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Transnational Polish Families in Norway

Social Capital, Integration, Institutions and Care

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Edited By Krystyna Slany, Magdalena Slusarczyk, Paula Pustulka and Eugene Guribye

This book provides timely insights into the lives of Polish migrants who have been settling in Norway with their partners and children, especially over the last decade. It brings together Polish and Norwegian scholars who shed light on the key areas of migrant family practices in the transnational space. The contributors critically assess social capital of those living mobile lives, discuss the role of institutions, as well as engage with the broad problematics of caring – both with regard to migrant children raised in Norway, and the elderly kin members left behind in Poland. Further, the authors tackle the question of the possibilities and constrains of integration, pointing to several areas of policy implications of transnationalism for both Poland and Norway.

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Eugene Guribye: Two waves, two contexts: On the changing conditions for social networking among Polish migrants in Norway

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Eugene Guribye

Two waves, two contexts: On the changing conditions for social networking among Polish migrants in Norway

Abstract: There has been an increasing academic focus on social capital and the social networks of migrants. Social networking often takes place in highly dynamic historical, political, cultural and social contexts, and there is a need for a better understanding of conditions that may facilitate or hinder migrants’ access to social networks. In this chapter I describe how two distinct waves of Polish migrants arriving in Norway at different historical intersections have faced markedly different conditions and opportunities for social networking. While first wave migrants faced conditions favourable to establishing bonding and bridging social capital, second wave migrants have faced conditions that have made it more favourable to bond among themselves. Analysing these specific conditions, implications for policy makers are discussed.

Key words: social capital, social networks, context, Polish migrants

Introduction

Social capital has become an increasingly popular concept in countries with growing immigrant populations and where concerns are related to issues such as social cohesion, health, and language acquisition (Coradini 2010). Commonly defined as features of social organisation, including networks, norms, and trust that may facilitate cooperation for mutual benefits (Putnam 2000), social capital has been regarded as a central condition of integration, social cohesion, economic success, health, language acquisition, career decision-making and the well-being of people (e.g. Portes, Guarnizo and Landolt 1999; Wilkinson 1996; Szreter and Woolcock 2004; Ferlander 2007;...

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