The English in the Costa Blanca

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The English in the Costa Blanca

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1. The English in the Costa Blanca Communities or ghettos?

2. Map of Spain

3. Why ‘community’ is still relevant in the 21st century 2 issues: Revival of community as a political construction (UK context) Community useful to understand social change and continuity

4. Community as a political construction Community is an elusive and contested concept but renewed interest in the UK since civil unrest in Northern towns in 2001 Government intervention on the grounds of promoting cohesion and sustainabilty UK agenda = cohesion and sustainability – part of Third Way politics around citizenship Emphasis now on assimilation not pluralism New forms of ‘patriotism’ promoted – political /national allegiance not based on ethnicity / country of origin

5. Community: understanding social change and continuity Communities of choice rather than obligation (international retirement migration – IRM) Imagined communities Utopian and romantic discourse surrounding community – seen as something that is lost but recoverable Transnational communities and identities Limited liability / superficial Transnational communities and the English as ‘Diaspora’ in Spain

6. Migration, place and community ‘out of context’ an ‘ironic parallel’ since emigration from the UK has always superseded immigration but it doesn’t get the same attention 2-3% of the world’s population are migrants 200,000 Britons move abroad each year 47,000 of these move to Spain Emigration from UK has always been greater than immigration but does not get the same attention 2.9m foreign nationals in UK 4.5m British passport holders live overseas So, 1 in 12 UK nationals live abroad 1/5 of British people move abroad when they retire

7. The British in Spain population of Spain is approx 43 million British population in Spain is 761,000 (estimated that it’s actually 3x this) More British in Spain than any other country outside UK Of the 15 coastal areas of Spain (costas) 9 have foreign home owner outnumbering Spanish nationals British been in Spain since 1950s, movement to Costa Blanca accelerated since late 1990s Estimated that 1m Britons own properties in Spain But, British people don’t integrate very well into host society

8. Representations of community A sense of ‘belonging’ Place – living in / attachment to a place (being ‘of’ and ‘from’) Social networks – shared interests / ties with others Identity – collective identity / status – NB ethnic identity

9. People retire to Spain because… Accessible / previous holidays affordable climate presence of other English / British early retirement ‘Bad Britain’ Health Empty nest syndrome ‘late onset aspiration’…

10. Community? Issue of home and abroad (Community as place) Mediterranean idyll or hell Community constructed by reciprocity although limited liability (Community as social networks) Extremely limited interaction with indigenous population (Community as identity / ethnicity) Community ‘recovered’ in Spain - parallels with how the UK used to be etc British / English identity more apparent out of context although tend not to see themselves as foreign

11. Being British / English The imperial legacy – being English / British as superior Speaking English as the norm Homogenisation of other nationalities Dissociation with certain type of Briton ‘I think erm we’ve allowed too many immigrants which is one of the big problems not that I’m racist because I’m not I’ve got friends who are of ethnic origin and that doesn’t bother me one iota’ ‘I’m an immigrant I’m a foreigner. It’s not my country, but that’s just a bonus because I can’t give a monkey’s what’s happening politically, I have freedom’

12. On immigrants in the UK We are not like them! we are not foreign there are too many immigrants in the UK they force their culture on us they don’t speak English they don’t integrate they get treated better they abuse the system they do their own thing they make the UK unsafe

13. On immigrants in the UK (cont) ‘I just feel personally that whilst … there is no obvious resentment of all the extranjeros I can well imagine that the indigenous population are thinking oh god another load of …foreigners, we’ve had all of this with people coming into Britain haven’t we’ I feel it the very thing we complain about in England is happening here where the British people … are forming their own communities and not integrating as they should because of the language …is the key’ where I come from it’s mainly Pakistanis and they’ve created their own towns if you like and tried to instil their culture on everybody which is wrong …when you’re in somebody else’s country you should follow the rules of that country

14. On immigrants in the UK (cont) We are a little like them … we are foreign we keep to our own we force our culture on them We don’t speak Spanish we don’t integrate we get treated better we do our own thing I wanted to be more integrated if you like with the Spanish um and I think this ghettoisation is not really for me an ideal thing you just don’t … meet the Spanish people do you it’s only the waiters and in the shop

15. Ghettos? Ghetto has territorial, racist connotations – a pejorative term? Originated with Jewish residential segregation in Venice during the 16th century; later used to refer to all Jewish settlements Became used in the early 20th century US to refer to black, urban ethnic minority neighbourhoods (labour market driven). Usually refers to power – oppression, segregation policies and practices and black politics ‘gilded ghetto’ – better off members of a minority group – voluntary / involuntary residential segregation and isolation For the English in Spain residential segregation exists (non Spanish retirees / holiday homes) Retirees living in purpose built urbanisations Not financially disadvantaged vis a vis host population Ethnic identity more apparent out of context?

16. Summing up Communities? Ghettos? Both?

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