Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska
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Anchored not rooted
Polish migrants in the UK
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Chapter 5 analyses the mechanisms of adaptation and settling among Polish migrants in the UK. Even though settlement processes remained more noticeable among the Poles than the Ukrainians, they could still be better characterised in terms of anchoring rather than putting down roots. The research demonstrated the centrality of security and stability in the experience of Polish migrants in the UK. The migrants represented agents looking for life opportunities while recovering their sense of stability and security, based mainly on the ethno-cultural networks, family ties and work opportunities. The footholds strengthening Polishness and ethnic bonds included: Polish language and culture; strong national identity; close family; narrow circles of support and the wider Polish community (particularly involvement in the Polish school, church and voluntary work). They were related to gender and family roles as well as homemaking and other daily practices. The main footholds grounding the migrants in British society encompassed: work, English language (e.g. skills, language classes); children’s (English) school and after-school activities, and anchors in neighbourhoods and local communities. In spite of many commonalities in anchoring across the sample, differences were noticeable between family-oriented participants, single (working) self-oriented migrants and institution-oriented migrants (e.g. the homeless or other vulnerable individuals), showing the variety of adaptation and settling patterns.

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Rethinking settlement and integration

Migrants’ anchoring in an age of insecurity


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