Internal Migrations in Poland

by Łukasz Skoczylas (Volume editor) Elżbieta Smolarkiewicz (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 160 Pages

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • List of contributors
  • Introduction
  • Post-war internal migration in Poland – characteristics and contemporary consequences
  • Neighbourhood as a consequence of migrations. Formation of neighbourhood relations in Gubin and Guben
  • Post-war internal migrations in biographical experience1
  • Forced migrations and the memory of them. On a monument commemorating Poles exiled from Greater Poland during the Second World War
  • Directions of migration registered in the Warsaw Metropolitan Area1
  • Depopulation of the city of Poznań and its consequences for the local education policy-making
  • Internal migration for educational purposes in the light of literature and research
  • List of figures
  • List of tables

List of contributors

Jerzy Kaczmarek

Institute of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Małgorzata Łukianow

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences

Diana Rokita-Poskart

Department of Regional Policy, Faculty of Economics and Management, Opole University of Technology

Łukasz Skoczylas

Institute of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Elżbieta Smolarkiewicz

Institute of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Przemysław Śleszyński

Institute of Geography and Spatial Organisation, Polish Academy of Sciences

Marzena Walaszek

The Institute of Socio-Economic Geography and Spatial Management, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań


Migration in its most general sense denotes a change of the place of residence/stay and refers to the inalienable need and right of an individual to freedom of movement. The contemporary world offers various forms of spatial mobility, their richness and intensity stemming partly from the development of new means of transportation in the 20th-century, which are often mentioned in discussions of the subject. The scale of this phenomenon is illustrated by migration statistics, which also point to its diverse causes, direction types and frequency. Due to the fairly popular trend of considering migration as one the effects of complex globalization processes, many researchers tend to focus on external (foreign) migration. This concerns particularly Poland with its long history of emigration.

As a result, one may get the impression that from a sociological perspective internal migrations have been a slightly neglected research topic. The issue of contemporary internal migrations is rarely the main subject of analysis in sociological literature; it is much more often discussed within the fields of demography, geography or economics. A significant number of sociological studies in which aspects of internal migrations play a major role are historical in nature. Focus is placed on contemporary effects of processes such as the post-war settlement in the Western and Northern Territories and building socialist cities related to the post-war development of industry or on issues of social memory. It is relatively more common for migrations to be discussed as something of a side note while analysing changes that take place in urban and rural areas or local or regional communities, ways of social advancement, professional careers and educational paths. Migration is then seen as one of numerous correlates of these changes.

Without doubt migration involves a range of opportunities as well as threats that can be considered from the point of view of various fields of study and from many perspectives. An individual perspective analyses the process of gradual transition from one socio-cultural environment to another. Its subsequent stages are connected with various aspects and stages of life, involving individual memory, and as the process resonates across ←9 | 10→generations it may be inherited. From the collective point of view, migration translates into the structure and functioning of families, shapes new forms of communities, transforms the existing ones and defines the local and regional context of community life. Within each of these dimensions migration creates a need for adaptive behaviours, for adopting specific strategies of adaptation and integration (or assimilation) in view of the new socio-cultural conditions. Building relationships with the space itself and with the communities inhabiting it involves the experience of various levels of foreignness and consequently creates the need to construct and reconstruct one’s identity (both individual and collective) as well as the space of the town, village, living estate, etc. The migration experience combines the subjective sphere of opinions, judgements, emotions and impressions, which accompany the change of one’s place of residence, with objective consequences of demographic and spatial changes. Population decline (depopulation) in one space and increase in another are currently most often caused by a change of workplace or following a given educational path. Population decline and increase lead to diverse consequences and pose a challenge for policy-makers. Numerous policy areas require complementarity stemming from the need to consider diverse effects of migration occurring simultaneously in different areas. With regard to population, the most visible, long-term and negative effect of an outflow of people is demographic decline leading to population ageing across individual local spaces (be it districts, towns and villages or communes and regions). The opposite effect of population changes caused by migration is population increase occurring with favourable age structure and offering potential for development within individual territorial units. The two phenomena produce different types of effects in other areas of the functioning of such units. For instance, they generate a different range and type of needs the fulfilment of which lies within the responsibility of authorities at various levels of central and local government administration. Migration-related changes in the age structure result in the need to transform the health policy, with growing demand for specific types of infrastructure and healthcare. The increase in the number of elderly people, whose pace may be accelerated by migration, results not only in the need to change the healthcare profile but also requires extension of institutional care. The latter stems from separation of families and breaking intergenerational ←10 | 11→bonds that would ensure a model of looking after the elderly based on family resources.

Migration affects the housing policy and related spatial policies, changing the picture of modern settlement. The emerging demand for specific types of accommodation is accompanied by a lack of demand for others, already existing ones. In both cases, this generates the need to transform the broadly understood infrastructural environment (water supply, gas and electricity networks, road and transportation networks, services, and leisure and recreation areas). Such changes, in turn, create the need for new forms of planning and development. The emerging difficulties are connected with planning the living space in new housing estates and revitalising the old ones. Another aspect is the spatial and cultural expansion of the cities into typically rural areas. Migration is also a challenge for educational services due to the need to provide residents with an appropriate type of educational institutions in accordance with the changing age structure and educational profile adapted to the changing labour market generating population influx. Moreover, changes in each of these spheres require finding financial sources at various levels, which may constitute a burden or generate profits for individual budgets. This overview of the consequences of migration, which have to be faced by individuals, local and regional communities as well as policy-makers at various levels of administration, does not cover the entire complexity of the issue, but presents the importance of conducting research on internal migrations.

In view of the above, the aim of this publication is to highlight the issue of internal migrations and emphasise the need to conduct research on their course and consequences, including those stemming from historical processes. The complexity of this process is illustrated by the fact that the chapters contained in the book have been written by representatives of different disciplines: sociology, geography and economics, which may suggest the need for interdisciplinary research to be conducted in the future.

Biographical notes

Łukasz Skoczylas (Volume editor) Elżbieta Smolarkiewicz (Volume editor)

Łukasz Skoczylas is a sociologist and psychologist, currently working as assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland). His main research interests are migration, sociology of culture and social memory. Elżbieta Smolarkiewicz is a sociologist specializing in migration and collective identity research. She is an assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland).


Title: Internal Migrations in Poland