Polish migrant women’s narratives about language, racialised and gendered difference in Barcelona

Alina Rzepnikowska-Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The European Union expansion in 2004 resulted in significant changes in migration in Europe. For Spain, which did not open its labour market to the new accession countries until 2006, the extent of Polish migration has been substantially smaller than in countries like Britain. Hence, little scholarly attention has been paid to the experiences of Polish migrants in the Iberian Peninsula. Compared to other European cities, the case of Barcelona is significant, especially in terms of cultural diversity, Catalan identity and bilingual status, something that the newcomers are often unaware of. By drawing on the conceptual framework of conviviality and on data gathered through participant observation, narrative interviews and a focus group conducted with Polish women in Barcelona, this article concentrates on various forms of encounters with the local population. It argues that race, ethnicity, gender, language and spatiality are important factors influencing convivial relations. It contributes to the existing literature by exploring various forms and degrees of conviviality discussed as situated, not necessarily free from tensions and racialised and gendered perceptions of the Other.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Early online date14 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Polish migrant women
  • situated conviviality
  • Language
  • race
  • gender


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