The Role of Socialization Agents in Transnational transitions and Formation of Sense of Belonging of Migrant Children in Poland [CHILDTRAN]

Project leader: Anzhela Popyk

Supervisor: Dr Paula Pustułka

Project description:

An increasing number of immigrant children in Polish schools influences the ethnic composition of the classes. That makes the Ministry of National Education to revise the National Curriculum and include a specific information on educating foreigners in schools. Various scholars hitherto have been carrying out research aimed to present the way of how the Ministry of Education, schools or pedagogues cope with the changing situation (e.g. Górny et al., 2007; Grzymała-Moszczyńska et al., 2015). Thus far, greater research impact has been placed rather on Polish children abroad (see Slany and Strzemecka, 2016), and fewer studies have engaged with the processes of transnational transitions and the formation of the sense of belonging among immigrant children in Poland. Moreover, even less attention has been paid to the socialization agents of the migrant kids and their role in the transnational migration process and transnational practices (see Trabka 2014).

Transnational practices take place within two or more transnational social and geographical fields. As everyday activities, transnational practices influence the experiences of the migrant children and their families, that consequently has an impact on the formation of their sense of identity and belonging (Wodak and Krzyżanowski, 2007; Cuervo and Wyn, 2017; Halse, 2018). Moreover, the transnational transitions (Pustułka and Trąbka, 2019) of the young movers are determined by the socialization agents on three levels: micro, meso and macro (Popyk et al., 2019).

Project aims:

The main aim of the research project id to study the paths and characteristics of transnational transitions (Pustułka and Trąbka, 2019) of migrant children in Poland. The general aim is to study the migrant children’s experiences of cross-border migration. To research the transnational transitions, the project will study the role of key socialization agents, e.g. institutions, people, who influence the formation of sense of belonging of foreign-born children.

The research questions re divided as follows:

RQ1: (main research question) what are the paths/characteristics of transnational transitions of migrant children in Poland?

RQ:2 what/who are the key socialization agents of migrant children in Poland?

RQ:3 what is the role of parents/kins/teachers and peers/friends in transnational transitions and formation of sense of belonging of migrant children in Poland?

Additional aim of the research is to study the transnational transitions of migrant children during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The doctoral thesis is based on the Mosaic approach, developed by Clark and Moss (2001). The approach combines a number of methods for doing a research with children, and highlights the child-centered approach in the sociological studies.

Qualitative research methods are used in the project. Research techniques, chosen for the study, are primarily semi-structured interviews. The research consists of three modules conducted simultaneously: viz interviews with migrant children (20), their parents(20) and teachers (10).

The interviews were held in March – July 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown, using online tools, Skype and Zoom.

The research project is financed by the National Science Center (grant PRELUDIUM 18, nr 2019/35/N/HS6/03682) Social Science Department funds of  USWPS, (nr SUB/INS/2019/24)