This research examines the social and cultural geographies of European diasporas in Wales. While much diaspora research focuses on migrations between former metropolitan powers and their former colonies, relatively little attention has been paid to the experiences of migrants from other European countries to the UK. This neglect is surprising considering facilitation of movement between one member state and another by the European Union, as well as the single market creating more opportunities and incentives for intra-European connections. Significantly, migration to the UK from the Accession 8 (A8) group of states that joined the EU in 2004 has brought significant demographic changes both to many localities in particular and to the UK as a whole. An academic study of contemporary A8 diasporas is particularly pertinent for a number of reasons. Firstly, these EU nationals’ negotiation of belonging along several facets of identity allows for a study that does not experience these post-colonial ties. Secondly, much of the academic literature on diasporas is concerned with the way in which race and racial differences are experiences and negotiated. As A8 migrants are mostly from a white ethnic background, such a study has potential to examine alternative conceptualizations of race in diaspora through whiteness. This study focuses on the experience of members of the Polish diaspora in Wales. The overwhelming majority of A8 migrants to the UK are Polish nationals; for reasons of practicality in accessing sufficient participant numbers, as well as the candidate’s own research interest and positionality, it is proposed to focus on the experiences of Polish diasporas.
Start date:October 2013
Research Topic:What is the perception of Polish migration's socio-cultural impact on Wales post-2004: Missing the human factor?
Research pathway:Human Geography
Research Supervisor:Prof Rhys Jones, Dr Rhys Dafydd Jones
Supervising school:Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University
Primary funding source:ESRC Studentship