Changing Employment Research paper published: Hidden injuries of migration: structures of feeling among Polish migrants in the UK

The 6th Changing Employment Research Paper in the series has now been published and is available to download for free. The paper entitled "Hidden injuries of migration: structures of feeling among Polish migrants in the UK" by Radek Polkowski.

The study uses the concept of ‘structures of feeling’ to make sense of the data from semi-structured interviews with 35 Polish migrant workers in the UK. To begin with, the article unpacks the values and ethics conveyed in interviewees’ narratives and, drawing on a relevant literature, situates them within a transformation of Poland that can be best described with an adjective ‘neoliberal’. It argues that it is through this ethic and, specifically, its relation to the actual experience of life in the place of departure and a place of destination that people come to develop contrasting structures of feeling in relation to the two countries. These structures of feeling are characterised by, first of all, dual-idealisations which is a term used to describe the interpretation of the former place in negative terms as not living up to the ideal of a modern, liberal political economy and a positive idealisation of the latter in this respect. Secondly, these structures of feeling are underlined with unacknowledged feelings of shame hanging above the stories of successful work and life abroad. The article also argues that these ‘hidden injuries’ influence migration decisions. Consequently, the study contributes to the literature on migration from CEE by showing how neoliberalism in this region may be intricately linked with migration in ways not envisaged by previous research.

The Research Paper Series has been developed to encourage debate and disseminate activities associated with the network. The central remit of the Research Paper Series is to explore and encourage debate on the changing nature of employment in Europe in the context of challenges, threats and opportunities for employees and employers. 

The network would like to invite contributors from within and out with the network.  You can find out more about the research paper seminar series under the research section of the web-site.

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