Post-War and Post-Accession Polish Migrants in Manchester
The investigation is based around a case study looking at two very different groups of Polish migrants in Manchester: those who settled in the city after the Second World War and those who arrived after Poland joined the European Union in 2004. A comparison of the two groups reveals a fascinating transformation in the process of identity formation, which has led to the clearly defined modern identity of the post-war migrants being replaced by a postmodern, multidimensional sense of self in the post-accession migrants.
Chapter 2 Mapping the Spaces of Post-War Migrants’ Identity
Having introduced the theoretical framework for understanding national identity, it is now time to relate it to the field work data. The rest of this book contains the results of the empirical research on the identities of the Polish population in Manchester, focusing particularly on the spatial dimensions of the migrants’ identity. This chapter analyses spatial expres- sions of identity among Polish post-war migrants, the following chapter will consider post-accession migrants and the final chapter will compare these two groups. The Polish migrants’ case study, by allowing a comparison to be made of the practices of the two groups of migrants, helps answer the questions posed earlier about the way national identity evolves as a result of globalization processes. Geographic Places The movement of the post-war migrants was the result of the Second World War. Due to the political situation they could not return to Poland. At first, they expected their situation to be temporary but later they had to accept it as permanent. This group came to England before the forces of new technologies, globalization and ‘time-space compression’ created a sense of information f lows, fragmentation and dif ferentiation, replacing what is now perceived to be a previous stability of homogeneity, community and place (Carter et al., 1993: viii). The only way the post-war migrants could experience Polishness at that time was through reproducing it in their diasporic culture. This chapter describes how they were able to do that. 54 Chapter 2 The first part discusses the activities of...
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