From nowhere to now-here: online and offline belonging identity negotiations of millennial Poles in Glasgow, Scotland

Uflewska, Agnieszka Katarzyna (2018) From nowhere to now-here: online and offline belonging identity negotiations of millennial Poles in Glasgow, Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis addresses a combination of offline and online factors influencing negotiations of a belonging identity among millennials. Born between mid-1980s and 1990s, the millennials constitute the first generation to negotiate their belonging identity amidst local and internet mediated social interactions (Howe & Strauss 2000: 4). Drawing on the experiences of 46 millennial Poles located in Glasgow, Scotland, and using a mixture of social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner 1979), symbolic interactionism (Cooley 2005; Mead 1982; 1967; Goffman 1959) and postmodern interpretations (Bauman 2011; 2007; 2004a; 2004b), I examine the millennials’ experiences in negotiating their belonging identity across virtual and real-life locations by applying a qualitative and culturally tailored methodology, including semi-structured, open-ended interviews. The key research questions address the nature, process, and challenges inherent in negotiations of belonging identity, including the manner millennial Poles in Glasgow experience the contemporary multicultural and multilocal environments. The data is analyzed according to the emerging themes, such as the role of family and education system in Poland, as well as the impact of online interactions that enhance and broaden the belonging identity negotiation. Particularly, the digital (hyperlocal) dimension points to the emergence of a novel type of time-bound belonging, a now-here identity, which stands in a stark contrast to the previous, spatially-based conceptualizations, including that of the nowhere belonging of Bauman (2007; 2004b).

Additionally, the thesis challenges the dominant metanarrative of ‘migrant’, it being the omnipresent stigmatizing moniker for non-citizen residents. Applying an intersectional perspective (Crenshaw 1989; 1991; Collins 2015; 1990; 1986), the research exposes in particular the ethnic and class discrimination encoded into the word ‘migrant’, with its connotations of a lesser-value identity (Klekowski von Koppenfels 2014) and non-belonging. The research also enhances transnational, networks and mobilities theories by applying social identity theory and symbolic interactionism into analyses of experiences of migration, and thereby challenges the prevalent citizenship identity discourse by highlighting instead the diversity of multicultural and multilocal affiliations. In regards to methodological contributions, the research emphasizes the significance of culturally sensitive and individually tailored methodology that acknowledges cultural subjectivity and is aware of a variety of interpretations. The research advocates a development of non-discriminatory theoretical and methodological approaches that recognize ongoing social and cultural changes brought by digitalization of information and the emergence of multilocalities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Schweisfurth, Professor Michele and Odena, Doctor Oscar
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Agnieszka Katarzyna Uflewska
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30581
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2018 13:16
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2018 13:24
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30581

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