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Centre of Migration Research

Zuzanna Brunarska. 2024.

Unfulfilled intentions: family stories and narratives on unrealised emigration under emigration restrictions


Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies


The paper sheds light on the character of family stories concerning unrealised emigration experienced under emigration restrictions and their potential intergenerational impacts. To this end, it explores the family stories on unfulfilled intentions to emigrate from two countries that were part of the Socialist Bloc, drawing on data from semi-structured in-depth interviews with people whose family members intended to emigrate from the Polish People’s Republic and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic but who have not fulfilled their plans. The study highlights how memories on the experience of unrealised emigration have been transmitted across generations within families, how the character of family stories varies, and what mechanisms may underlie the potential influence of the experience over migration-related attitudes, norms, aspirations, and in some cases intentions and behaviour, of the non-migrants’ descendants.


Unfulfilled migration intentions, unrealised emigration, stories, narratives, descendants

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