Pathways of settlement among pioneer migrants in super-diverse London

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Urban areas in Europe and beyond have seen significant changes in patterns of immigration, leading to profound diversification. This diversification is characterised by the multiplication of people of different national origins, but also differentiations regarding migration histories, religions, educational backgrounds, legal statuses and socio-economic backgrounds. This ‘diversification of diversity’ is now commonly described as ‘super-diversity’. Despite an increasing number of studies looking at how people live together in such super-diverse contexts, little is known about new patterns of immigration into such contexts of migrants who do not follow established migration patterns. Where do recent migrants who cannot draw on already existing migrant or ethnic ‘communities’ find support? What do they do when they arrive? Drawing on earlier studies on ‘pioneer migration’, this paper reformulates the notion of such pioneer migrants and asks what factors impact their settlement process, particularly in regard to economic integration. The paper argues that it is not ethnicity or country of origin which are the main factors shaping this process, but legal status and cultural capital.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2017


  • superdiversity, Pioneer migration, socio-economic integration, cultural capital, legal status