‘HOW DO YOU SAY “STOP THAT!” IN SLOVAKIAN?’: A8 IMMIGRATION AND SCOTLAND’S RACE AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY NARRATIVE
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In 2004 8 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) joined the EU in an expansion popularly known as the Accession, or A8. As part of this arrangement the Slovakian Roma community settled in Govanhill, a neighbourhood in the South-Side of Glasgow, Scotland. Immediately, there was widespread outcry, followed by public debate, on the numbers involved and the impact on local services. One of the claims made was that, because of a ‘unique’ history of ‘self-isolation’, the Roma had altered local policing needs. There were widespread media anecdotes of anti-social behaviour but also racist victimization. Using material available post-A8 Govanhill, this synthesizes the debate on Roma settlement against the wider canvass of Scottish reception and assimilation of immigrants. The author claims that post-A8 phobia of the Roma is part of an unsustainable ideology of Scotland as a post-racial ‘welcoming country’ which has occluded a nuanced interrogation of the capacity of the country to welcome and successfully integrate immigrants.
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