® Benjamín Juárez


Book Review | Migrant City | Les Back and Shamser Sinha | Abingdon: Routledge, 2018

in the conclusion the authors argue ‘life on the move ... produces new forms of social experience and structures of feeling’ (p. 155). The participant data reveals an even richer emotional geography than Back and Sinha conceptually explore.

Participants’ voices burst with fear, anxiety, joy, frustration, happiness, pain, bravery, tiredness, contempt and concern. The relationships between this emotionality and migration mobilities is something that sociologists of emotions and affect may use Migrant City to expand and build upon.

There were many times while reading the participants’ experiences I leant back in my chair and swore – the text Christian received as he boarded a plane leaving the UK (p. 11), Nana’s photograph of the bus captioned ‘route to work or deportation’ (p. 28), the Home Office using Twitter to share photos of people being arrested with the hashtag #immigra- tionoffenders (p. 29), Zee Zee’s defiance while suffering beatings (p. 116), and Jessielyn’s tattoo (p. 157). The experiences captured in this ethnography shine a sociological light on what it means to live with/in Britain’s postcolonial melancholia.

Sociologists should read this book to better understand how to fold rich social knowledge and the gravity of experience into research practices. Migrant City shows what can be done when the ‘right methods’ are skilfully found for listening and working together with participants, to allow ‘remarkable but ordinary things to emerge’ in research (p. 7) – that is, when sociological analysis carefully attends to the life of social life.

Ashleigh Watson
Griffith University