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Publication - Dr Eszter Szilassy

    Denying Discrimination

    Status, ‘Race’, and the Whitening of Britain's New Europeans


    Fox, JE, Moroşanu, L & Szilassy, E, 2015, ‘Denying Discrimination: Status, ‘Race’, and the Whitening of Britain's New Europeans’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol 41., pp. 729


    There is mounting evidence to suggest that East European migrants in the UK have been victims of discrimination. Reports of pay gaps point to the possibility of structural discrimination, restrictions on employment operate as a kind of legal discrimination, and politicians and the media have constructed East European migrants as different and at times threatening. The Hungarians and Romanians we spoke with in Bristol also reported some discrimination, albeit in ways that deflected its racialised connotations. But they also denied that they were victims of discrimination. Why would the supposed victims of discrimination deny discrimination? We argue they did this to attenuate, and potentially reverse, the status degradations they suffered as disadvantaged and at times racialised labour migrants in Britain. We examine two discursive strategies they employed to negotiate this higher status. First, they claimed a higher social class status by embracing the meritocratic values of the dominant class. Second, they claimed a higher racial status by emphasising their whiteness and Europeanness. These were discursive attempts to reposition themselves more favourably in Britain's racialised status hierarchies.

    Full details in the University publications repository