Poles in Iceland (1): Migration and the Aftermath of Economic Crisis

In 2015 I launched a project entitled Polish Migrants in Iceland. Mobile and Immobile Strategies of Response to the Aftermath of Economic Crisis (funded by National Science Center in Poland), which concerns the impact of economic turbulences on migrants livelihoods strategies, transformations of labour market, and the relations between mobile and immobile responses to the aftermath of global recession.

The project aims to:

  • Identify and analyse social, cultural and economic strategies used by Polish migrants as responses to economic crisis in Iceland;
  • Enhance theoretical and empirical understanding of Polish migrants’ formal and/or informal adaptation to contemporary conditions of Icelandic labour market;
  • Investigate the relations between mobile and/or immobile livelihood strategies in crisis aftermath;
  • Enhance and/or develop a scientific approach for analysing the impact of global forces and connections on migrants emplaced practices.

The project will develop the discipline and proposed subject matter by: Providing anthropological perspective to migration scholarship, which continues to be dominated by economists, demographers and sociologists. This is particularly true in Poland where the premier centres of migration studies are located within disciplines favouring analyses of quantitative data and are preoccupied with migration flows on large scale. Introducing multi-sited ethnography and novel research idea that moves beyond the binary thinking about migration and stasis by introducing both of these concepts as interconnected and interdependent. While mobility per se has already been studied, migration scholars have not yet explored its effects on different social domains and localities on a micro scale. In other words, the contemporary concern with mobility, while necessary, has made some scholars lose sight of the continued importance of place-based practices and relations between mobile and immobile subjects. Filling the empirical gap on Polish post-accession migration which is chiefly focused on the UK, Holland or Germany to the detriment of studying new destinations such as Iceland. Contributing to a wider scientific debate on the proposed subject matter as a comparative case study enriched with ethnographic details and deep analysis of the interdependencies between migration patterns and economic crisis.

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