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Title: Polish children in Wales : negotiating identities in school, church and neighbourhood
Author: Kaczmarek-Day, Aleksandra
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is concerned with exploring identities of Polish children who came to Wales with their economic-migrant parents after European Union enlargement in 2004. As increasing numbers of Polish children enter British schools, it is important to learn how they understand their relocation and how they form their identities. Their identities must be understood within their family, school, church, homeneighbourhood, friendship-circle and transnational European space contexts. To explore their identity negotiation process, a year-long ethnographic study was undertaken with a group of middle-childhood Polish migrant children living in an urban area in Wales. The research includes observations in two schools (Catholic primary and Polish supplementary), two churches, their family environment and neighbourhoods, and children’s own accounts of their experiences. The data reveal that these children live in multiple environments due to their families’ transnational practices, and are developing multiple identities. Polish nationality is a valuable source for their identification. They also strongly identify with their mother-tongue, using it across daily contexts. Identifications with the English language appeared to be a source of aspirations. Polish identity reproduction appears to be very strongly rooted in migrant families’ transnational practices and participation in Polish diaspora life in Wales. Roman Catholicism further emphasises their Polishness but, conversely, its practice and children’s attendance in Catholic schools help embed families into local communities. Peer culture is a significant factor in children’s identity negotiations. In the context of being a sizable minority in the Catholic school they employ various strategies to balance both their belonging to and independence from, home-culture and peer-networks outside their language group. The findings on children’s experiences in Welsh schools show that they adapt well. However, they may benefit from assistance to develop intercultural competences that could help them with cross-ethnic exchanges within peer cultures in schools, the Catholic community and their home-neighbourhoods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)