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Abstract  

This article explores the nature and impact of stigmatisation upon Russian and Russian-speaking migrants living in Scotland. It is based upon data gathered from 19 interviews with Russians and Russian-speakers living in the Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire and Central Belt regions of Scotland. Ongoing conflict in Syria and Ukraine has worsened relations between the UK and Russia, while EU enlargement and, latterly, the ‘refugee crisis’ have fuelled hostile attitudes towards migrants. Russians and Russian-speakers living in Scotland therefore face two potential sources of stigma, firstly because of a (perceived) association with the actions of the Russian state and, secondly, because they are often misidentified as Polish and are consequently regarded as threatening the availability of resources such as jobs, housing, benefits and school places (Pijpers 2006; Spigelman 2013). The article explores how people respond to such stigmatisation, emphasising the complexity of engaging with misdirected stigma. It is suggested that stigma – and the way in which people respond to it – is situational and context-specific in that it is significantly influenced by the identity, background and perspective of the stigmatised person. Also investigated is the wider impact of stigma on Russian and Russian-speaking migrants’ lives, highlighting the emotional and social insecurities that can result from stigmatisation. Drawing on anthropological theories of social security (Caldwell 2007; von Benda-Beckmann and von Benda-Beckmann 2000), the article suggests that robust social support, particularly from people who are local to the host country, can mitigate the negative effects of stigmatisation.

Abstract  

This article examines the connection between media use and social in/security from the perspective of Finnish Russian-speakers. Based on 25 interviews conducted in Finland in 2015–2016, it analyses the ways in which people in conflict situations mitigate social risks and attempt to produce security by governing their use of the media. Drawing from von Benda-Beckmann and von Benda-Beckmann’s work on social security, the article argues that security studies ought to include transnational media use in their scope and broaden the emphasis towards the social and societal aspects of threat and insecurity. Furthermore, it explains how, in times of conflict, transnational media may turn into a digitalised ‘war zone’ with alarming consequences on the identification and social security of their audiences.

Abstract  

This article explores the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) migrants from Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union in Scotland. Drawing on interviews with 50 migrants, the article focuses on the experiences and aspirations which they articulate as being part of ‘a normal life’, and analyses them within broader conceptual understandings of security and ‘normality’. We first examine how normality is equated with an improved economic position in Scotland, and look at the ways in which this engenders feelings of emotional security and well-being. We then explore how more positive experiences around sexuality and gender identity are key to a sense of emotional security – i.e. of feeling accepted as ‘normal’, being visible as an LGBT person but ‘blending in’ rather than standing out because of it. Finally we look at the ways in which the institutional framework in Scotland, in particular the presence of LGBT-affirmative legislation, is seen by participants to have a normalising effect within society, leading to a broader sense of inclusion and equality – found, again, to directly impact upon participants’ own feelings of security and emotional well-being. The article engages with literatures on migration and sexuality and provides an original contribution to both: through its focus upon sexuality, which remains unexplored in debates on ‘normality’ and migration in the UK; and by bringing a migration perspective to the debates in sexuality studies around the normalising effect of the law across Europe. By bringing these two perspectives together, we reveal the inter-relationship between sexuality and other key spheres of our participants’ lives in order to better understand their experiences of migration and settlement.

Abstract  

Drawing on extensive qualitative research into experiences of migration and settlement among Central and East European (CEE) migrants living in Scotland, this article examines the role of intersecting emotional and material (in)securities in migrant families’ decision-making regarding and experiences of longer-term settlement. The article queries fixed or given understandings of either ‘family’ or ‘security’ and explores the complex and sometimes contradictory relationship between them. In so doing, it makes a number of significant and interconnected theoretical and empirical contributions to existing research in the field of family migration. Through a critical analysis of the relationship between family and (in)security the article offers nuanced insight into the ways in which family processes of reunion, separation and (re)formation link to decisions regarding migration and settlement. The intersecting and sometimes contradictory forms of emotional and material support, obligation and vulnerability which both family relations and processes of migration and settlement entail are critically analysed by bringing together theoretical frameworks of social (in)security and understandings of family as ‘made’ rather than ‘given’. Finally, attention given to the temporal aspects of (in)security, as well as the transnational aspects of migrants’ lives, provides new ways of understanding the open-endedness of decision-making processes relating to migration and settlement, especially where these involve multiple decision-makers.