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Parenting and 'home-making' in the new Polish diaspora in Britain

Choluj, Kasia (2019) Parenting and 'home-making' in the new Polish diaspora in Britain. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:79035)

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Abstract

This thesis investigates ways of constructing parental roles and ethnic identities by Polish migrants in the UK. It is based on data obtained through a qualitative, small-scale study that used in-depth interviews in combination with participant observations. The research was carried out with Polish migrant parents living in the South East of England and in London, who moved to the UK after 2004.

The context for the research is the shift from communism to democracy in Poland in 1989. This changed the influence of a romantic paradigm that previously encouraged parents to transmit nationalistic and Catholic ideologies to children. This cultural shift prompted uncertainty about what it means to be a 'good mother or father' in Poland and in the Polish diaspora. My research concerns the ways the post EU accession cohort of Polish migrants raise their children. I consider this through exploring religious rituals, food practices and language use. I also explore how gendered parental roles are negotiated in this migration situation through everyday family practices. In taking child-rearing as the lens to explore the experience of migration, this research extends investigation of home-making in the diaspora. Home-making is understood here as practices through which migrants negotiate belonging. I explore religious rituals, language use and food practices to consider this process.

This investigation builds upon recent discussions within diaspora and transnationalism studies that consider how parents negotiate social norms and values around childrearing in the host country. It also draws on the debates within parenting culture studies highlighting new modes of 'intensive parenting' (Hays 1996; Lee 2008) and it makes use of investigations into the origins of national and religious discourses in Poland that consider how motherhood and fatherhood have been historically constructed in Poland and the transformation of gendered parental roles.

Following a discussion of methodology, I demonstrate across three analytical chapters the importance of diasporic resources and links with Poland for parents at various levels, including symbolic, financial and emotional. I highlight a plurality of meanings given to Polishness, which I illustrate by exploring religious rituals, language use and food practices. The improvement of their children, rather than advancement of the nation, emerges as the main concern for participants, which I address through attaching meaning through the Polish culture.

The argument advanced overall recognizes a need for acknowledging diversity in parenting practices among transnational families. This thesis demonstrates a range of decisions and negotiations that migrant parents abroad have to make during the childrearing process and recognizes a need for acknowledging diversity in parenting practices in research about contemporary transnational families.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Garbin, Dr David
Thesis advisor: Lee, Prof. Ellie
Uncontrolled keywords: diaspora, migration, parenting, home-making, identity, language use, religion, food practices
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2019 11:10 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:20 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/79035 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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