Political engagement of Latin Americans in the UK

Issues, strategies, and the public debate

in Focaal
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This article examines the political engagement of Latin Americans in the UK in the context of a mounting neo-assimilationist and anti-multicultural offensive in the public debate on integration. Assuming that migrants should have a say about their own integration in society, the article explores the extent to which the public debate is sensitive to migrants' own collective concerns. It is from this empirically informed perspective that the article criticizes assimilationist and multi-culturalist attitudes for their disregard of the exploitation and lack of social and cultural recognition that afflicts newly arrived migrants. The article helps to rebalance the prevailing trend in policy and academic circles to treat migrants as objects of policies and ignore their political agency and active collective engagement in the improvement of their conditions. It also offers a corrective to emerging alternative approaches that tend to reduce migrants' politics to their role in sustaining long-distance diasporic communities.