Accepted paper:

Conflicting and concurring imageries of migration/mobility and "good" professional and family life in highly skilled professionals' narratives

Authors:

Katarzyna Wolanik Boström (Umeå University)
Magnus Öhlander (Stockholm University)
Helena Pettersson (Umeå University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper investigates the conflicting and concurring imaginaries of a "good life" and migration/mobility, in relation to national frameworks, professional and family contexts and life trajectories, as articulated by Polish and Swedish mobile/migrating medical professionals.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, we explore in what ways international mobility and migration could be understood as a search for a good life among already privileged professionals in the medical field. The paper is based on two qualitative studies of Polish physicians who moved to Sweden and Swedish physicians and molecular biologists who had worked in Western or non-Western countries and returned to Sweden. Over 60 in-depth interviews with professionals were subject to narrative analysis. In the narratives, imaginaries of a "good life" in different national contexts and different life stages are articulated in relation to migration/mobility, return and settling. Imagining "a good life" might incite moving abroad in a quest for skills, proficiency, safety or adventure, or to make the world a better place (a better life for underprivileged others) working for NGOs. But moving might also jeopardise career, resulting in deskilling and loss of status. Moreover, it might have a negative impact on the "good life" of one's partner and family, as family is regarded as basically sedentary. The choice of location is also informed by "imagined geographies" in relation to a good life, as moving abroad might turn out to be a great adventure but even a misfortune; loss of the good life left "home" (e.g. employment, status, a more gender equal partnership, good childcare or social bonds). The interviewees are thus labouring with different context-bound imaginaries of the good life in order to make sense of the decision to move, settle or to return "home".

panel P084
Migration and the imaginaries of 'good life' [ANTHROMOB]