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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

When (EU) migration came to Great Yarmouth

Abstract

This article examines the impact of EU migration on Great Yarmouth, a coastal town in Norfolk, England. Great Yarmouth had the fifth highest 'leave' vote nationally in the UK Brexit referendum, at over 70%. In this article, we want to show that Great Yarmouth has always been a town of migration but the sudden arrival of large numbers of EU nationals, exercising their free movement rights, in a relatively short space of time has created divisions in the town, divisions which may take decades to heal. Using legal geography as a prism, we offer an insight into the complex and evolving realities of European integration - and resistance to it. We argue that because EU free movement is a process, not an event, it has long-term effects, effects which have not, to-date, been fully recognised and explored. What we observe in Great Yarmouth is that free movement has, at best, been unevenly experienced by both movers and stayers and, at worst, has a divisive effect on the local community. Only by understanding the experience of migration on a particular community over time can the impact of free movement be properly understood, its consequences continuing long after Brexit.

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Journal

Contemporary Social Science

Authors

Catherine Barnard (United Kingdom)
Fiona Costello (United Kingdom)

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