chapter  3
19 Pages

Seeing ‘Difference’ Differently: Life Trajectories of Professional Migrants’ Children in Melbourne, Australia, and in Singapore


This chapter explores the intersections of mobility, place and social identity in the lives of the French highly skilled migrants in London. It examines the participant's imaginings of London as a definitively cosmopolitan place, and cosmopolitan as an outcome of largely complementary forces perceived to be operating at the global, the national and the local level. The chapter presents understandings of the dynamics of urban imagining by exploring the ways in which particular urban imaginaries may encode normative, ethical renditions of how migrant constituencies should engage with both the people and the place of the cosmopolitan global city. It outlines the data derived from an 18-month Economic and Social Research Council funded qualitative study focusing on the life and work experiences of the French highly skilled migrants in London's financial and business sectors and their families. The chapter explores how participant's emplaced social identities were constructed in part through practices of distinction from failed fragments of their co-patriots in London.