Accepted Paper:

"Everything has changed": anchoring the transnational practices and incorporation  


Anna Matyska (Tampere University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the shifting patterns of integration and transnationalism, enacted through the cross-border flow of people and goods, among the Polish migrants in Finland. The investigation is set against the changing geopolitical and economic conditions of the Polish and Finnish nation-states.

Paper long abstract:

The paper addresses the interplay of historical situatedness, class and the different modes of integration and transnationalism engaged in by the Polish migrants in Finland and their non-mobile kith and kin in Poland. I look at how the changing dynamics of the flow and consumption of goods and travel of people underpinned the constant reworking of the transnational social spaces and migrants' incorporation into the receiving communities across time. In this I am attentive to the political and economic shifts within and across Poland and Finland, including the collapse of communism and the Finnish economic crisis of the ninety-nineties. I indicate their impact on the meaning and direction of transnational commodity exchange and travel, enacted primarily within kinship group, and the structuring of migrants' possibilities for integration.

Temporally situated two-way transnational practices of sending goods and embodied mobility allow migrants to recreate and reinforce their links to people and places in Poland. Simultaneously through creating new intersection of 'Polish' and 'Finnish' social networks, they strengthen migrants' anchoring in Finland. Accordingly the transnationalism and integration emerge here as concurrent, dynamically intertwined processes. The class contingency is revealed as it were mainly the migrants from middle and upper social strata who had the necessary cultural and professional resources to achieve positive social inclusion. The term of class is conceptualized in the context of changing social structures of the Polish pre- and post-1989 society.

The paper is based on my ethnographic study of transnational families spanning Poland and Finland.

Panel W103
Belonging embodied, reciprocity materialised: migrants' transnational practices