Polish migrants in the United Kingdom: (re)negotiation and (re)construction of masculinity in the super-diverse environment


Research in the area of gender and migration often focused on women’s migration experience. This project is however aimed at increasing knowledge about the male experience of migration and will investigate the relationship between masculinity, migration and superdiversity as it is defined by Vertovec’a (2007), on the example of Polish migrants in the UK. The research problem is to determine how being a man shapes the migratory experience of living in superdiverse society, i.e. diverse in terms of lifestyles and values, complex, multi-ethnic, etc.
Men coming from more conservative and patriarchal society, from that of the hosting country, may adapt differently than women to a life in a new, super diverse environment. This experience may affects the renegotiation and reconstruction of masculinity model and consequently affects gender relations and integration strategies. These initial hypotheses were formulated on the basis of the few available studies on masculinity and Polish migrants (Datta 2008, 2009, Garapich 2011, Siara 2012) and in conjunction with research on transnationality. First points to possible integration problems as a result of practicing specific model of masculinity. Transnationalism studies indicate an ongoing negotiations in the area of gender relations and gender identity, as a result of efforts of migrants to meet the different expectations emerging from different social worlds (Donato et al 2000; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994; Mahler, pessar 2010).
The specific objectives of the project are to identify what processes and changes may take place in construction of male identity, resulting from the intersection of categories such as national identity, social class, labor market experience, multiethnic environment, and social diversity of manners, etc. Finding out more about specificity of the male experience of migration and life in a super-diverse society will enable us to observe different ways of participation in social and political life of the host country, reactions to diversity, attitudes towards the country of origin, etc.
The proposed research project corresponds with the current research on the relationship between gender and migration, bringing the male perspective and experience of migration. As the researchers notice, this perspective was often absent due to focus on the specificity of female migration experience. Hence, the proposed study will contribute to increase knowledge in this area as well as bring the perspective of migration to the study of masculinity in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.


2016 - 2017

Source of funding

National Science Center