“Windrush Generation” and “Hostile Environment”

Symbols and Lived Experiences in Caribbean Migration to the UK

in Migration and Society
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  • 1 University of St Andrews
  • 2 University of the West Indies
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Abstract

The Windrush scandal belongs to a much longer arc of Caribbean-British transmigration, forced and free. The genesis of the scandal can be found in the post–World War II period, when Caribbean migration was at first strongly encouraged and then increasingly harshly constrained. This reflection traces the effects of these changes as they were experienced in the lives of individuals and families. In the Caribbean this recent scandal is understood as extending the longer history of colonial relations between Britain and the Caribbean and as a further reason to demand reparations for slavery. Experiences of the Windrush generation recall the limbo dance of the middle passage; the dancer moves under a bar that is gradually lowered until a mere slit remains.

Contributor Notes

HUON WARDLE is Head of the Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews. His work has focused on the Caribbean, on creolization, and on concepts of world citizenship. Recent books include Freedom in Practice (with Moises Lino e Silva), Cosmopolitics (with Simon Shaffner), An Anthropology of the Enlightenment (with Nigel Rapport), and the second edition of How to Read Ethnography (with Paloma Gay y Blasco).

LAURA OBERMULLER is a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Previous ethnographic work has centered on gold mining in the Guyana hinterlands and its effects on relations between the Guyanese state and Guyana's Amerindian communities. Current research is focused on migration between the Caribbean and North Atlantic countries.

Migration and Society

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