Attitudes towards immigration: responses to the increased presence of Polish migrants in the UK post 2004

Harris, C., Gawlewicz, A. and Valentine, G. (2022) Attitudes towards immigration: responses to the increased presence of Polish migrants in the UK post 2004. Migration and Development, 11(1), pp. 1-20. (doi: 10.1080/21632324.2019.1697489)

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Based on a large-scale research project conducted in a northern English city, this paper focuses on the attitudes towards, and experienced by, Polish migrants as a result of increased immigration following the 2004 enlargement of the European Union. We pay attention to the ways in which people justify their negative attitudes towards this migrant group through competition for resources, particularly in terms of job security and the receipt of benefit payments. However, we also consider meaningful encounters between these migrants and the ‘local’ population, and how through these encounters attitudes can sometimes be transformed from negative to positive. Crucially, we demonstrate how Polish migrants themselves respond to these attitudes. In doing so, we show that by drawing upon the very same discourses of job security and social benefits they develop complex understandings of the ‘local’ population. Through its attention to immigration, the paper contributes to debates about the relationships between different social groups and processes of exclusion, highlighting the importance of encounters on the process of attitude formation. By giving voice to representatives of both the ‘local’ population and migrants, it further provides a rare perspective on social responses to immigration-driven diversity in European societies.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: This work was supported by the European Research Council through an Advanced Investigator Award under grant agreement no. 249658, entitled Living with Difference in Europe: making communities out of strangers in an era of supermobility and superdiversity.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gawlewicz, Dr Anna
Authors: Harris, C., Gawlewicz, A., and Valentine, G.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Journal Name:Migration and Development
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):2163-2332
Published Online:04 December 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in Migration and Development 11(1):1-20
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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