Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Dr Gabriella Elgenius

Gabriella Elgenius is an Associate Professor in Sociology (Docent/Reader) in the Department of Sociology and Work Science at the University of Gothenburg and an Associate Member of the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford. She received her doctorate at the London School of Economics as a Marie Curie Fellow in 2005, and later held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship from 2007 to 2011 at Nuffield College and the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford, where she worked from 2005 to 2014. She has also worked at Birkbeck College and SOAS at the University of London.

Gabriella's research focuses on political sociology, nationalism and integration within the following fields: Polish migration, diaspora mobilisation and civil society; socio-political integration and the role of ethnic bonding and bridging social capital; polarisation and labour market integration; ethnic nationalism and the radical right. She uses comparative qualitative research approaches and mixed methods designs.

Diaspora Division and Civil Society Trajectories: Social Solidarity and Mechanisms of Internal Exclusion in the Polish Diaspora pre- and post-Brexit (and post-Polish elections)

This project investigates the seemingly contradictory processes of social solidarity and division within diaspora civil societies, taking the Polish civil society process in the UK as a case in point. The aim is to contribute towards explanations as to how and why diaspora civil societies develop the way they do, through what mechanisms and under what conditions. The Polish civil society process has developed with nationalism as a basis for social solidarity and through internal division of different generations of Polish migrants. Significantly, internal division has produced a unique civil society trajectory (since WW2) through which mechanisms of internal exclusion may be explored as dividing (rather than uniting) homing desires, the competition for status and opportunities for social resources (social capital), in the face of devaluation. The Polish civil society sphere is formed at the intersections of class, gender, nationality and migration. The discourse of nationalism, as one of social solidarity, stands in sharp contrast to findings of internal exclusion, yet enables the development of civil society. This project opens up for contributions towards contested concepts such as diaspora, community and social solidarity; for the exploration of the integrative potential of the ethnic bonding of social capital; and to analyses of how Brexit has compounded or bridged internal cleavages and influenced the Polish civil society trajectory. With reference to the Polish civil society (solidarity and volunteering) in the UK in the post-Brexit era, such analyses take the implications of contemporary Polish politics on the Polish diaspora into consideration. (see Elgenius 2017; forthcoming)