‘By Education I’m Catholic’. The Gender, Religion and Nationality Nexus in the Migration Experience of Polish Men to the UK
Central and Eastern European Migration Review, 30 December 2019
To date, the literature on gender and migration continues a longstanding bias towards female over male experiences. Similarly, research on Polish post-EU accession emigration has not sufficiently addressed the male experiences of migration. Drawing on 20 interviews with migrant men, this paper contributes to the existing research on the variety of masculinity practices and gendered migration from the Central and Eastern Europe. In so doing, it focuses on the relationship between masculinity, religion and migration in the context of migration from Poland to the UK. While religion is also rarely addressed in discussions on the post-EU accession migration of Poles, it proves to be important in shaping world views and influencing migrants’ positionalities in the new social context. Indeed, in migrants’ narratives, gender, religion and the nation intertwine with one another. Analysis shows how certain aspects of men’s social identities that were originally assets turn into burdens and how the men reach to religion, while distance from the institutional Church, to renegotiate their new positionality in order to avoid denigration or to support social recognition – which is especially important in the social reality shaped by Brexit.
Gender; intersectionality; masculinity; nation; Polish migration; religion