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Clever Girls pp 257-270 | Cite as

“But you’re not really foreign”: An Autoethnography of a Working-Class Canadian “Passing” in England

  • Kristin O’DonnellEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explores my lived experience as a young working-class Canadian immigrant in the twenty-first-century Britain, drawing on memory work and autoethnography to interrogate notions of class belonging inflected by race. As an immigrant during a period of heightened tension over immigration, my position as a white native English speaker from a former Commonwealth country mitigated my “foreignness”. Instead of being conceptualised as “other”, I am able to “pass” in both working- and middle-class surroundings. But my “double migration” of class and country—one always slightly obscuring the other and making me hard to place—constitutes a liminal and unstable space. Through reflexive vignettes, I chart a transition from self-conscious working-class Canadian to comfortably passing in middle-class academic environments. Through my status as not-quite-different and yet not-quite-British, I offer a broader perspective on questions of class, race, identity and the inclusions and exclusions that arise from such categories.

Keywords

Canadian immigrant Memory work Englishness Whiteness Belonging 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BrightonBrightonUK

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