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Centre of Migration Research

Aleksandra Grzymała-Kazłowska. 2013.

Od tożsamości i integracji do społecznego zakotwiczenia – propozycja nowej koncepcji teoretycznej


CMR Working Paper, Nr 64(122)


The text presents a proposal of new a concept of social anchoring, which redefines the problem of links between an individual and a society and tries to tackle the problem of cement in a contemporary society. In the first part of the article the role of identity for the analysis of a contemporary society and reasons why the concept of identity is so problematic are examined. Afterwards the problem of relationship between identity, on the one hand, and integration as well as social cohesion in complex and diverse societies, on the other hand, is described. These parts play a role of introduction to the concept of social anchoring, similarly to the analysis of the daily and metaphoric usage of anchoring, particularly in psychology. The central part of the text presents the concept of social anchoring as a new theoretical proposal, which revises and integrates the previous categories and research approaches. It is proposed to provisionally define anchoring as searching for points of reference and footholds which enables individuals to establish socio-psychological stability in their lives. There can be distinguished different types of anchors, among others such as legal and institutional (e.g. citizenship), economic (material resources), places (e.g. place of birth), personal anchors (such as appearance, physical practices, individual traits and values), cultural (e.g. language), and social anchors (embedded for example in family or friend relations). The proposed approach provides an opportunity to integrate the issues of identity, adaptation and integration as well as to overcome the limitations of subjectively defined identity and include the psycho-sociological resources that can be used by individuals to adapt to changeable social realities. Although this concept mainly originates from migration studies dealing with the adaptation and integration of migrants, it seems to be also useful for more general sociological analyses.


identity, integration, adaptation, social anchoring