Migrants' Rights Network

London Identities

The Centre for London published a new paper titled London Identities, which explores how understandings of identity and belonging shapes the capital. 

Researchers Nicolas Bosetti and Tom Colthorpe use an introduction and three chapters to examine the “London identity”, amidst a diversifying population and deepening inequality. The report maintained that “London identities remain strong” – as strong as it was 40 years ago. 

High in political theory and peppered with polls on self-proclaimed identity and belonging divided between nation states (sub divided across political allegiances), the report even goes as far as to stratify identity across protected characteristic. It draws a clear distinction between the Goodhart school of thought that sees “London as the epitome of rootlessness and weak integration” vs. those that view London’s diversity as its strength.

The report also applauds all three mayors of London for being progressive in their attitude to migration, but it miserably fails to explore how the lack of rights as a migrant can define a migrant’s whole experience of the (any) city.

A re-working of this in the context of metro mayors and the cities of England against the backdrop of regionalisation would make for a very interesting debate, especially in the context of the government’s proposed “Integrated Communities Strategy.”

The report can be found here.

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Jennifer Ngo

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