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Civilised Communities: Reconsidering the 'Gloomy Tale' of Immigration and Social Order in a Changing Town

Griffiths, Clare

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Abstract

Immigration and its effects on crime, social disorder and community tensions remains a pervasive feature of public, government and academic discourse. This discourse often considers immigration, and immigrants themselves, as a threat to the community’s existing moral and social order. This paper presents the findings of a case study that used quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the experiences of social order following a recent wave of Polish migration in a small working class town in the North West of England. The key findings show that the assumed association of migration with a disruption to social order receives little support. Rather, the social order in the studied locale is predominantly managed and maintained through ‘civilised relationships’ between migrants and established residents, thus failing to culminate into conflict between the two groups. This situation of ‘civility’ provides an alternative to the preponderance of previous research telling a ‘gloomy tale’ of immigration and its impact on local communities.

Acceptance Date Jul 17, 2014
Publication Date Sep 9, 2014
Journal The British Journal of Criminology
Print ISSN 1464-3526
Pages 1109-1128
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azu064
Keywords Polish immigration, strangers, civilised communities, conflict, social (dis)order
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azu064

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