their attitudes had changed considerably. They expressed novel feelings of rejection, being defined now as outsiders and immigrants.

The framework of differentiated embedding, an active process of developing belonging and attachment over time, is useful in analysing these reactions to Brexit. When first met, our participants seemed to be successfully embedding in the labour market and the diverse cultural life of London.  Now, some are ‘disembedding’, while others are engaging in ‘civic embedding’ by applying for British citizenship as a way of securing their employment and settlement rights. This shows the dynamic, differentiated and contingent contexts of belonging and attachments, even for the most privileged migrants, and suggests the value of a concept of differentiated embedding in making sense of complex, processual and changing nature of migrants’ relationships in various places and over time.

Bio: Louise Ryan joined the University of Sheffield in 2016, having previously been Professor of Sociology at Middlesex University, London, where she worked for 12 years. Originally from Ireland, Louise is a graduate of University College Cork. Her research expertise is in the area of migration, social networks, gender and religion. Louise was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2015, and she is currently chair of the editorial board of the journal Sociology. Louise is a member of the editorial board of International Migration and a member of the advisory board of the Irish Journal of Sociology. She is also a trustee and currently treasurer of the British Sociological Association. Recently, Louise became a member of the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel. Louise is a series editor of the book series – Sociological Futures published by Routledge in association with the BSA. In 2015, her work on migration was recognised internationally when Louise was named on a list of leading international researchers on migration. In 2018, two of Louise’s books have been re-issued to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage: Winning the Vote for Women: the Irish Citizen Newspaper and the Suffrage Movement in Ireland, Four Courts press, 2018. Irish Women and the Vote: becoming citizens (co-edited with Margaret Ward), Irish Academic Press, 2018.

Contact the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8198 | E: sp-sw-sj@ucd.ie |