Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

Transnationalism and belonging in the Baltic Sea region among descendants to Polish migrants in Sweden

Ämne: Etnologi
Projektledare: Ann Runfors
Startår: 2018
Projekttyp: Projekt

Even though European mainstream migration studies have for long centred on first generation immigrants, research onmigrant’s offspringis today emerging. This reflects the fact that this category is a growing part of the population in Europe.This projectfocuses this expanding category andstressesthe importance of separatingdescendants from migrants–as these two positions offer different experiences. Itstudiesthe under-researched case of descendent of Polish migrants in Sweden, with thepurpose to show how these descendants construct place and belonging in the Baltic Sea region.It problematizes the methodological nationalism and the methodological ethnicity of mainstream migration research and uses in-depth interviews as investigation method –with the overall aim to explore a variation of experiences and orientations among the young studied. Earlier research on descendantsof migrantshas mainly focused on young from categories perceived as non-white in relation to the Swedish majority. This might be one reason why young with parents from Poland are seldom studied,even though they are offspring of the third largest immigrant cohortin Sweden as well asthelargest Baltic one. To understand the specific position of descendant’s and how they construct place and belonging, one needs to studyboththeir relationship to the places where they grew upand their relationship to the places they are linked to through their parent’s migration and transnational networks. This project takes both these aspects in consideration and challenges methodological nationalism and methodological ethnicity bydeploying the transnational theoretical perspective andcombining it with positioning theory and constructivist place theory.Besides this theoretical contribution the projects adds empirically to current research:by focusing on the under-researched case of Polishdescendants in Sweden,•bymoving beyond the dominating focus on descendant’sintegration into the nation states to which the parents migratedand studying transnationalism from below,•by focusing on the relation between experiences of otherisation and feelings of belonging and•byinvestigatingthe under-researched question whetherinvisibility created by whiteness offers protection against otherisation. To make possible comparisons of variations among the young –and therebychallenge methodological ethnicity –and make possible analysis of similarities that may span ethnic and other categorizations, the project is designed as a two-part study.Itwill shed light on how young people with ties to places on both sides of the Baltic Sea orients themselves in a world tinged by cross-border processes –where the previous geography is today challenged by the fall of the Soviet Union as well as Poland’s and other Eastern European countries entry into the EU.

Final report - Ann Runfors - Transnationalism and belonging in the Baltic Sea region among descendants to Polish migrants in Sweden