‘In London, I Am a European Citizen’: Brexit, Emotions, and the Politics of Belonging
Nando Sigona, Marie Godin
London hosts by far the largest population of non-national EU citizens in Europe. It is also home to roughly one-third of the entire EU citizen population living in the UK. London’s population changed rapidly following EU enlargement in the 2000s in terms of its size, the variety and number of nationalities it hosts, and its socio-demographic profile (Lessard-Phillips & Sigona, 2018). These changes have intensified and shaped the process of ‘diversification of diversity’ captured in the late 2000s by anthropologist Steve Vertovec in his seminal work on superdiversity (Vertovec, 2007). Despite Britain’s exit from the EU, its new geopolitical orientation (towards a more ‘Global Britain’) and the new immigration regime that has come to replace the EU’s freedom of movement, this diversification process has continued. For example, between 2016 and 2020, live births among EU mothers in London have roughly stayed the same - only marginally declined from 17.52 to 17.18 per cent of the total number of live births in London, with Poland, Romania, Germany and Lithuania among the top 10 countries of birth for non-UK mothers in the city (ONS, 2021; see also Lessard-Phillips & Sigona, 2019).