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Moving citizens: citizenship practices among Polish migrants in Norway and the United Kingdom

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Following post-EU-accession migration, Poles currently form the largest group of foreign nationals in Norway and the second largest group of foreign born residents in the United Kingdom. Given the considerable volume of new arrivals, there is a growing literature on Polish migration to both countries; however, there is little comparative research on Polish migration across different European settings. By exploring how Polish migrants reflect on the possibilities of settlement or return, this paper comparatively examines the effects that permanent and ‘normalised’ mobility has on Polish migrants’ self-perception as citizens in four different cities. In addition to classic citizenship studies, which highlight the influence of a nation-state based institutionalised citizenship regime, we find that transnational exchanges, local provisions and inter-personal relationships shape Polish migrants’ practices of citizenship. The resulting understanding of integration is processual and sees integration as constituted by negotiated transnational balancing acts that respond to (and sometimes contradict) cultural, economic and political demands and commitments. The research is based on semi-structured interviews and focus groups with a total of 80 respondents, conducted in two British and two Norwegian cities that experienced significant Polish immigration, Oslo, Bergen, Bristol and Sheffield.
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Keywords: Integration; Norway; Polish migration; UK; citizenship; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway 2: Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS), University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

Publication date: January 2, 2016

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