The figure of the Polish plumber or builder has long been a well-established icon of the British national imagination, uncovering the UK's collective unease with immigration from Central and Eastern Europe. But despite the powerful impact the UK's second largest language group has had on their host country's culture and populist politics, very little is known about its members.
This painstakingly researched book offers a wide perspective on Polish migrants in the UK, taking into account the interactions between Poles and British society through discursive actions, policies, family connections, transnational networks, and political engagement of the diaspora. Borne out of a decade of ethnographic studies among various communities of Polish nationals living in London, Micha? P. Garapich documents the changes that affect both Polish migrants and British society. Arguing that neither group can be fully understood in isolation, it explores the complexity of Polish ethnicity and offers an insight into the inner tensions and struggles within what the public and scholars often assume to be a uniform and homogeneous category. From Polish financial sector workers to the Polish homeless population, this groundbreaking book offers an ethnographic, street-level account of cultural and social determinants of Polish migration and how Polish migrants redefine and reconstruct their understanding of class and ethnicity on a daily basis.