Pathological integration, or, how East Europeans use racism to become British

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East Europeans are integrating into life in the UK. This entails learning to get along with their new neighbours, but it also involves not getting along with certain neighbours. Integration is not confined to benevolent forms of everyday cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism and conviviality; it can also include more pathological forms, like racism. Whilst integration is generally seen as desirable, the learning that it entails necessarily includes less desirable practices and norms. The aim of this article is to show how East Europeans in the UK have been acquiring specifically British competencies of racism. This doesn't mean all East Europeans are racist or they always use racism; it does mean, however, that racism is a part of the integration equation. We focus on the racist and racializing practices of Poles, Hungarians and Romanians in Bristol in the UK. These East Europeans are using racism to insert themselves more favourably into Britain's racialized status hierarchies. This is a kind of integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-23
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number1
Early online date30 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Structured keywords

  • Migration Mobilities Bristol
  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


  • Integration
  • Racism
  • Racialised hierarchies
  • Immigration
  • East Europeans


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