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Accepted Paper:

Hierarchies of mobility in Polish migrants' identity narratives  
Anna Horolets (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

Migrants create their own hierarchies of mobile subjects that can reinforce or contest mobility regimes. I suggest to study how contemporary Polish migrants in the U.S. address issues of "who has a right to be mobile" and “which mobility is socially acceptable” in their identity narratives.

Paper long abstract:

Contemporary migration and mobility regimes (Bigo 2002; Fassin 2011; Glick Schiller & Salazar 2013) create a set of subject positions that play an important role in keeping mobile populations under control. While Foucault's idea of disciplinary power (1975) sees the production of subjectivies as an efficient way of exercising power over individuals, it has also been criticized for being exaggeratedly deterministic (de Certeau 1984). The analysis of migrants' identity narratives (Kazmierska 2003) as articulations of their subjectivities can lead to a better understanding of the way mobility regimes operate at the level of individual. The inconsistencies and ambiguities in the ways hierarchies of mobile subjects are (re)produced in migrants' identity narratives can be particularly revealing.

In the proposed paper I rely on ethnographic material from the fieldwork that was carried out in 2014 among Polish migrants in Chicago. I aim at reconstructing the (multiple and contradictory) hierarchies of mobile subjects on the basis of migrants' identity narratives. My question is what role (1) different types of mobility (temporary/permanent; regular/irregular; migratory/tourist) as well as (2) gender, family status, life stage, occupation or race play in the construction of these hierarchies. Who has a right to be mobile? What type of mobility is socially and culturally acceptable from migrants' point of view? These subjective hierarchies are to be considered in the context of both the U.S. migration regime (De Genova 2005) and Polish tradition of narrating emigration.

Panel P111
Mobilities, inequalities, power
  Session 1