Accepted Paper:

Lived experience of work in the narratives of the immigrants  
Olga Kozlowska (University of Wroclaw)

Paper short abstract:

I shall present my research of lived experience of work of young and highly educated immigrants from post-communist Poland to the United Kingdom. My main aim is to examine how they construct work and work related activities from a critical discourse perspective.

Paper long abstract:

I shall present my research on lived experience of work of young and highly educated immigrants from post-communist Poland to the United Kingdom. My main aim is to examine how they construct work and work related activities. I also intend to explore, within narratives about work, their experience of post-communist and well-established capitalist realities. In the process I shall reach discourses that are used by them to give meaning to the situation they are in.

The research is anchored in the critical discourse perspective. I approach the data, collected in narrative interviews, with lexical and grammatical analyses focused on linguistic choices the informants made. This kind of analysis enables me to observe the way experiences of working abroad were represented and constructed.

There were two dominant categories that characterised the data: 'normality' and 'second modernity'. First, the Poles leaving for the United Kingdom were expecting to find 'normality' and second, they were discursively enlarging rather than changing their living space. But it appeared that both these categories were challenged when the informants were positioning themselves in the work situations in the host society. The passage resulted in self-exclusion that was accomplished by positioning oneself or certain groups as 'the Other'.

Exploring lived experience of working abroad allowed me to see work and work related activities as a sphere where immigrants negotiate their position in the host country. Significantly, it made possible to observe how the immigrants that share the same background and specific attitudes discursively cope on the unifying European employment market.

Panel W101
Poster session