Accepted Paper:

New battle for England?  
Agnieszka Kubal (Oxford University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper investigates legal cultures of immigrants from Eastern Europe in the United Kingdom from the perspective of commonly adopted inclusion strategies. The main aim is to explore how legal cultures inherited by immigrants influence their economic and social performance within the host society.

Paper long abstract:

In my paper I will investigate the legal cultures of immigrants from CEE in the UK, which, I believe, fit squarely within the main thesis that migration triggers or accelerates cultural change in both receiving and sending societies/communities. As far as sociological variables are concerned (age, gender, education, etc.) immigrants from CEE, do not constitute a homogeneous group. In the UK since the last EU Enlargement, one can distinguish two major groups of immigrants - (1) graduates, whose decision to migrate is generally motivated by the fear of unemployment in the home country and (2) the so called 'older' workers, who have become unemployed due to the side effects of economic transformation in the 1990s.

The cultures of 'connections and shortcuts', or 'going around the law' which I plan to investigate are deeply rooted in the consciousness of especially older immigrants (in their late 40s). The working hypothesis states that these specific, half-legal inclusion strategies have been inspired by their human capital, which has partly been established during the socialism. Thus some very characteristics features of homo sovieticus can still be tracked down in the way they act as rational actors on the economic market. The main aim of the research is to investigate how legal cultures, inherited by immigrants from Central Eastern Europe, influence their economic and social performance within the receiving society. What impact does it have on immigrants themselves, including their employment, political and social participation in the host civil society? Does the fact of working and living in a new environment inspire changes in the attitude to work/co-workers, changes in work ethics?

Panel W094
Migration and cultural change in Europe