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Title: The life transitions of Polish migrant parents in the North East of England
Author: Clements, Rachel
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 8482
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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This study considers the intersection between the transitional phases of migration and parenthood. Using ethnographic, biographical interviews conducted with twenty-one Polish families, the research addresses themes such as work, household organisation, pregnancy and birth and family relationships. In order to make a contribution to an otherwise under researched dynamic in migration studies, the project takes a regional perspective, drawing informants exclusively from the North East of England. The research shows how Polish migrant parents’ aspirations and expectations about life in the UK, and more specifically about life the North East of England, rely on a series of romantic preconceptions and meet with conflicting realities. The study refutes the concept of the lone migrant worker, approaching migration from the perspective of the transnational family, and recognising that decisions to migrate are based on an enmeshment of economic, social, cultural and personal conditions. The study challenges traditional models of the Polish family by referring to a diverse set of Polish migrant family formations such as lone parent families, dual heritage families and families enduring periods of separation and reunification. This study takes a gendered perspective, finding that in Polish migrant households migration is a catalyst for the renegotiation of household duties and caring responsibilities. The thesis argues that in terms of livelihood, Polish migrant parents negotiate rather than strategise their employment opportunities, educational prospects, acquisition of languages and social networks. Additionally Polish migrant parents navigate a complex set of identities in order to legitimise their migration and consider their future options. The study rejects the over simplified ‘stay or return’ migration dichotomy, giving platform instead to the emotional geographies of migration: the anxieties, fears, and apprehensions Polish migrant parents have about their continued residence in the UK, and similarly the possibility of returning to Poland, give their lives a messiness and uncertainty. For Polish migrant parents, life transitions unravel between the planning and unplanning of events, as such they experience an everyday tussle between pragmatism and idealism, reality and imagination.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available