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Foreigners in Poland: The heterogeneity of large urban centres – A case study of Poznan


Research grant from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education no. N109 224836




Research team:

  • Michał Buchowski (PI)

  • Natalia Bloch

  • Agnieszka Chwieduk

  • Izabella Main

  • Jacek Schmidt

The objective of the project was to produce a microsocial analysis of the phenomenon of the cultural heterogeneity of large urban centers. The research investigated transnational migrants who came to Poland while maintaining regular contact with their country of origin and with relatives remaining there. This situation has become a source of growing social diversity and social mobility, as well as a source of transnational connections which then influence the current profile of large cities. The object of the study was to identify the extent of these phenomena and to analyze them. This research, based on an ethnographic approach, intends to show the extent to which those communities which are absent from public discourses cohabit with the dominant host society. The objective is to identify migrant groups’ strategies and practices of adaptation and to show how these groups in their everyday activities become part of the social and spatial urban environment. The presence of migrants inevitably leads to exogenous cultural change, since migrants not only adopt the host society’s models but also adapt and change those models. “Culture” is, after all, realized in everyday interactions. This therefore provides an opportunity to observe the cultural practices of people living in a shared social space – these practices are diverse, yet form a comprehensive social structure. Particular groups share a multitude of behavioral practices while at the same time, but to differing degrees, maintain a sense of their own separateness and autonomy. Such diversity of intercultural relations and behaviors is subject to constant changes. We hope that this research project will enable both the identification of the direction and dynamism of these changes and also the formulation of recommendations for social policy on local and national levels in Poland.


M. Buchowski, J. Schmidt (eds.). Migracje a heterogeniczność kulturowa. Na podstawie badań antropologicznych w Poznaniu [Foreigners in Poland: The heterogeneity of large urban centres – A case study of Poznan], Poznań: Wydawnictwo Nauka i Innowacje 2012. [link]

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