In this richly observed account of migrant shopkeepers in five cities in the United Kingdom, Suzanne Hall examines the brutal contradictions of sovereignty and capitalism in the formation of street livelihoods in the urban margins. Hall locates The Migrant's Paradox: Street Livelihoods and Marginal Citizenship in Britain (University of Minnesota Press, 2021) on streets in the far-flung parts of de-industrialized peripheries, where jobs are hard to come by and the impacts of historic state underinvestment are deeply felt.
Drawing on hundreds of in-person interviews on streets in Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester, London, and Manchester, Hall brings together histories of colonization with current forms of coloniality. Her six-year project spans the combined impacts of the 2008 financial crisis, austerity governance, punitive immigration laws and the Brexit Referendum, and processes of state-sanctioned regeneration. She incorporates the spaces of shops, conference halls, and planning offices to capture how official border talk overlaps with everyday formations of work and belonging on the street.
Original and ambitious, Hall’s work complicates understandings of migrants, demonstrating how migrant journeys and claims to space illuminate the relations between global displacement and urban emplacement. In articulating “a citizenship of the edge” as an adaptive and audacious mode of belonging, she shows how sovereignty and inequality are maintained and refuted.
Suzanne M. Hall is associate professor of sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she codirects the Cities Programme. She is the author of City, Street and Citizen: The Measure of the Ordinary and co-editor of The Sage Handbook of the 21st Century City.
Alize Arıcan is an incoming Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University's Center for Cultural Analysis. She is an anthropologist whose research focuses on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has been featured in Current Anthropology, City & Society, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements: experiments in multimodal ethnography.