Being a migrant is a process and not simply a status. Migrants are more than cheap labour; they also have family lives. Fathers and Sons: Generations, Families and Migration is based on an Economic and Social Research Council study of fatherhood in three generations of men: grandfathers, fathers and sons conducted at the UCL Institute of Education in 2009-12. It includes grandfathers who migrated to Britain in the mid 1900s and Polish fathers who came to the UK in the 2000s.
Lives change over time and how migrants view their lives changes also. On the one hand, the lives of these migrants were tough: the Irish and the Polish men worked in manual jobs in the UK, many in the harsh, precarious and dangerous conditions of the construction industry. On the other hand, both groups looked back on their lives as successful. These stories challenge the popular view that migration is problematic and necessarily a social problem and bear witness to the significant contribution that migration brings to a society over the long term.
The Irish grandfathers who remained in the same industry for the rest of their working lives measured their success in (more…)