Skip to main content
Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Mobility for Me but Not for Others: The Contradictory Cosmopolitan Practices of Contemporary White British Youth

Abstract

This article seeks to problematise the perception that young people are committed cosmopolitans by highlighting some of the contradictory and contingent practices that young White British youth engage in. To do so, I explore a contradiction that emerged in my recent projects when young people talked about mobility and migration, namely how some White British youth want (and assume) freedom of movement for themselves but are opposed to freedom of movement when it involves immigrants coming to Britain. Here I argue that this can be viewed as an effort to enjoy the benefits of a cosmopolitan lifestyle (particularly through geographical mobility) while nonetheless wishing to limit opportunities for cultural Others to do likewise. This manifestation, I suggest, should be seen as a one-way form of cosmopolitanism that is not just contradictory, but also a reflection of the mixed messages young people in Britain receive about mobility, migration, multiculturalism, citizenship and individualism.

You might also be interested in :

Brexit and the Classed Politics of Bordering: The British in France and European Belongings
This article considers what Brexit means for British citizens living in France. Drawing on empirical research I examine the emotional and material impacts that uncertainties about their futures have had on their lives. The article documents the measures they take (or anticipate)…
Migrant Capitals: Proposing a Multi-Level Spatio-Temporal Analytical Framework
This article explores how migrants utilize and access different forms of capital. Using a Bourdieusian approach to capital, we focus on how migrants' temporal and spatial journeys are shaped by and in turn shape their opportunities to mobilize resources and convert them into capitals.
The Role of Migration Policies in the Attraction and Retention of International Talent: The Case of Indian Researchers
Governments are increasingly implementing policies aimed at attracting or retaining highly skilled migrants. While a growing number of studies examine the effectiveness of these efforts, the actual mechanisms through which migration policies may operate have not been questioned.
Uncanny Europe and Protective Europeanness: When European Identity Becomes a Queerly Viable Option
Europe has recently become closely associated with LGBTQ rights. It remains unclear, however, what is the role of this association in everyday European imaginations and identifications. Empirical research on European identity hardly ever discusses the role of LGBTQ rights.

Journal

Sociology - The Journal of the British Sociological Association

Author

Avril Keating (United Kingdom)

Article meta

Country / region covered

Population studied

Year of Publication

Source type

Keywords