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Immigration, ethnicity, multiculturalism and racism have become part of daily discourse in Britain in recent decades - yet, far from being new, these phenomena have characterised British life since the 19th century. While the numbers of immigrants increased after the Second World War, groups such as the Irish, Germans and East European Jews have been arriving, settling and impacting on British society from the Victorian period onwards. In this comprehensive and fascinating account, Panikos Panayi examines immigration as an ongoing process in which ethnic communities evolve as individuals choose whether to retain their ethnic identities and customs or to integrate and assimilate into wider British norms. Consequently, he tackles the contradictions in the history of immigration over the past two centuries: migration versus government control; migrant poverty versus social mobility; ethnic identity versus increasing Anglicisation; and, above all, racism versus multiculturalism. Providing an important historical context to contemporary debates, and taking into account the complexity and variety of individual experiences over time, this book demonstrates that no simple approach or theory can summarise the migrant experience in Britain.
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