From pioneer migration to family reunification: Polish women’s narratives of lifestyle preferences in Bologna, Italy
Gender, Place & Culture Journal of Feminist Geography, 25(6) | pages: 916-931
In the article I analyse the emergence of lifestyle considerations among former labour migrants and the importance of these new preferences for their choice to settle in the new location. The paper critically engages with the theoretical framework of ‘lifestyle migration’ and discusses its applicability to labour migrants from Central-Eastern Europe settling in Mediterranean countries. I present the interplay between economic and lifestyle reasoning based on two narrative biographical interviews with migrants in Bologna, drawing on my comparative qualitative research in Italy and the UK. The pioneer female migrants went to Italy as care workers in order to fulfill their households’ immediate economic needs. During the years of circular migration the women developed ties to Italy, but found prolonged periods of separation from their families no longer acceptable. The female migrants opted to transfer their whole households to Bologna. Based on the women’s experience and preferences, the families’ consumption preferences and leisure activities transformed in the course of settlement in the Italian city. I claim that lifestyle is a fruitful concept in researching migrants’ changing aspirations, way of life in the new location and the reasons for staying. This approach allows to go beyond the typologies based on the initial motivations for migration.
Family migration, female migrants, Italy, lifestyle migration, Polish migrants, settlement migration