Everyday negotiations of in/securities and risks: an ethnographic study amongst Czech- and Slovak-speaking migrants in Glasgow

Guma, Taulant (2015) Everyday negotiations of in/securities and risks: an ethnographic study amongst Czech- and Slovak-speaking migrants in Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The post-accession migration to the UK from the eight Central and Eastern European countries that joined the European Union in 2004 has attracted a significant amount of attention in public discourse as well as from scholars and policy-makers. On the one hand, these migrants are praised for their contributions to the local or national economy, for their work ethic and self-reliance as mostly young and well-educated labour migrants; on the other hand, post-enlargement migration is depicted as a threat to local public services and the British welfare system, or to British society more generally. Our knowledge about the 'new European migrants' in the UK, however, is limited in so far as the existing literature tends to adopt these interests and perspectives of the 'host society' or analyse migrants' experiences through an ethnic lens. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted over a twelve-month period, this thesis provides an empirically-grounded, contextually rich and theoretically informed understanding of how Czech- and Slovak-speaking migrants who arrived in Glasgow after 2004 negotiate insecurities and risks and build social security in their everyday lives in the city. The thesis offers novel insights and contributes to existing theoretical, methodological, and empirical research on the nexus of (post-accession) migration, social security, and risk. Methodologically, by focusing on a language-based group across ethnic, national, and cultural boundaries and by analytically probing the heterogeneity of the research group, the study challenges simplistic generalisations and the uncritical adoption of ethnocentric concepts and ideas. Each of the empirically-driven chapters develops both the theoretical and empirical argument in its own right, exploring, for example, the various processes through which a 'risk population' was produced in the field; my informants' notion of zkancelovali with regard to state-provided support in Glasgow; the significance of past experiences and everyday knowledges in negotiations of risk and in/securities; or the notion of 'exploring potentialities of care' in Glasgow and beyond. Theoretically, the thesis fruitfully integrates socio-cultural concepts of risk with an anthropological reconceptualisation of social security and refines these in relation to migrants' lived experiences. Overall, this ethnographic study argues for the value of shifting our gaze from a sole focus on migrants as research objects to wider processes and contexts in which migrants' specific meaning-making activities and everyday practices of negotiating in/securities and risks are situated and embedded.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: migration, risk, social security, everyday life, boundary-making, Roma, informal/formal support, transnational care, language-based group, EU, UK
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Kay, Prof Rebecca and Flynn, Dr Moya and Gibb, Dr Robert and Thornley, Dr Edelweisse
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Mr Taulant Guma
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6315
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 May 2015 08:36
Last Modified: 08 May 2015 15:16
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6315

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