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Migrants’ anchoring in an age of insecurity

This monograph argues that well-established concepts in migration studies such as ‘settlement’ and ‘integration’ do not sufficiently capture the features of adaptation and settling of contemporary migrants. Instead, it proposes the integrative and transdisciplinary concept of anchoring, linking the notions of identity, adaptation and settling while overcoming the limitations of the established concepts and underlining migrants’ efforts at recovering their feelings of security and stability. Drawing on 80 in-depth interviews with Polish migrants in the UK and Ukrainian migrants in Poland, ethnographic and autobiographical research together with an analysis of Internet blogs and forums, the book presents the author’s original concept of anchoring, underpinned by a combination of sociological and psychological perspectives, as well as demonstrating its applications. The book aims not only to provide a theoretical and methodological contribution to better understanding and examining the processes of adaptation and settling among today’s migrants, but also to highlight practical implications useful for the better support of individuals facing changes and challenges in new, complex and fluid societies.

Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

included the following aspects: capturing meanings and emotions; examining experiences and positionalities; investigating relationality and multidimensionality; understanding the processuality and dynamics; and exploring uncertainties and ambiguities. In the case of both Polish migrants in the UK and Ukrainian migrants in Poland, fieldwork research started with observation and minimally structured individual in-depth interviews, during which migrants were encouraged to speak freely about their life in relation to the following five general topics: 1

in Rethinking settlement and integration
Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

This chapter aims to synthesise crucial points about anchoring which emerge from my research with Ukrainian migrants in Poland and Polish migrants in the UK, to develop a framework that allows for a better understanding of the processes of migrant adaptation and settling. In order to outline key elements useful for building a general model of migrants’ anchoring, it concentrates on commonalities observed across both groups, in contrast to the previous chapters, which focused on Ukrainian migrants in Poland and Polish migrants in the UK as

in Rethinking settlement and integration
Abstract only
Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

migration studies such as ‘integration’ and ‘settlement’ are not sufficient to understand and examine the ways of accommodation, functioning and experience of contemporary migrants. I argue that my concept of anchoring, developed through research with Polish migrants in the UK and Ukrainian migrants in Poland, might provide a more integrative and comprehensive transdisciplinary approach to analysing the processes of migrants’ adaptation and settling. It does this by linking the existing notions while overcoming their limitations, as well as by underlining the

in Rethinking settlement and integration
Ukrainian migrants in Poland
Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

ambiguous position in Poland, constructed and perceived by them as neither strangers nor the same; neither on the move nor settled. The adaptation and settling of Ukrainian migrants in Poland in the context of persistent mobility In spite of various studies concerning Ukrainian migrants in Poland, research to date has predominantly concentrated on the issues of economic activity, social networks and mixed marriages (i.e. Fihel et al. 2007 ; Gorny and Kepinska 2004 ; Gorny et al. 2010 ; Grzymala-Kazlowska 2008b ; Kindler 2011

in Rethinking settlement and integration
From a metaphor through a sensitising concept to an empirically grounded concept
Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

My previous long-term empirical research on the processes of adaptation and settling of Polish migrants in Belgium and later Vietnamese and Ukrainian migrants in Poland has provided a basis for my critical reflection on the limitations and sometimes insufficiency of the key concepts used in migration studies, especially the concept of integration (e.g. Grzymala-Kazlowska 2008a ). The political and practical usage of the latter – as well as its structural and functionalist assumptions that in order to maintain the existing socio-cultural order

in Rethinking settlement and integration
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From theory to practical applications?
Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

This monograph demonstrates the centrality of safety and stability in the narratives of Polish migrants in the UK and Ukrainian migrants in Poland. The presence of the references to security and stability, as well as the spontaneous usage of metaphors related to anchoring, support the relevance of the proposed concept and significance of safety and stability when seeking to understand migrants’ adaptation and settling. The concept of anchoring – understood as establishing and managing footholds which migrants use to recover

in Rethinking settlement and integration
Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

Ukrainian migrants’ strategies outcomes. This structural and policy impact was, for example, visible while comparing less cognitively, emotionally or practically settled Ukrainian migrants in Poland to relatively more established Polish migrants in the UK. As von Benda-Beckmann and von Benda-Beckmann ( 1994 ) highlight, even though migration can be perceived as a response to insecurities in the sending countries and a way to ensure greater life security, as was noticeable in the SAST narratives, migration at the same time itself produces new

in Rethinking settlement and integration
Abstract only
Polish migrants in the UK
Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

This chapter analyses the mechanisms of adaptation and settling among Polish migrants in the UK, where less circular migration was observed than in the case of Ukrainian migrants in Poland. Even though settlement processes remained more noticeable among the Poles than among the Ukrainians, they can still be better characterised in terms of anchoring rather than putting down roots. This may be linked, on the one hand, to a larger cultural and geographical distance between Poles and British society, and on the other hand to the situation at the

in Rethinking settlement and integration