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Motivations for mobility and settlement of Polish female migrants in Barcelona and Berlin

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This article focuses on individual perceptions that shape migration decisions and investigates how the process of migration or settlement itself is framed by a variety of personal considerations. It is a comparative study of Polish female migrants in Barcelona and Berlin who moved for the sake of economic and educational opportunities, because of family reunification and formation considerations (‘move for love') – as well as other reasons. It is argued that the factors influencing women's decisions about continuous mobility or settlement are negotiated within social, cultural and economic transnational spheres and exchanges. In most cases, Polish women formed families with foreigners or Polish migrants in the host countries which contributed to their settlement decisions. Complex perceptions of life abroad juxtaposed with previous experiences and present ideas about life in Poland also influence decisions to move or settle. It is argued that the specific cultural, intellectual, economic and professional capital as well as the potential of these privileged EU migrant women accounts for their opportunity to choose and their specific freedom to make migration related decisions. A balancing of premises related to life-projects in both localities is an important aspect of the gendered experience of migration within Europe. It also brings attention to individual agency in a globalized world. The study is based on ethnographic research in Barcelona and Berlin that has been conducted since 2010.
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Keywords: Barcelona; Berlin; Polish migrant women; agency; migration motivations; settlement

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland

Publication date: January 2, 2016

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