Liquid migration, grounded lives: considerations about future mobility and settlement among Polish and Spanish migrants in Norway

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Bygnes, Susanne & Marta Bivand Erdal (2016) Liquid migration, grounded lives: considerations about future mobility and settlement among Polish and Spanish migrants in Norway, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2016.1211004 .

​The 2004 EU extension and the 2008 financial crisis triggered new migration flows within Europe, and subsequent debates about what the novelty of these migration flows consists of. We draw on adult Polish and Spanish migrants’ in Norway’s considerations about future mobility and settlement, and explore how these situate themselves in relation to conceptualisations of intra-European migration as ‘liquid’. Family concerns, economic factors and working life conditions in countries of origin appear as significant in migrants’ reflections about the future. This seems to contrast with conceptualisations of intra-European migration as ‘liquid’ in the sense of increasing individualisation, lifestyles of mobility and a migrant habitus. Rather a ‘normal life’ is emphasised by migrants’ underscoring desires to lead more grounded lives, under less ‘liquid’ conditions. Migrants’ already established lives in Norway, together with deregulated labour markets in Poland and Spain, are experienced as reasons not to return. Migrants’ considerations about the future suggest that key characteristics of South–North and East–West intra-European migration flows to Norway, appear to be converging: with a trend of transition to longer-term settlement and a wish for more grounded lives, where dignity is central and ongoing mobility is less prominent.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369183X.2016.1211004