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London's Polish Borders: Transnationalizing Class and Ethnicity among Polish Migrants in London


London's Polish Borders: Transnationalizing Class and Ethnicity among Polish Migrants in London

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    Available in PDF Format | London's Polish Borders: Transnationalizing Class and Ethnicity among Polish Migrants in London.pdf | English
    Michal Garapich(Author)
The figure of the Polish plumber or builder has long been a well-established icon of the British national imagination, uncovering the Uk's collective unease with immigration from Central and Eastern Europe. But despite the powerful impact the Uk's second largest language group has had on their host country's culture and populist politics, very little is known about its members.
This painstakingly researched book offers a wide perspective on Polish migrants in the Uk, taking into account the interactions between Poles and British society through discursive actions, policies, family connections, transnational networks, and political engagement of the diaspora. Borne out of a decade of ethnographic studies among various communities of Polish nationals living in London, Micha? P. Garapich documents the changes that affect both Polish migrants and British society. Arguing that neither group can be fully understood in isolation, it explores the complexity of Polish ethnicity and offers an insight into the inner tensions and struggles within what the public and scholars often assume to be a uniform and homogeneous category. From Polish financial sector workers to the Polish homeless population, this groundbreaking book offers an ethnographic, street-level account of cultural and social determinants of Polish migration and how Polish migrants redefine and reconstruct their understanding of class and ethnicity on a daily basis.

This is an original and profound piece of ethnography which explores the complex web of meanings attributed to being Polish in London. Based on interviews and participant observation in a multitude of locations, from a shelter for homeless people to Westminster, the book illuminates how migrants construct ethnicity in terms of social class, and vice versa. Garapich argues that there is a clear need to place the discourse of social class at the centre of ethnic and nationalism studies. His book shows brilliantly how migrants use the language of class to share and dispute ideas about what it means to be Polish abroad, and how ethnicity can be both a burden and a resource. The book also makes a valuable contribution to the literature on transnational social fields, discussing how London is constructed as a Polish city in a taken-for-granted fashion (for example, by concert organisers based in Poland) but also how creating Londons Polish borders is for many migrants part of a complex process of establishing points of similarity and difference between Polish society abroad and in Poland. -- Anne White, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies In this important and rich monograph, Michal P. Garapich shows there are two major paradigms of interpretation in which we can conceptualise Polish presence in London: First, ethnic identity, second, deep class divisions. In consequence, this unity and diversity, fission and fusion creates a situation in which various groups recognise unity of language and identity but are aware of deep social dissonances and make sense of them. Garapich merges the two paradigms and the result is what anthropology does best bringing alive the complexity of human life and richness of the web of meanings we produce. -- Michal Buchowski, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan; European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder

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Book details

  • PDF | 344 pages
  • Michal Garapich(Author)
  • ibidem; UK ed. edition (1 July 2016)
  • English
  • 5
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy

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