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Social citizenship of Polish migrants in London: engagement and non-engagement with the British welfare state

Osipovic, D.; (2010) Social citizenship of Polish migrants in London: engagement and non-engagement with the British welfare state. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis offers an account of how social citizenship is understood and actualised by ordinary citizens engaged in international mobility. It is based on an analysis of in-depth interviews with 62 Polish migrants conducted within their family and/or household context in London in 2007/2008. The interviews explored how participants satisfied their welfare needs in areas of housing, health and securing an adequate standard of living during their stay in Britain, and to what extent the satisfaction of those needs took place via welfare state or alternative institutions. The eligibility constraints of EU and UK policies on the social entitlements of Polish migrants are reflected in statistical data such as the UK Labour Force Survey. Nevertheless the interviews show that engagement and non-engagement with the British welfare state depend considerably on the participants‟ perceptions of their position in British society. The needs, desert and membership logics of engagement and the market, care and indeterminate logics of non-engagement have been identified. For instance, the self-image of a contributing citizen with a strong work ethic underpins the desert-based logic of engagement. In contrast, the self-image of a pure migrant worker attains to the market-based logic of non-engagement. Furthermore this thesis explains interactions that arise in the processes of engagement and non-engagement with London-based welfare state institutions and traces the consequences for the agent. Methodologically, the study follows the principles of the constructivist reworking of grounded theory. The emerging theoretical perspective emplaces agency in the tension between the ideational and actual levels of individualised experience of social reality, and suggests a sequential interplay between structure and agency. By relaying migrants‟ views and practices of social citizenship, the research identifies the non-national foci of solidarity and legitimacy rooted in the norms of conditionality and local citizenship which redefine the boundaries of modern welfare communities.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Social citizenship of Polish migrants in London: engagement and non-engagement with the British welfare state
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES (School of Slavonic and East European Studies)

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