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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

S2 E9 East-West inequalities and the remaking of unequal Europeans

17 Feb 2023

What does the characterisation of those from Europe’s east as migrants by politicians and in some corners of the media make visible about the politics of migration? What is distinctive about the ways in which they are migratised and racialised? And what does this offer to understandings of racism and racialisation? We’re joined by Aleks Lewicki (University of Sussex) to discuss how critical race theory and postcolonial scholarship can deepen our understandings of repertoires of racism as these play out between ‘Europeans’. Presenter Michaela Benson explores how borders within Europe shifted over the course of the twentieth century. Podcast researcher George Kalivis goes back in the archive to consider the 2003 EU Accession Treaty. And Aleks introduces us to her work about how those from Europe’s east are migratised and why we need to carefully consider what their racialisation makes visible about the distribution of power, past and present, within Europe. 

You can access the full transcripts for each episode over on our website Who do we think we are?

In this episode we cover …

1 Unequal Europes and unequal Europeans

2 The 2003 EU accession treaty

3 Capitalism and the formation of European nation-states


‘Postcolonial approaches draw our attention to the longer durée of precarious labour mobility … there were parallel processes of extractivism occurring. Where Europe ventured out as part of colonialism, and positioned the colonies subsequently as peripheries, at the same time, there was also an extraction of resources and cheap labour from Europe's east, which thereby became positioned as a semi periphery. If we consider these longer histories, it becomes apparent what this meant for the region … generation after generation of people had to at some point, move west to make a living and engaged in various forms of precarious labour mobility’. —Aleks Lewicki

Find out more about … Aleks’ research and her paper on the ambiguous racialisation of ‘Eastern Europeans’

If you liked this episode, check out our previous episodes on this topic with Bolaji Balogun and Marius Turda on  European identities, Nando Sigona on EU citizenship, and Manuela Boatcă on citizenship and Global Social Inequalities

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