Migration in Britain
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Migration in Britain

Paradoxes of the Present, Prospects for the Future

Tony Fielding

Migration in Britain takes a fresh look at the patterns of migration at both the regional and local levels and develops new theoretical frameworks and novel methods to explain these patterns. It anticipates British society and its internal migration flows fifty years hence in the absence of climate change, and comes to judgments about how and in what ways these migration flows might be affected by climate change.
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Chapter 5: Social, Demographic and Political Drivers of Migration

Tony Fielding


5.1 INTRODUCTION The UK is a highly socially stratified society: it is fundamentally divided by social class and is further differentiated according to gender and sexuality, culture and ethnicity, and age and ability. These divisions and differences act, sometimes in complex ways, as drivers of internal migration in the UK. 5.2 SOCIAL CLASS: SOCIAL MOBILITY AND GEOGRAPHICAL MOBILITY In an area of the social sciences in which paradoxes abound (some have already been discussed above), perhaps the strangest paradox of all is that, in general, those who need to migrate the most (that is, the poor and the powerless) tend to migrate the least, while those who need to migrate the least (because they are in well-paid, secure employment and own their own houses), tend to migrate the most. Much of the rest of this sub-section is based on Fielding (1992a), and Fielding (1995) from which Table 5.1 is taken. The small group composed of those who are very wealthy and powerful (not identified separately in Table 5.1) tend to own properties in several regions and countries; they would tend to move regularly between, for example, a house or apartment in London, a country house or estate in the Cotswolds or the West Country, and a luxury holiday home in Southern Europe or the Caribbean. We could perhaps say that they lead ‘peripatetic’ lives rather than ‘migratory’ ones. If we conceptualize the large middle class as having three sub-divisions: (1) managers, (2) professionals and (3) the petty bourgeoisie (the selfemployed...

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