“But you’re not really foreign”: an autoethnography of a working-class Canadian “passing” in England

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter explores my lived experience as a young working-class Canadian immigrant in twenty-first century Britain, drawing on both memory work and autoethnography as modes of inquiry, to interrogate notions of class belonging and how it is inflected by race. As an immigrant during a period of heightened tension over immigration (beginning with many Eastern European nations joining the European Union and reaching a crescendo during the 2016 “Brexit” campaign), 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 working- and middle-class surroundings. My story is one of double migration: class and country - one always slightly obscuring the other and making me hard to place. It is an identity I relish, but a liminal and often unstable one. Through a series of reflexive vignettes, I chart my own life course as I transitioned from a 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClever Girls
Subtitle of host publicationAutoethnographies of Class, Gender and Ethnicity
EditorsJackie Goode
Place of PublicationSwitzerland AG
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783030296582
ISBN (Print)9783030296575
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020


  • Class
  • Ethnicity
  • Working Class
  • National identity
  • Identity
  • Education
  • Passing
  • Brexit
  • European Union Enlargement


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