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Comparing life trajectories and adaptive strategies of Ukrainian and Vietnamese female immigrants in Poland Weronika Kloc-Nowak, CEFMR, Poland 8th European.

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Presentation on theme: "Comparing life trajectories and adaptive strategies of Ukrainian and Vietnamese female immigrants in Poland Weronika Kloc-Nowak, CEFMR, Poland 8th European."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comparing life trajectories and adaptive strategies of Ukrainian and Vietnamese female immigrants in Poland Weronika Kloc-Nowak, CEFMR, Poland 8th European Sociological Association Conference Glasgow, 5th September 2007

2 Acknowledgements: FEMAGE – Need for Female Immigrants and Their Integration in Aging Societies funded through EC 6 th Framework Programme. Prof. Charlotte Hoehn (BiB, Germany) - Project Co-ordinator Dr Attila Melegh (DRI, Hungarian Central Statistical Institute) - the narrative interviews methodology design. Izabela Koryś (CEFMR) coordinated the interviewing and led the analysis in Poland, especially in the Vietnamese part.

3 3 Plan of the presentation 1.About the research 2.Motives for migration 3.Strategies employed 4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

4 4 Aims of the research to compare and contrast the migratory experience of female immigrants from Ukraine and from Vietnam who settled in Poland to identify the factors influencing the female migratory experience in the life course perspective to investigate the degree of social and economic integration available to settled female immigrants to identify the needs and attitudes concerning integration into the host society to be responded by policy means to assess the future of immigrants (stay, return, further migration) in the context of their stories and future aging 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

5 5 Data on the immigrant groups Ukrainians – the largest immigrant group residence permits up to present each year at peak (est.) feminisation (2/3) due to mixed marriages largest share among foreign students and workers best suited for integration? Vietnamese – the unique immigrant community 1876 residence permits at peak, now ca (est.) ethnic niche: trade business concentration and segregation 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

6 6 Hypotheses on migration patterns Ukrainians migration was easy, and cheap – massive, available to individuals post-Soviet society – broken ties, weak families historical and family ties across the border (ethnic minorities) cultural proximity, invisibility, ability to assimilate Vietnamese migration was expensive, difficult, often illegal – family resources and channels Confucian values, strong clan and family ties – cooperation, collective strategies cultural and physical distinctiveness, fear of racist attacks, segregation 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

7 7 Selection of interviewees Long term documented 1st generation migrants (1989 onwards, 3 years, residence permit) Variety of age (20-34, 35-49, 50+) Variety of social and economic status Vietnamese (15): recruited through an insider, only in Warsaw, only through personal ties, interviewed in Vietnamese Ukrainians (16): recruited through Greek-Orthodox parishes, Internet, NGOs, employers, media (celebrities), in Warsaw and 3 peripherical regions, interviewed in Polish 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

8 8 Narrative interview Based on biographic-interpretive method (BIM) by Fischer-Rosenthal and Rosenthal (Rosenthal 1996, Wengraf 2001), analysis of the told story and lived life. Modified for FEMAGE by Melegh, stress on lifecourse. 1. opening unit: Question: We are interested in the migration of women. Could you please tell the history of how you got here. Result: a passage of her story, uninterrupted, she decides the end. 2. catching the threads: Questions posed only in reference to the events mentioned, starting from the earliest ones, words of the interviewee. Result: filling in missing parts in her lifestory, biography reconstruction. 3. untouched aspects: family, work, legalisation 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

9 9 Analysis of the narratives 1.Reconstruction of the biography Events in chronological order. (1 person, interviewer) 2. Questionning the biography development Predicting (alternative) scenarios, producing hypotheses on active forces in her life. (team) 3. Identification of major turning points, driving engines. 4. Gendered aspects Presentation of herself as a woman, her attitudes and choices in typical gendered moments. 5. Discourse active/passive self-presentation, dichotomies About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

10 10 Motivations for migration 1. Generally speaking, a woman has two reasons: life and family – marriage and family reasons Marital migration (both) Family reunion (Vietnamese) Turning temporary to settlement due to a Polish parter (Ukrainian) Migration as reaction to personal trauma (both) eg: In Vietnam these love affairs are not considered as in the West - this means in the West its pretty normal, isnt it? But in Vietnam theres something wrong about it – of course not for me myself – but in general this is not good – since you loose anyhow – your students disrespect you thats why I had to leave. VN16 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

11 11 2. Everyone else goes abroad… – labour or welfare migration Looking for better income and standard of living (both nationalities) First my husband came to work here and I came to visit him (…) three months after my arrival I started to trade – and – the first day I noticed that there could be profits out of it. VN2 I could only afford to buy a handbag or a lipstick in a month. To buy a pair of shoes I had to save my salary for four months. U9 Unemployment (Ukrainian, young Vietnamese) Then there was such a situation, that there was unemployment, there was an unemployment benefit. The benefit in the beginning was quite good, as I had been earning good money at school [the benefit was first equal to the lost salary] and then less, and less, and less, and then appeared the question what [to do?]. In the country, there was no work near by, further away – one didnt know. U10 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

12 12 3. An opportunity to study what I have always wanted – migration as a response to blocked upward social mobility in the country of origin Migration to study - Ukrainians Journalism was something I had dreamed of since a long time – and – in the university of [home town] there was no such faculty. There is one in the University of Lviv, but unfortunately – unfortunately I have to mention about the possibility of getting into a university. It is very difficult, I should say. A great role is played by money and personal contacts. None of them did my family possess so I chose a less ambitious faculty [philology at local university] but as the journalism was still somewhere inside me and, and I found such an opportunity to study what I have always wanted – in Poland. U13 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

13 13 3. migration as a response to blocked upward social mobility - cnt Labour migration due to failed entry exams - Vietnamese If you didnt graduate from a school and didnt find a job after the school, it was a complete unemployment and I would be an ordinary sales person – it would be very difficult. VN13 [After high school] I didnt get to the university – and I was left at home – and my friends – I had good friends – at these times many people failed the entry exams – in my times almost everybody – so – for some of them the families managed to find a placement, some were sent abroad – like me here – later when I was flying to Poland I saw that everyone has made it – succeeded – majority succeeded thanks to trade. VN4 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

14 14 Vietnamese trading strategy The path of development followed by the majority of interviewees: 1.investing ones savings into merchandise or taking some goods in commission from a wealthier trader. 2.selling them in a rented stall in the Stadion – an open air market place in the centre of Warsaw. 3.buying ones own stall/box and moving to a better part of the Stadion (from retailing to wholesale). 4.moving to the East Asian Commercial Centre (the China centre). The most successful one turned to: 5.large scale import from China. 6.ordering and importing own brands of clothing. 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

15 15 Vietnamese trading cnt 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions Photo: Bożena Navicka

16 16 Vietnamese trading cnt 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions Photo: EACC materials

17 17 Vietnamese trading cnt Problems: [In the Stadion] we had cool heads – we didnt need to worry about imported goods – we did not import anything, we did not think, but the life was very hard. You see, we needed to worry about caring goods, about everything but it was a physical, not an intellectual difficulty. Now its much easier physically because I dont need to drag heavy packages myself as I employ Polish workers to do so, but the whole day I need to think, to account so therell be some commodities, therell be some money, therell be some profits…VN9 effort, extermely long hours, monotony & routine risk of being arrested for tax/duty offence organising child care in unusual hours 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

18 18 Ukrainians: variety of jobs Casual jobs Cleaners, child minders, elderly carers Frequent changes, abandoning jobs My studies: I had such a need to go out, sit in a library, get a book. They were paying me quite well, so I could by these books, but I needed company. I realised that it was very hard to live among Poles all the time, because I had no Ukrainians near me. (...) The girl was very sad when I as leaving, she was crying and couldnt understand. U9 Full time professionals – mostly teachers The situation was such that there were only two English philologists in X, two persons who were able to translate in our big town. People made a lot of demands on me: this school offered me hours, that school, the company. People who had some private companies asked,- asked me to call somebody in the USA at midnight, because it is a different time zone and so on. At first they tried to exploit me, but then I didnt allow for it. U15 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

19 19 Exceptions An Ukrainian Vietnamese – selling textiles In [the town X] I met an Ukrainian, I thought that he would help me, simply as another person to ask, and he made me run away from that town. Why? Competition. U17 Am I a president or a company or who am I? A prole. Like a horse.(…) I carry the burden, not my employees, me. U17 A Vietnamese intermediator a Poles wife, tried many professions, runs legal and accounting advising company When I opened this accounting company – it was mostly to serve to the Vietnamese – but besides it serves others, mostly my friends get clients for me, one tells to another – Ukrainians, Russians, English, these are all friends – I have this big advantage from my husbands side – his friends – thanks to which, thanks to which my contacts are wider, this is my advantage. VN14 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

20 20 Family strategies 1.Ethnicly mixed marriages (Ukrainians, one Vietnamese) 2.Ethnic (in-group) marriages (Vietnamese, two Ukrainians) 3.Single (Ukrainians, one Vietnamese) Yet, if I continue my studies and start a family here - - I would like him [i.e. her future husband] the most to be an Ukrainian. I mean it doesnt matter to me if he is from the Action Vistula [member of the Ukrainian minority living in Poland], or an Ukrainian from Ukraine, or an Ukrainian who came and settled here, that wouldnt matter to me. I would only like him to be Ukrainian, so that - we wouldnt have conflicts on the matters of religion, Church, upbringing of children, he would have to speak Ukrainian apart from Polish, then I would 100% sure stay in Poland. U8 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

21 21 Negative opinions about mixed marriages I saw among my friends Vietnamese who married Polish women – they are young people - but majority of them - regrets. VN10 100% of men, who have Polish wives have also extramarital relationships with Vietnamese women. VN13 [It is hard for a foreign woman to survive alone] unless you get married – then youre oppressed by the husband, an alcoholic, a miser or some other moron. It is rare that one marries a normal man - U17 Hypothesis: Poor quality of partners available to immigrant women, Bad experience from bogus marriages 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

22 22 Mothering - strategies Ukrainians -limiting economic activity due to parenthood (not only for maternity leave) -bearing children when one doesnt have right to work yet Vietnamese -providing children with financial means, mostly for education -delegating upbringing tasks on hired persons or institutions -leaving children with relatives in the host country 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

23 23 Trajectories 1. Ripening – gradual development (both, more Vietnamese) [Vietnamese] aim higher and higher, diligent and hard-working, having lofty aspirations and climbing upward, as this is an only way leading to a success. VN 6 2. Starting from scratch – crisis and recovery trajectory (both) And I gave my first concert, it was the first concert, I wanted to do it in the underground passage [where she trades] as I was born again [starting to recite her poem]: I was born again in the beautiful town G. here I found my luck, while I was in a trap, I found peace next to anxiety, my sweet joy fights with bitter toil. U17 (translation by WKN) 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

24 24 3. There was no single moment that I would be happy that I live in Poland – subjugation and degradation scenarios (both) Trading, I forget about many things so Im robbed or I forget to charge, that is when I sell I happen to forget to take money from clients, you know its my head, I cant concentrate, I dont have a gift for it.(...) frankly speaking I dont like it now and I never did – I compelled myself to trade since we need some money apart my husbands wage to afford some food and clothes. VN5 4. Life has its own scenarios – stories of prolonged temporality And now after the studies I didnt know if- because: I, I am not sure if I want to come back home, kind of I still dont have this certainty where I will stay. (...) Thats why I wanted to study and long I couldnt make my mind what faculty, I thought I will take psychology, as I had wanted to [before], so I would try for the third time. U8 I do not really know what to do with it right now. I am not a pedagogue. I am neither a religious instruction teacher, nor a pedagogue, nor anything. In general everything, in practice nothing. U9 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

25 25 Conclusions Motivations Viet: family reunification, family welfare, independence Ukr: studies, labour, joining the Polish partner Economic strategies Viet: trade in ethnic niche – profitable, high personal cost Ukr: limiting ec. activity or full time at primary labour market Family strategies Viet: in-group marriages, child care delegated outside Ukr: mixed marriages, many singles, own child care 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions

26 26 Further research questions Channels Very positive effects of institutionalised channels for Ukrainians (regional cooperation)! Other such formal channels? Purposeful isolation Uneasy company of Poles as a reason for avoiding primary labour market, Vietnamese 1.5 generation reluctant to integrate. Why? Secondary marital market In both groups negative opinions on mixed marriages – based on bogus marriages? Quality of partners available to immigrant women! Secondary education market Illusion of higher education value when it was primarly a means for legal residence? Information on labour market needed! 1. About the research 2.Motives 3.Strategies employed4.Trajectories 5.Conclusions


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