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 IEiAK-CEBAM

 

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IASFM

Research grant from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education no. N N109 224836

Project dates: June 2009-June 2012 (36 months)

Project coordinator: Prof. Dr. Michał Buchowski (contact: mbuch(at)amu.edu.pl)

 

Chief participants:

Prof. Dr. Jacek Schmidt (contact: jschmidt(at)amu.edu.pl)

Dr. Natalia Bloch (contact: nbloch(at)amu.edu.pl)

Dr. Agnieszka Chwieduk (contact: agach(at)amu.edu.pl)

Dr. Izabella Main (contact: imain(at)amu.edu.pl)

The objective of the project is to produce a microsocial analysis of the phenomenon of the cultural heterogeneity of large urban centres. The research investigates foreign migrants who come to Poland while maintaining regular contact with their country of origin and with relatives remaining there. This situation becomes a source of growing social diversity and social mobility, as well as a source of transnational connections which then influence the current profile of large cities. The object of the study is, firstly, to identify the extent of these phenomena and, secondly, to analyse them.

 

The question of cultural diversity should be approached both theoretically and practically within the context of current social policy. In the first phase of the research – The Topography of Immigration in Poznan – we identify the nature and scale of the phenomenon. This phase involves identification of the specific sites of settlement, description of living conditions, and highlighting stratification and cultural identities of migrant communities. Of particular analytical interest in terms of the social context are, among other things, family and neighbourly ties, groups’ internal hierarchies and organisational forms, and these groups’ relations with the dominant host society. Meanwhile, in terms of the cultural context, we intend to focus on the sphere of ideas and representations, attitudes of identification and on practices which maintain ties with the country of origin.

 

This research, based on an ethnographic approach, intends to show the extent to which those communities which are absent from public discourses cohabit with the dominant host society. The objective is to identify migrant groups’ strategies and practices of adaptation and to show how these groups in their everyday activities become part of the social and spatial urban environment. The presence of migrants inevitably leads to exogenous cultural change, since migrants not only adopt the host society’s models but also adapt and change those models. “Culture” is, after all, realised in everyday interactions. This therefore provides an opportunity to observe the cultural practices of people living in a shared social space – these practices are diverse, yet form a comprehensive social structure. Particular groups share a multitude of behavioural practices while at the same time, but to differing degrees, maintain a sense of their own separateness and autonomy. Such diversity of intercultural relations and behaviours is subject to constant changes. We hope that this research project will enable both the identification of the direction and dynamism of these changes and also the formulation of recommendations for social policy on local and national levels in Poland.