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SAST — Result In Brief

Project ID: 331421
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: United Kingdom

How migrants integrate and adapt in transnational social spaces

EU-funded research has advanced a novel approach to migration studies with the development and application of a theory of social anchoring. The work helps link integration and identity problems for individuals in a contemporary super diverse and mobile society.
How migrants integrate and adapt in transnational social spaces
The project SAST (Social anchoring in superdiverse transnational social spaces) defined social anchoring as the process of finding footholds that enable migrants to establish their psycho-sociological stability and function in a new country.

It worked to develop a multidimensional methodological approach and tools suited to studying social anchoring. Another objective was to identify types of anchors and determine anchoring mechanisms that migrants use. Research also focused on how migrants use their identity as a resource to integrate into a host society and adapt to transnational social fields.

Researchers conducted fieldwork to build their concept. A total of 80 individual in-depth interviews and questionnaires were carried out, equally split across two groups: post-accession Polish immigrants in the United Kingdom and post-2004 Ukrainian immigrants in Poland. The team also analysed samples of online texts, 'unguided' narratives, by Polish and Ukrainian migrants to examine the processes of anchoring.

The study confirmed the crucial importance of stability and security in migrants' perception and their various attempts to establish life footholds in new societies. The accounts of the migrants studied showed that successful integration depends very much on an open attitude, motivation to learn and change, activity in making use of opportunities and potential social connections which are available.

Content analysis identified 12 main types of anchors used by the group of Polish migrants, half contributing to maintaining Polish identity and ethnic ties and half facilitating their integration. The Ukrainian migrants were found to be generally less settled, and more mobile and involved in transnational processes. They belonged to broader social networks, and similar language and culture afforded more of a feeling of familiarity, facilitating also contact with Polish society.

Project work highlighted five significant features of anchoring. The first four cover its multidimensionality and unevenness, that it should be seen as a non-static process, the phenomenon of disconnecting from previous anchors, and the transnational character of anchoring. The fifth feature highlights the potential for social anchoring to be used both for further research with different migrant groups and to develop practical applications supporting migrant adaptation and integration.

SAST thus succeeded in providing a comprehensive new approach to studying problems of identity, integration and adaptation to transnational spaces.

Related information


Migrants, transnational, social spaces, social anchoring, integration, identity, SAST
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