Continuity or change – anthropological analysis of Polish Roma migration paths to Great Britain


Despite a huge public and academic interest in post EU enlargement migrations of Polish citizens who by moving to Western Europe take advantage of the principle of freedom of movement, there has been an almost complete silence on how these new migration opportunities affect the Polish Roma populations. But according to Roma organizations own estimates there has been a veritable exodus with sometimes over 90% of local Roma communities emigrating or otherwise engaging in international mobility. In that sense, scholarly and public silence on the matter is striking. This research aims at shedding some light on migratory movements of that group taking an anthropological perspective and using qualitative methods – participant observation, interviews and spending considerable amount of time with migrating Roma, their friends and family who stay in Poland, as well as those Polish Roma who live in Great Britain. To what extent their migrations differ from the overall patterns of migrations of non-Roma Polish populations? And how did transnational networks between Roma communities in Poland and Great Britain developed? And what happens once they are there, how do they operate and make sense of living in global city like London or small English town? How the experience of their members living in Britain affects Roma communities back in Poland? These are the questions this research aims at answering. By using so called multi-sited ethnography it will analyse Polish Roma patterns of migrations, the ways with which international EU mobility impacts on some aspects of their culture and what happens to Polish Roma’s sense of identity once no longer in Poland.

Research report (in Polish), (in Romani), (in English)




2016 - 2018

Source of funding

Founding source: National Science Centre, grant Polonez: “Continuity or change – Anthropological analysis of Polish Roma migration paths to Great Britain”, grant no. 2015/19/P/HS6/04125. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 665778