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Pathologies of migrant place-making : the case of Polish migrants to the UK.

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  • G Geography (General)
  • Biology
  • Medicine


The author argues that migrant place-making can become counterproductive for migrant communities for a variety of reasons. Existing place-making literature is often optimistic about the ability of places to offer migrants common identities and means of mobilising collectively. The author constructs a four-stage general model of migrant place-making to examine the potential pathologies of migrant organisational strategies at each of these four stages. In order to demonstrate the use of this model, an analysis of post-2004 Polish migration to the UK, drawing upon forty-two semistructured interviews with Polish migrants and domestic service providers, is presented. Although earlier migration displayed a number of the ideal characteristics of positive place-making described in the ideal four-stage model, centring around the Polish Catholic churches of England and Wales, post-2004 migration has introduced a series of problems that illustrate the various pathologies that can occur. The author concludes by calling for (i) a greater appreciation of the role of host organisations in the production of successful and unsuccessful place-making, and (ii) a recognition that place-making as a migrant settlement strategy is deeply fallible at various stages of its development.

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