Migrants from a European Country? The Influence of European Citizenship on the Situation of Polish Domestic Workers in Madrid
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In the context of the contemporary shifts of the external borders and internal boundaries of the European Union, this thesis explores the specific issues related to the re-definition of the long-established migrant status of Central and Eastern Europeans as new mobile European citizens. The central research question relates to the effects of the acquisition of European citizen status on the position of Polish female domestic workers in Spain, which implies an analysis of their social location as defined in terms of gender, class, ethnicity, nationality, and citizenship in the context of such a change. This thesis analyzes the complicated relation of Central and Eastern Europe to the rest of Europe, the political, economic, and discursive divisions of the continent, as well as its history of East-West migrations with reference to the complexities of Eastern European whiteness in the context of multiethnic societies. These issues are further articulated with the “global hierarchies of womanhood” in terms of race/ethnicity, class, and nationality in the framework of the traditional employment of Eastern European women as domestic workers in countries of Western Europe. In order to fully account for these issues, intersectional perspective is adopted, as a way to analyze such complex and shifting positionalities. The empirical basis for the thesis is provided by a set of interviews conducted with Polish domestic workers in Madrid. The analysis of the interviews explores issues related to migration motivation, labor market situation, perceptions of self and others in ethnic terms, and the transcendence of the status of European citizen in this context.