Postdoctoral Fellow : Dr Ryan Tristram-Walmsley

Dr Ryan Tristram-Walmsley, Economics, Swansea University 

Title:  Emotion and Migration in Modern British History 

My doctorate research explored the ways in which migration and emotion have interacted with each other in modern British history, with a particular focus on the migration movements of Caribbean islanders coming to Britain after the Second World War.  

In this Postdoctoral Fellowship, I will continue exploring these connections and begin to publish my research. For example, this migration flow is often considered an “economic migration” (people moving country to attain better wages and standards of living). I have found that this “economic” motivation is actually emotional: the negative feelings which some Caribbean people felt from poverty motivated them to move to Britain. The upshot to this is that it is not easy to separate “irrational” emotions from “rational” economic life.  

In addition, I will refine and publish my work on “blues parties”. These were parties Caribbean migrants hosted in their homes, often because they were excluded from Britain’s nightclubs. I will argue these places were an “emotional refuge” – they acted as safe spaces for migrants to express and feel certain emotions. It will also argue the discrimination Caribbean migrants faced in Britain was based on certain emotions, such as fear and hate.  

Overall, this project will give us a far better understanding of the relationship between emotion, economics, and social behaviour, and how these combined to help make Britain what it is today. This tells us how we got here, and where we might go faced with our current situation.