Religion versus Migration: the Determinants of Religiosity of Polish Immigrants in Ireland

Research Grant National Science Centre (nr 02985) launched in Februar 2018

This research project examines the transformation in religiosity of Polish immigrants living in Ireland. Since Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004 Ireland became a common destination country for Poles’ emigration driven by economic factors. In the beginning this post-accession migration had a temporal character. The passage of time has changed, however, the migration’s form into settlement. Currently the population of Polish nationals in Ireland is still numerous. According to Irish statistics there are over 170 thousand Polish immigrants of total population 4,750 thousand. They constitute the most numerous subpopulation among all immigrants. The rising immigration prompts a multidimensional social change in Ireland, where about 15% of total population are people born overseas.  The aforementioned project scope has been examined, so far, from the economy, political and legal points of view on migration. Furthermore a few researches explore some migration aspects of sociology of family and culture. Nevertheless there is a lack of studies indicating religious dimension of migration. That is why our research project will fulfil the knowledge gap while analysing a relevant scientific question what is an interrelation between migration process and religiosity of immigrants. Thus the scientific aim of the project is an analysis of the transformation in religiosity of Polish immigrants in Ireland and answering the question how significant for decision making and for mapping migration strategy religion is.  The contribution of the study is both theoretical, discussing  leading concepts from the field of sociology of religion and migration, and empirical, trying to identify transformation of migrants’ religion and importance of religiosity to the international migration. We assume therefore that with the extended migration stay Polish immigrants become weaker in religiosity because they submit to the process of secularisation that has already impacted the Irish society in the past decades. Moreover, we presuppose that, notwithstanding the similar religious profile of Poland and Ireland (for both a dominant religion denomination is Catholicism), the immigrants who’s religiosity index is high are less willing to assimilate into receiving country. The reasons behind this process can be the increasing differences between a Polish model of Catholicism (which is popular across the Polish chaplaincy in Ireland) and an Irish model of Catholicism that is common in the local English-speaking parishes. The immigrants practising in the Polish-speaking chaplaincies seem to separate from the group of religious Irish Catholics and from non-religious Irish either

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