Alexandra Lewicki and Marta Bivand Erdal: "Polish migration within Europe: mobility, transnationalism and integration"
Polish migration within Europe is by now a well-researched field, with a growing number of scholars exploring a variety of its features across different disciplines and geographic locations. A decade on from Poland's EU accession and the ensuing free mobility which led to large-scale migration, we seek to take stock of directions and developments in the field of research on Polish intra-European migration. Since 2004, much research has examined the reasons for the large scale of Polish migration post-2004; explored individual strategies of specific migrant sub-groups; as well as investigated the impact of sudden large-scale inflows on host societies. More recently, a shift has occurred in the academic focus, which has led to a greater emphasis on the impacts of migration experiences on perceptions and attitudes at the individual level, for migrants, and a growing interest in processes of change that shape social relations in the sending society. This recent scholarship focuses on more established Polish post-migration communities in Western Europe, including this population's continuing mobility, and acknowledges the influence of transnational ties and of integration – within both sending and receiving contexts. With this Special Issue, we seek to pay tribute to this on-going turn to processes of transnationalism and integration, and thus explore how Polish post-accession migrants straddle transnational ties with Poland and integration processes in a variety of European countries of settlement. We locate these explorations in the context of changing perspectives on mobility, transnationalism and settlement among Polish intra-European migrants, which are reflective of and contribute to conceptual debates about the nature and extent of interactions between integration and transnationalism. Two analytical dimensions of the present Polish intra-European migration flows are apparent in the collection of articles, that of proximity and of volume. We return to these as conceptual lenses below.