Cyber space: a refuge for hegemonic masculinity among Polish migrants in the UK
w: Ch. Timmerman, M. L. Fonseca, L. Van Praag, and S. Pereira (red.) Gender and Migration. A Gender-Sensitive Approach to Migration Dynamics. CeMIS Migration and Intercultural Studies 3, Leuven University Press. pp. 95-118
This chapter* explores the relationship between masculinity, migration-related issues and super-diversity (Vertovec, 2007), with Polish migrants in the UK as a case study. The research question refers to how being a man shapes the migratory experience of migrants who come from a considerably more conservative and patriarchal society and now live in a super-diverse society, i.e. complex, multiethnic, liberal etc. In this chapter I investigate the content of selected migration-related internet forum discussions among Polish migrants in the UK to see what aspects of living in Britain are discussed and how they are viewed, interpreted and constructed in a discursive practice by the male internet users. I am interested in the response of male internet forum users to the challenges of living in a super diverse socio-cultural environment and how this relates to gender construction. I argue that masculinities, understood as configurations of practice realised in social actions, offer a potential angle to understand how Polish men adapt to and appreciate life in Britain. I apply the concept of hegemonic masculinity and hegemonic bargain to understand the process of ‘doing gender’ in a migratory context. Gender norms, importance of the nation, whiteness and sense of patriotism are identified as issues that are strongly connected with the gender identity of some male forum users and the migratory context. It also seems that the internet forums and, more broadly, social media offer a space of considerable significance. The internet enables forum users to strengthen the ethnic bonds with those in and out of the country. Cyber space offers the platform to vent their views openly, to discuss and to argue on matters that often cannot be understood by the host society or would not be accepted.