Ben Rogaly was a plenary speaker at the Approaches to migration, language and identity conference, held at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) 4-6 May 2017. The aims of the conference were to to bring together scholars working on any aspect of migration, language, and identity. This three-day conference offered a forum for researchers working in the fields of politics, geosciences, linguistics, anthropology, economics, sociology, social (economic, legal) history, literature, and more to gather together and exchange ideas. The conference was motivated by the increasing awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of migration as well as its implications on language, culture, and identity.

You can read Ben’s abstract below.


There is a contradiction in UK political economy between a restrictive, often hostile, language regarding migration, and sectors that have historically recruited large numbers of migrant workers. This lecture will dismantle the idea of ‘migration’, showing that its apparently common sense use in popular and political discourse perpetuates divisions between people, and can thus be used to impede united action for better quality jobs and working conditions. Using a place-based study of a small English city with a long history of receiving new work-seeking residents, the lecture also draws on ‘migrant’ and ‘local’ workers’ life history narratives to explore histories of both racisms and cross-nationality, cross-ethnic solidarities and creative resistance at work. The focus is on employment in the industrialised food chain, including production, processing, packing, distribution and food service.