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Polish families and migration since EU accession

Polish families and migration since EU accession

Anne White
Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    Polish families and migration since EU accession
    Book Description:

    Based on 115 interviews with Polish mothers in the UK and Poland, as well as a specially-commissioned opinion poll, this topical book discusses recent Polish migration to the UK. In a vivid account of every stage of the migration process, the book explores why so many Poles have migrated since 2004, why more children migrate with their families and how working-class families in the West of England make decisions about whether to stay. Covering many broader themes - including livelihoods and migration cultures in Poland, experiences of integration into UK communities and issues surrounding return to Poland - this book is highly relevant to migration policy across Europe and beyond. It will be of interest to policy-makers and the general public as well as students and scholars. Winner of the BASEES George Blazyca Prize 2011.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-821-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. List of figures and tables
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. v-vi)
  5. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)

    This book explores the reasons why so many Polish families, with children, have come to live in the UK since 2004. However, the scope of the book is much broader than this. Family migration from Poland can only be understood in the context of how people make their livings in particular places in Poland, and why people living in those places choose to leave. The book is therefore about migration from Poland in general.

    It is also about the experiences of Poles in England, and the factors that shape their thoughts about how long to stay. Here the focus is...

  6. TWO Post-communist Poland: social change and migration
    (pp. 27-38)

    This chapter provides some background information about Poland as a whole, giving the context for the more detailed examination of livelihoods in specific Polish locations that follows in Chapters Three to Seven. The term ‘post-communist’ is used, the adjective preferred by political scientists, in preference to ‘post-socialist’, a label used by some sociologists and anthropologists. The Polish political system from 1944-89 was far from ‘socialist’, as social democrats understand the term. Communist party rule, however, was a reality.

    After the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, the Polish government immediately introduced ‘shock therapy’ to reform the economy. Although in...

  7. THREE Small-town livelihoods
    (pp. 39-60)

    This chapter discusses how people make a living in contemporary Poland. A range of livelihood strategies available to people without higher education, especially inhabitants of small towns and villages, are explored. The chapter explains why livelihoods are often seen as being so inadequate that labour migration is chosen in preference. In keeping with the livelihood strategy approach, as well as main jobs in the legal economy, other assets are also considered that can contribute to household livelihoods, such as second jobs and state benefits.

    As discussed in Chapter One, a merit of the livelihood strategy approach is that it focuses...

  8. FOUR Local migration cultures: compulsion and sacrifice
    (pp. 61-72)

    Chapters Two and Three looked at the economic push factors that help explain migration from contemporary Poland. However, decisions to migrate are also influenced by non-economic factors in the sending locality, such as the climate of opinion regarding migration. This climate of opinion can be conceptualised as a ‘migration culture’. As defined in Chapter One, migration cultures are conventions about why and how people should migrate, which people should migrate and where they should go, as well as views about whether or not migration is a normal and sensible way of making a living, and about the costs and benefits...

  9. FIVE Local migration cultures: opportunities and ‘pull factors’
    (pp. 73-90)

    This chapter examines whether migration is so common because people see it as something with which they can experiment. Often the attitude that migration is experimental goes hand in hand with the view of migration as an opportunity. This may seem at odds with the perception that migration is forced, but the paradox can be resolved if the concept of an opportunity which ‘cannot’ be missed is taken into account. Such opportunism is facilitated by the ease with which unpaid leave can be taken from employers, who often share local opinion that migration is worth experimenting with. Even more importantly,...

  10. SIX Parental migration with and without children
    (pp. 91-114)

    Livelihoods, as already discussed, have to be culturally appropriate. For example, in Poland it is acceptable for young single men to work abroad to save up for a car, but it is not acceptable for two parents to leave their children to do the same. On the other hand, there are other situations when it does seem to be widely acceptable for parents to leave their children behind in Poland. This chapter considers gender and parental roles as an aspect of the migration culture and of the overall gender culture within which livelihoods are framed. It explores, in turn, opinions...

  11. SEVEN The emotional impact of migration on communities in Poland
    (pp. 115-136)

    It has been asserted that ‘Whenever we look at life, we look at networks’,¹ and much of this book is concerned with the ties that connect families and people, often across international borders. It is therefore helpful to understand the world in terms of social networks. On the other hand, it is also important to remember the gaps.² Sometimes, being in Grajewo or Sanok, it is the gaps that seem more evident:

    There was a time when everyone on this street had a relative abroad…. Down from us the neighbour’s daughter is in England, she has a granddaughter, they got...

  12. EIGHT Integration into British society
    (pp. 137-168)

    Chapter Eight and Chapter Nine are complementary. This chapter explores integration in the sense of making links with British people and learning how to operate in British society, and examines the interviewees’ own perceptions about the most important ‘indicators of integration’, those aspects of inclusion which would particularly encourage them to remain in England. Chapter Nine looks at possibilities for maintaining Polishness in England and for making a ‘home’ abroad. The success or otherwise of both aspects of integration help determine families’ decisions about how long to stay in the UK. However, such integration does not take place in a...

  13. NINE Being Polish in England
    (pp. 169-196)

    This chapter, the companion to Chapter Eight, explores aspects of integration linked to constructing Polish identities abroad. It discusses why interviewees led ‘Polish’ lives, looking at the different choices they made and the different opportunities they possessed. It also explores the outcomes, the extent to which interviewees felt more, or less, at home in the UK, as the result of their engagement in transnational activities.

    After some general comments about identity, and specifically Polish identity, the chapter looks in turn at home and community. It begins with a discussion of the physical homes occupied by the Polish families in England...

  14. TEN Return to Poland
    (pp. 197-224)

    This book explores factors which help determine Polish families’ decisions about how long to stay in the UK, and therefore, by implication, whether and when to return to Poland. Chapters Eight and Nine discussed some of the reasons why such families had integrated, or, alternatively, felt excluded and therefore less settled in England. This chapter considers interviewees’ opinions about returns, both to live in Poland and for holidays which help shape thoughts about longer-term or permanent return.

    The chapter opens with some general thoughts about return migration and then looks more specifically at the scale and patterns of contemporary return...

  15. ELEVEN Conclusions
    (pp. 225-236)

    This book has discussed migration from Poland since EU accession in 2004, with a special focus on migration by working-class families to England. It has explored the causes of migration, looking at why some people migrate but others do not. It has also investigated more specifically why parents choose to migrate with their children. The second part of the book has considered factors shaping migrants’ decisions about how long to stay abroad, whether Polish families were likely to remain in the UK for an extended period and what they understood by ‘return’. In addition, the book has contributed to discussions...

  16. APPENDIX 1: The interviewees
    (pp. 237-238)
  17. APPENDIX 2: The opinion poll
    (pp. 239-240)
  18. APPENDIX 3: 2001 Census data for Bath, Bristol, Frome and Trowbridge urban areas
    (pp. 241-242)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 243-258)
  20. Index
    (pp. 259-266)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-267)