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The English in north-west Wales migration, identity and belonging 1970-2010 : an oral history

Walker, Michelle (2012) The English in north-west Wales migration, identity and belonging 1970-2010 : an oral history. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

The migration of English people into Wales, and particularly north-west Wales has been the focus of much debate and discussion. The majority of the historical writing on this subject has been concerned with investigating and analysing the impact of this migration on the recipient area. Discussions have been dominated by depictions detailing declining Welsh language usage, the scale and significance of second home ownership and the inability of English migrants to settle, adapt, integrate and engage with the community at large. This thesis examines the opposite side of the debate: the experiences and memories of migration from the perspectives of the English migrants themselves. Using oral history methodologies and statistical data, this thesis seeks to shed new light on the increasingly politicised and contentious issue of English migration. It shows how representations of the English as a homogenous group, dominated by retirement and second home migration are inaccurate. Analysis of the available statistics supports the view that the migration ‘problem’ has been overstated and that the media and wider public discourse has succeeded in propagating these negative images. The majority of the research for this thesis has been drawn from interviews with English-born migrants conducted by the author. It shows that the migration process was preceded by prior connections with the area in the form of holidays and family connections. The migrants were aware of the negative discourse surrounding their migration but nevertheless attempted to integrate into the area, most notably by dismissing the existence of Welsh stereotypes and confirming the existence of English stereotypes in the region. The study shows that in-migrants achieved different levels of integration and extensive support for the Welsh language was not always converted into language use. There was widespread attachment to the area but this was not translated into an identity built on the area. Discussions about national identity challenge the notion of a strong ‘English’ identity among respondents, suggesting a more complex relationship with Wales and Welshness. This thesis argues that such an approach is long overdue in the social history of English migration to Wales.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: No permission for electronic availability
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2015 14:42
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2016 08:51
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5113
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