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2016 | 5 | 2 | 99-117

Article title

Social Remittances and the Impact of Temporary Migration on an EU Sending Country: The Case of Poland


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This article sheds light on the unintended consequences of temporary migration from Poland by combining Merton’s functional analysis with Levitt’s work on social remittances. In addition to economic remittances, Polish migrants have been bringing norms, values, practices and social capital to their communities of origin since the end of the nineteenth century. The article presents a juxtaposition of the non-material effects of earlier migration from Poland, dating from the turn of the twentieth century, with those of the contemporary era of migration from Poland since the 1990s. The analysis shows that some aspects, such as negotiating gender roles, the changing division of household labour, individualistic lifestyles, new skills and sources of social capital, and changing economic rationalities are constantly being transferred by migrants from destination to origin communities. Contemporary digital tools facilitate these transfers and contribute to changing norms and practices in Polish society. The article demonstrates that migration fulfils specific functions for particular sections of Polish society by replacing some functions of the communist state (e.g., cash assistance and loans from communist factories, factory and post-coop cultures) and by facilitating their adaptation to changing conditions (e.g., changing gender relations, new models of family, job aspirations and social mobility).



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