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This paper offers a portrait of the evolution in settlement trends of foreign migration in Catalonia and the relevance of “rescaling” for explaining change in settlement patterns of migrants in the last ten years (2003-2013). “Rescaling” is defined here as restructuring of urban locations linked with settlement patterns of migrants. The interplay between residential patterns of migrants and the ongoing economic crisis has been proven to be, in fact, a key factor in explaining the process. The so-called “construction bubble” brought thousands of migrants to work in Barcelona and surrounding towns. Migrants found jobs mainly in construction (men) and in household cleaning (women). However, the crisis created a pool of jobless migrants that began to relocate to cheaper locations. Among those cheaper locations, we find towns such as Badalona or Mataró on the coastline, or Manresa and Vic further inland. We are examining the adverse effects that the crisis has had in terms of the insertion of migrants in these towns, as xenophobia and racism are on the rise. The far-right party Plataforma X Catalunya is winning support in certain towns as resentment toward migrants is rising among the lower echelons of the working classes, who compete with those migrants for dwindling public resources. We conclude the paper with a reflection on the likely outcome of those changes.

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Progettazione grafica di Francesca Vaccari