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Ethnic, gender and class identities of Polish migrant mothers: intersecting maternal narratives with transnationalism and integration

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Based on a doctoral study of Polish migrant mothers living in Germany and the United Kingdom, this paper examines women's narratives pertinent to ethnicity, gender and social class, as well as the mutual entanglements of these dimensions. While the ethnic identity matrix often evokes dimensions of transnationalism and integration, the addition of the femininity component illustrates the diversity among contemporary Polish migrant women in Western Europe with regard to their identity practices. The analyses of transnational, translocal and cosmopolitan orientations highlight their binding to a contextualized understanding of femininity – its various markers and corollary epitome of motherhood, particularly in the Polish context. The main findings comprise an ideal-type based typology of migrant mothering, which sheds light on how mobility and gender intersect. The discussions adopt the social class lens in an attempt to focus on the implications of certain maternal and migrant identities among Polish women. By underscoring the value of both integration and transnationalism perspectives, the paper calls for additional aspects of translocality and hybridization, seeing them as noticeable social markers of the Polish female migrants’ biographies.
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Keywords: Polish migrants; ethnic identities; femininity; integration; social class; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

Publication date: January 2, 2016

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