‘We Inspire Each Other, Subconsciously’: The Circulation of Attitudes towards Difference between Polish Migrants in the UK and their Significant Others in the Sending Society

Gawlewicz, Anna (2015). ‘We Inspire Each Other, Subconsciously’: The Circulation of Attitudes towards Difference between Polish Migrants in the UK and their Significant Others in the Sending Society. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(13) pp. 2215–2234.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2015.1045463

Abstract

In this article, I explore how attitudes towards difference in terms of ethnicity, religion, sexuality and gender travel between Polish migrants to the UK and their significant others in Poland. In doing so, I bring together and critically engage with two disparate literatures—on social remittances and family and peer transmission of attitudes. I demonstrate that what occurs between Polish migrants and their non-migrant significant others is a complex process in which favourable and prejudiced attitudes are passed on, challenged, rejected or negotiated. While I stress that both migrants and non-migrants influence each other’s perceptions of difference, I show that non-migrants are more likely to assume the ‘correctness’ of migrant’s attitudes due to the construction of migrants as trusted experts. Acknowledging the multidimensionality and simultaneity of such mutual influences, in the article, I call for the use of the term ‘circulation’ to describe the mobility of ideas, values and attitudes between people and places.

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