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Sivanandan Race Class And The State Notes

History Notes > Immigration in post-war Britain Notes

This is an extract of our Sivanandan Race Class And The State document, which we sell as part of our Immigration in post-war Britain Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Warwick (MA) students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Immigration in post-war Britain Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Sivanandan - 'Race, class and the state: the political economy of immigration', 1976, in Catching History on the Wing??Unlike most European countries in the postwar period, Britain had a comparatively uncompetitive source of labour to run to, in its colonies and ex-colonies o 'Colonialism had already under-developed these countries and thrown up a reserve army of labour which now waited in readiness' o colonialism leaves countries at independence with a large labour force and no capital to make that labour productive The free market decided the numbers of immigrants, but 'economic growth and the colonial legacy determined the nature of the work they were put to' o Indigenous workers moved upwards to better paid jobs, training programmes etc, leaving the dirty, hard, lowpaid work to immigrant labour o The labour shortage was general, but whilst the more attractive/dynamic sectors could draw the best qualified labour from indigenous or immigrants, the non-growth sector had only new entrants
? Hence unskilled, low status jobs for 'coloured immigrants' - textiles, engineering and foundry works, transport and communication, or as waiters, porters, kitchen hands 'Since the opportunities for such work obtained chiefly in the already overcrowded conurbations, immigrants came to occupy some of the worst housing in the country' o this exacerbated by extortionate rents charged by slum landlords
? difficulty of obtaining loans and prejudice of sellers made it difficult to buy houses o they were later accused of overcrowding property o immigrants became 'ghetto-ised and locked into the decaying areas of the inner city' The immigrant had cost Britain nothing in terms of education, healthcare etc, and hence represented a saving over native labour o This saving was further increased as immigrants left their families behind - less need for schools, housing, hospitals, transport etc The shortage of workers made immigrants economically acceptable, the shortage of housing made them socially undesirable o By the late 1950s this contradiction became more defined in terms of the 'immigrant problem'

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