Book Review: Michał P. Garapich (2016), London’s Polish Borders. Transnationalizing Class and Ethnicity Among Polish Migrants in London
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This long-awaited book is a recent addition to the considerable volume of important research on post-enlargement Polish migration in the UK. Originally guided by a methodological nationalism paradigm, Garapich’s study on Poles in London approaches the topic of migration and ethnic identity from a different perspective. In contrast to other works within this field, which prefer to study sameness and uniqueness, the author focuses on class and intra-ethnic divisions within migrants’ boundaries, deploying other important concepts from related disciplines, such as ‘imagined community’ and discourse. But what makes this book even more special is its examination both of how Poles makes sense of the super-diverse locality of a global city with its own complex ethnic relationships, and of how they use, perform, thrive in, but also sometimes struggle with, transnational living. By the same token, a vigorous ethnographic methodology, rich sites of data collections, a thorough examination of multi-genre data (i.e., qualitative interviews and focus groups coupled with field notes from participant observations), as well as a richness of examples from the field to illustrate the author’s point, all turn this book into a fine example of a distinguished research monograph. The author chooses to collate and to blend data harvested from several of his ethnographic projects, including his original PhD thesis, spanning roughly the first decade of Polish EU membership between 2003 and 2013.
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