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Three stages of migration: a life course perspective on the Czech and Slovak female migration to the UK between 1989-2004.

Zajacova, Katarina (2020) Three stages of migration: a life course perspective on the Czech and Slovak female migration to the UK between 1989-2004. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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This study explores three stages of migration of Czech and Slovak women who migrated to Britain between 1989 and 2004 to first work as au-pairs and later settled in the UK. It investigates their migration journeys through qualitative life-course interviews and examines the gendered nature of their motivations, their experiences of the migration process and their approach to integration, intertwined with their perpetually evolving sense of belonging. Conceptually the study is informed by Boyd and Grieco’s (2003) theoretical framework of temporal analysis of migration stages combined with intersectional insight and the theory of structuration. This theoretical combination acknowledges the interconnection of gender with several other social categories (such as class, nationality and race) that shaped individual migrants’ journeys, whilst it was equally able to recognise the impact of macro level forces on women’s choices and their continuous effort to be accepted as a fully recognised member of the host society. Some of the core concepts that arose from the interviews include the gendered nature of migrant domestic work, particularly in relation to ambiguity surrounding the au-pair scheme that resulted in a significant disparity between migrants’ and host families’ expectations of what au-pairs should do. The study also found that both the attitudes of migrants towards the home population and their understanding of how they were received by the British population were directly linked to the concept of gender, race and national stereotyping. The analysis suggests that these women’s motivations were affected by challenges of the post-communist transition period in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It also discovered that migrants’ pre-conceived expectations of Britain as mostly white and middle-class society were met with starkly different complex reality of a multicultural and a class divided Britain. The findings show some evidence that the women utilised their gender and race to negotiate their initially unfavourable societal position in order to gradually improve their social capital, whilst the intersection of their nationality and class created specific barriers that hindered their original ambitions to pursue further education in the UK.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Zajacova, Katarina
Date : 29 May 2020
Funders : Katarina Zajacova
DOI : 10.15126/thesis.00856374
Contributors :
Depositing User : Katarina Zajacova
Date Deposited : 09 Jul 2020 07:21
Last Modified : 09 Jul 2020 07:22

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