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Family and Mobility in Second Modernity: Polish Migrant Narratives of Individualization and Family Life

Botterill, Katherine


Katherine Botterill


This article revisits the individualization debate in the context of Polish migration to the UK. Drawing on empirical research with young Polish migrants in Scotland and Poland, I argue that as new opportunities for migration have shaped Polish family life, the family plays ideological, affective and practical roles in shaping and supporting young people’s mobilities. The pursuit of an apparently individualistic, mobile life in the context of post-accession Polish mobility is confounded by the persistence of family structures and relations that underpin and shape individual decisions and mobility pathways. I discuss three ‘ruptures’ to the individualization thesis (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2001) that relate to the process of migration over the lifecourse: ‘moving out’, ‘keeping in touch’, and ‘coming back’. Through these discussions I argue that individual mobility is a relational process and one that can, and should, be analysed alongside family structures rather than separate from it.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 6, 2013
Online Publication Date Jun 6, 2013
Publication Date 2014-04
Deposit Date Aug 1, 2016
Journal Sociology
Print ISSN 0038-0385
Electronic ISSN 1469-8684
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 2
Pages 233-250
Keywords family, gender, individualization, mobility, modernity transnational families,
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