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Ethnicity maintenance : its contingent nature and impact on health : case studies of second generation Poles in the West Midlands (UK) and South Michigan (US)

By Teresa Agnes Staniewicz

Abstract

OBJECTIVES\ud My topic of research is a comparative study of ethnicity and (selected) health\ud patterns among second generation Poles (and to a lesser extent, first generation\ud Poles), looked at by means of two case studies, one in the UK and one in the\ud USA. I examine the level of ethnicity (cultural) maintenance in a white -\ud assumed assimilated - minority ethnic group in two specific geographic\ud locations and therefore the context specific nature of ethnicity maintenance.\ud I also examine whether it is possible to assess the impact of such maintenance on\ud their personal health, well-being, and quality of life.\ud METHODS\ud My research design includes a (smaller, post WWII) selection of first generation\ud UK and USA Polish respondents who act as point of reference, and allow me to\ud define within this study, the parameters of the cultural 'nuances' in question. My\ud design allows for the assessment of any evidence of ethnic self-identity and a\ud common sub-cultural identity, as well as any differences between the two groups\ud of respondents in relation to their respective degrees of co-operation, and\ud accommodation problems, with host groups.\ud The collection of data is operationalized via multiple methods, including\ud questionnaires. I employ the use of qualitative, quantitative, and ethnographic\ud elements, thus allowing for multidimensional analysis of selected issues.\ud Comparisons are made with extant data from both the host ( indigenous)\ud communities.\ud RESULTS/CONCLUSION\ud Empirical results bore out variations in the degree of maintained ethnic lifestyles,\ud across a range of social groups. Some of the differences can be explained by the\ud different environments (UK and USA), as well as the diasporic nature of the first\ud generation's immigration experiences. Qualitative and ethnographic evidence\ud was found to be crucial in explaining the various affective ethnic nuances that\ud quantitative methods are unable to reveal, such as the pervasive impact that the\ud first generation's diasporic experiences, as well as the nature of the Polish exiled\ud community, have had on the second generation, both in the UK and the USA,\ud and their respective qualities of life. This study has indicated that maintaining\ud one's ethnic roots can for these individuals be just as problematic, although in\ud differing ways, as for members of non-white ethnic minorities

Topics: GN, HM
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:4179

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