Aleksandra Grzymała-Kazłowska, Anita Brzozowska. 2017.

From Drifting to Anchoring. Capturing the Experience of Ukrainian Migrants in Poland


CEEMR (Online First), 1-20



The article applies the concept of anchoring, defined as the process of searching for footholds and points of reference which allows individuals to acquire socio-psychological stability and security and function effectively in a new environment, to explore complex, multidimensional and flexible adaptation and settlement processes among migrants from Ukraine in Poland. Based on 40 in-depth interviews and questionnaires with migrants resident in Warsaw and its vicinity, we argue that the traditional categories employed for analysing migrants’ adaptation and settlement such as 'integration' or 'assimilation' are not always adequate to capture the way of functioning and experience of contemporary Ukrainian migrants. Rather than traditional categories, we propose to apply the concept of anchoring which enables us to capture Ukrainians’ 'fluid' migration, drifting lives and complex identities as well as mechanisms of settling down in terms of searching for relative stability rather than putting down roots. The paper discusses the ambiguous position of Ukrainian migrants in Poland constructed as neither the strangers nor the same, gives insight into their drifting lives and illuminates ways of coping with temporariness and establishing anchors providing migrants with a sense of stability and security. This approach, linking identity, security and incorporation, emphasises, on the one hand, the psychological and emotional aspects of establishing new footholds and, on the other hand, tangible anchors and structural constraints. Its added value lies in the fact that it allows for complexity, simultaneity and changeability of anchoring and the reverse processes of un-anchoring to be included.

Słowa kluczowe

social anchoring; Ukrainian migrants; integration; adaptation; settlement