Accepted paper:

Inside out: 'the English' in north-west Wales


Angela Drakakis-Smith (Bangor University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is based on an empirical study which examined the 'English' experience of in-migrancy to north-west Wales. The phenomenon of the dispersal of British-English-white groups is not necessarily viewed as diasporical though this dispersal carries many similar features particularly when power is removed/neutralised.

Paper long abstract:

Over time and with changing circumstances, the term diaspora - from the Greek meaning simply dispersal - has accumulated meanings to the point where currently definitions do not necessarily describe as emphasise the notions of 'we/other', 'them/us'. Such differences and diversities have often (and ultimately) become hierarchicised, with 'the other', and 'them' often 'racialised', inferiorised and victimised. Tatla's definition embraces the idea of 'victim groups which have suffered in the process of settlement' (Tatla 1994:4). More recently, Bielenberg (2000:2) has pointed to a definition of the term which views diasporaic groups not as groups 'in a state of transition but as states of being in themselves' who, because they are viewed in the light of 'other' and 'minority' may never be allowed/able to cross the divide that separates 'them' and 'us'. Population dispersals appear to have become grouped into two strands - dispersals occasioned by crises and which entail force/violence/war/famine/the break up of empire etc - eg the dispersal of Jews, Africans, Roma, those from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa (van Hear 1998) the Sikhs (Tatla 1999) the Irish (Bielenberg 2000) and the dispersals which occur as a result of individual circumstance/choice such as the pursuit of 'a better life', trade/work and/or 'colonial ambition' (Cohen 1997). This paper is based on an empirical study undertaken in 2005 which examined the experience of 'the English' who have moved and settled into north west Wales. The movement of the British/white groups have been less of a subject of examination and yet the diaspora of 'the English'/British as colonisers is no less a diaspora and one which has repercussions for those colonised. Whilst colonisers are more often than not seen as the dominators and those colonised as the 'victims', this is often reversed when the 'power' of the colonisers has been removed or is neutralised. Dr Angela Drakakis-Smith

panel W007
Interrogating diaspora