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Centre of Migration Research

Kamila Fiałkowska, Michał P. Garapich, Elżbieta Mirga-Wójtowicz. 2018.

Anthropology of the Migration of Polish Roma: Filling the Gap in the Migration and Roma Studies


Studia Romologica, nr 11/2018, str. 299-336


The article discusses the main findings of a two-year long pioneering research project on Roma migration from three localities in Poland (Czarna Góra, Mława and Nowa Huta) to the UK. The authors notice the peculiar academic silence around migration of Roma from Poland – both in Polish Romani Studies and migration studies. Thus, the aim of this paper is to fill in this research gap and bridge Romani Studies and Migration Studies. Due to the pioneering nature of the research, the authors seek to find out the answers to the very simple questions: why do Polish Roma migrate? Is the Roma migration fundamentally different from the non-Roma, Gadje migration? How is it similar? What changes does migration bring to Roma families, both in Poland and in the UK? How does the relations between Roma and Gadje from Poland looks like in the UK. The most important research finding, as the authors argue, is that one cannot talk about Polish Roma without considering migration, its impact on Roma communities in Poland and transnational dimension of life of many Roma families. As such, this migration is not fundamentally different from the Gadje migration, and is structurally and historically an integral part of migration history from Poland. The intergroup relations between Bergitka Roma and Polska Roma intensify abroad. This, along with the conversion to Jehovah’s Witness makes the fundamental change to the life of some Roma migrants and their identity, which is also further discussed. Finally, as this research confirms, Poland witnesses the next wave of ethnic exodus (after the emigration of Jews and Germans) which goes almost unnoticed.


migration research, migration of Roma from Poland, Romani Studies, transnational families, Bergitka Roma, Polska Roma

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