Polish Immigrant Organisations in the UK after 2004: Between Lack of Unity and Increased Recognition

Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz

Abstrakt

This article discusses the changing structure, characteristics, and condition of Polish Immigrant Organisations (PIOs) in the United Kingdom, from Poland’s accession to the EU (2004) until the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote (2017). It suggests that they are an important part of the rich tapestry of civil society actors dealing with migrants’ issues. It finds that the profound heterogenization of the landscape of Polish Immigrant Organisations can be attributed to a very diverse migrant community in terms of class, whose needs were not met by the hitherto existing organisations devoted to the symbolic affirmation of Polishness and in-group solidarity, chiefly along class lines. The resultant intergenerational tension between old and new migrants translated into the emergence of a new breed of migrant organisations that addressed the welfare needs of the underprivileged Polish migrants, especially on a local level, as well as their cultural belonging and social aspirations. The article is based on a 2-year multi-method study of migrant organisations across the United Kingdom that included surveys, interviews, and participant observation among civil society activists, experts, as well as civil servants.

Słowa kluczowe: Polish Immigrant Organisations, Brexit, Civil Society, EU Migration
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