Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska
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Developing the concept of anchoring
From a metaphor through a sensitising concept to an empirically grounded concept
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Chapter 2 shows how the author’s empirical research on the processes of adaptation and settlement of Polish migrants in Belgium and later Vietnamese and Ukrainian migrants in Poland provided a basis for her critical reflection on the limitations and sometimes insufficiency of the key concepts used in migration studies, especially the concept of integration. It illuminates how the former empirical work and outcomes of previous analyses of the existing theoretical field in migration studies led the author to her search for different ways of conceptualising migrants’ adjustment and settling, and allowed her to sketch her first integrative and transdisciplinary framework incorporating the previously underestimated psychological perspective. This chapter analyses the role of the metaphor of anchor and how the concept had been built upon, and it highlights the significance of a single study of psychological usage of anchors in therapy for cancer patients to overcome identity crises and restore their feeling of continuity and integrity (Little, Jordens and Sayers 2002). The chapter demonstrates that in spite of its theoretical and practical potential, anchoring has not been developed into an analytical concept either in migration studies or in broader social theory, only being mentioned in passing in a metaphorical way by authors such as Bauman (1997) or Castells (1997). The concept of anchoring is thus presented here as an analytical tool which makes use of the strength of its founding metaphor and the promising intuitions which it embraces. The chapter ends by featuring the general characteristics of the concept.

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Rethinking settlement and integration

Migrants’ anchoring in an age of insecurity


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