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Centre of Migration Research

Kamila Fiałkowska, Elżbieta Mirga-Wójtowicz, Michał P. Garapich. 2022.

Unequal Citizenship and Ethnic Boundaries in the Migration Experience of Polish Roma


Nationalities Papers, | pages: 1-21



Since the early 1990s, large numbers of Polish Roma have emigrated, mainly to Germany and Great Britain. Unlike the migration of Polish (non-Roma) citizens there was an intriguing silence regarding the migration of this ethnic group. The absence of Roma in the grand narrative of migrations from Poland, as we argue, suggests that the notion of belonging and citizenship were unequally distributed among Poland’s population. Based on our ongoing ethnographic research among Polish Roma migrants, complemented by an analysis of relevant documents, we argue that these inequalities and hierarchies are deeply rooted and there is an interesting continuity in how they were produced and reproduced prior to and after the 1989 regime change. We argue that one of the key factors in these movements, the collectiveness of the migration project – i.e. migrating as an extended family group as a component of the moral economy of Roma mobility – is mutually produced by unequal citizenship, mobility regimes and strong moral obligations stemming from kinship ties.

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