Where to meet?

Clarion Congress & Hotel, Cosmos 3A


Sylwia Urbańska

Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw

e-mail: urbanskas@is.uw.edu.pl

Topic: When traditional rural communities meet the postmodern family. Role of (im)mobilities in the rural family changes in Poland 1989-2019.

Keywords: rural communities, migration/(im)mobility; gender, class and social change; traditional vs. postmodern families, Poland


The aim of the presentation will be to answer the question, in what relations do migrations/(im)mobilities to the changes of the traditional rural family remain? How is the decision about migration present in the individual and collective strategies (such as divorce, cohabitation, other intimate life models) of the rural residents? Is the greater possibility of migration from Central and Eastern Europ after the fall of socialism and the drainage of the mass of the workforce open the possibility of changing the gendered moral regimes in villages, or, on the contrary, it causes its retraditionalization in the sphere of gender and family relations. In order to answer the questions, I will look at those individuals and groups who solve family dilemmas with the help of migration/(im)mobility, as well as with those who, despite problems and pressures, decided to stay. What is the gender and class dimension involved in this process? What is the impact of migration/(im)mobility processes, and how can we explain their contribution to the emergence of diversity in rural moral orders?

The analysis is derived from two various qualitative research. The first research I conducted in rural areas of Eastern Poland and in Polish migrant communities in Belgium in the period of 2005-2010. I was analyzing experiences of transnational family life of Polish women workers (carers, cleaners), who came to Belgium mostly from rural areas (54 IDI). At that time, I focused on studying the relationship between migration and the transformation of rural families since the fall of socialistic system in Poland. The second project, which is ongoing since 2017, is an attempt to identify and explain whether and how the patterns of family relationships and gender roles in rural families (20 IDI) are negotiated in Polish traditional communities. How are the tensions between traditional norms and post-modern patterns being solved? Especially in the context of the multi-dimensional transformation of rural areas, and the broader transformation of the family after 1989’s political changes in Poland. Both studies that combine biographical and ethnographical methods resulted with interesting findings about relations between migration/(im)mobility and social changes in rural communities.

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