Migration and mobility of new Polish migrants in England
: narratives of lived experience

  • Agnieszka Ignatowicz

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis sets out to understand the act of migrating in a period of growing movement of people. It captures the subjective experience of individual migrants, as narrated in the migration stories of 32 “new” Polish migrants in the West Midlands region of England.
Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2004, over half a million Poles have arrived and registered to work in the UK, constituting one of the largest migration movements in contemporary Britain and Europe. This influx of predominantly young migrants opened up public and academic debates regarding the social relations between the Polish migrants and the host society, their duration of stay, and the impact on the economy and social services. While a substantial amount of research has now been undertaken on this migration, this thesis highlights some of the significant features of migration to Britain and Europe today, namely its dynamic, fluid, complex and varied character.
Through four themes of lived experience of migration, migration and mobility, gender, and return migration, this thesis uncovers and explores the phenomenon of post-2004 EU migration from the perspective of migrants themselves. Migrant stories in this thesis are linked with experiences and meanings of migration, but also migrants’ emotions, perceptions, views and opinions. By exploring individual journeys of migration and deliberating over the determinants and consequences of migration, this thesis asks how the processes of migration and mobility come into play in the everyday lives of migrant people, and how this impacts on questions of identity, home, belonging, gender, as well as return.
Date of Award28 Jun 2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChristian H Bolsmann (Supervisor) & Gargi Bhattacharyya (Supervisor)


  • post-2004 Polish migration to the UK
  • lived experience of migration
  • migration and mobility
  • transnationalism

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