Downward professional mobility among Poles working and living in Norway
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Original versionPrzybyszewska, A. (2020). Downward professional mobility among Poles working and living in Norway (PhD thesis). Nord University.
This thesis uncovers the logic, dynamics, and meaning-making that underlie the downward professional mobility of Polish migrants in Norway. Drawing on data analysis of 30 qualitative interviews conducted with Poles working below their level of qualification in Norway, the study answers the following research question: How do Polish migrants perceive and respond to their downward professional mobility in the Norwegian labour market? The study finds that perceptions of and responses to underemployment intersected with migration are strongly marked by national identity, with Polish migrants’ positionality occupying an unfavourable position within the field of national hierarchies. I argue that the national component of migrants’ habitus drives them into specific, low-skilled jobs, which they perceive as available to Polish migrants in Norway. Simultaneously, Polish migrants are highly aware of being discriminated against and racialised in the job-seeking process in Norway (article 1). The majority of migrants begin their professional careers in Norway in immigrant niches. The study demonstrates that working in or beyond the immigrant niche has a crucial impact on migrants’ adaptation capacities (article 3). By analysing the psychosocial burdens and sociocultural mismatches related to underemployment and migration (article 2), the thesis reveals and emphasises the human side of the experiences related to downward professional mobility. I bridge Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field with hierarchies of desirability of national migrant groups to conceptualise the transnational field of national hierarchies (article 1). Furthermore, I develop the notion of habitus mismatch to conceptualise the conflict between valued and stigmatised identities, and the emotional dimension of this conflict (article 2). I also propose the notion of cultural distrust to address the process whereby multiple cultural misunderstandings lead to migrants’ distrust towards the host community members (article 3).
Doctoral thesis (PhD) – Nord University, 2020
Has partsPaper I: Przybyszewska, A. (2021). Downward Professional Mobility among Poles Working and Living in Norway. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 11(1), 35–49. doi: 10.33134/njmr.377. Full text not available in Nord Open
Paper II: Przybyszewska, A. (2020). Habitus mismatch and suffering experienced by Polish migrants working below their qualification level in Norway. Central and Eastern European Migration Review, 9(2), 71-88. doi: 10.17467/ceemr.2020.13. The article is available at https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2731411
Paper III: Przybyszewska, A. (2022). Downward professional mobility, cultural difference and immigrant niches: dynamics of and changes to migrants’ attitudes towards interpersonal communication and work performance. European Journal of Cultural Studies. doi: 10.1177/13675494221074712. Full text not available in Nord Open