Lived diversities of conditional citizens
: Poles’ encounters with difference in Britain

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis explores everyday encounters with difference of post-accession Polish citizens living in Britain. Based on ten months of ethnographic fieldwork combined with in-depth interviews, the research explores the complexities of Poles’ everyday practices with cultural others that reflect their understandings of racial, ethnic and religious diversity in the British context. The research aims to offer both methodological and conceptual contributions to the current literature on lived diversities. By applying an original methodological approach of ‘go-along’ observations, i.e. tracing individuals’ practices across various social settings throughout their everyday routines, the research engages with
the concepts of everyday cosmopolitanism, conviviality, civility towards difference and everyday racism. The thesis elaborates on these concepts as contradictory practices expressed by the same individuals depending on their social contexts. Thus, it argues that these strategies are what people
do rather than what they are, emphasizing the ambivalent character of everyday negotiations of difference. Moreover, the research situates these complex practices within the broader context of national policies and discourses which construct racial, ethnic and religious difference. By exploring lived diversities through the lens of Poles’ status as conditional citizens, this thesis investigates how Polish citizens demonstrate both strategies of inclusion and exclusion in their everyday practices. These, as I argue, represent their ambivalent status which is internalized by Poles who describe themselves as guests in Britain and who negotiate an enhanced status as ‘good guests’ through practices of stigmatizing others and performing multicultural competence. The research seeks to contribute to the current literature on lived diversities by contextualizing everyday experiences with cultural others within national contexts that construct complex hierarchies of belonging.
Date of Award25 Sep 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJon E Fox (Supervisor) & Therese O'Toole (Supervisor)

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