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Panel: Brazilians in the UK

  • K6.63, Strand Campus Strand London United Kingdom (map)

1st Presentation Title:
Brazilians in the UK: Synopsis of an Immigration Experience

Dr Yara Evans, Department of Geography, Queen Mary University

Yara Evans has a background in History (UNICAMP 1986) and Human Geography (PhD, University of Wales Aberystwyth 2004). Yara joined the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London in 2004 and has since been based there, working on a number of projects that investigate the life and work experiences of immigrant groups in London. The results of one important project, the first survey of immigrant in low-paid sectors of London’s economy, was reported in Global Cities At Work: new migrant divisions of labour (2009, London, Pluto Press). Yara is also a member of the Brazilian Migration to the UK Study Group (GEB), which has conducted research on the Brazilian immigration experience in the UK, as reported in For a Better Life: Brazilians in London, 2010 (2011, QMUL/RHUL/Goldsmiths: London).

Presentation Abstract

The session reports on the results of the first-known large-scale study of Brazilians living in the UK (N=700), conducted by the Brazilian Study Group in the UK (GEB) between late 2013 and early 2014. Key findings show that most Brazilians are well-educated (tertiary education), most had also worked in Brazil before leaving. Over half of the Brazilians were aged 30-39, about two-thirds were married or were in a relationship, and over two-thirds had been living in the UK for five years or more at the time of the study. The vast majority of Brazilians lived in London, and although the cost of living was a problem for most, only about one-third intended to return to Brazil for good. 

2nd Presentation Title
Lives in Motion: Notes on Mobility and Control Amongst Brazilians in London

Angelo Martins Júnior, PhD Candidate, Goldsmith College, University of London

Angelo Martins Junior is a PhD Candidate at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and a member of the Work and Mobility Research Group (UFSCar/Brazil). He is the regional editor of Global Dialogue – Academic newsletter for the International Sociological Association (ISA). Co-editor of website reviews for the journals Theory, Culture and Society, and Body and Society. He has worked on different projects related to the Labour market, Industrial Sociology, Mobility and Migration. He is the author of Lives in motion: notebooks of an immigrant in London (2014).

Presentation Abstract

Using a case study of Brazilian migrants working in the service sector in London, this paper aims to discuss, critically, the role of social networks in the migration process as well as their use in obtaining and maintaining jobs within the host society. Studies of transnationalism have increased in the past several decades, showing how multiple ties and interactions link people or institutions across the borders of nation-states, connecting the local to the global (Vertovec, 1999). In this context, social networks act as mediators, which facilitate such movements, since the social contacts provide initial information to obtain access to housing, work and other material or symbolic goods. However, this paper argues that those individuals who "constitute social ties" are not always supportive and these links will not provide gains to all, sometimes it serves to help some people in the process of settling while others are excluded or exploited by their own compatriots, especially those who are “undocumented migrants”. Moreover, the mere fact of belonging to a social network does not necessarily mean that the individual will reach all places that his/her network achieves, some attributes and capitals, such as speaking the local language and having regular documents, will make difference to obtain work as well as to have job mobility. This paper is a result of participant observation developed among Brazilian workers in low-skilled jobs in London. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted with 17 men and 13 women aimed at understanding the motives behind migration and settlement.

This talk, part of the King's Brazil Institute Research Seminar Series, will be followed by a Q&A and wine.