BigMig: Digital and non-digital traces of migrants in Big and Small Data approaches to human capacities

BigMig: Digital and non-digital traces of migrants in Big and Small Data approaches to human capacities

Principal Investigator
prof. Izabela Grabowska
Overall budget
1 670 760 PLN
Project duration
Funded by
National Science Centre 2020/37/B/HS6/02342 OPUS

Our whole lives we have been raised with the notion that “international journeys educate” and through undertaking these opportunities we are able to open up our minds to the world. The whole idea of the 19th Century Grand Tour was to take tours to the principal cities and places of interests in Europe, formerly said to be an essential stages of education of youth with ‘good birth’ and ‘fortune’. In the 20th and beginning of the 21st Century a gap year has been popular among middle class students who from Europe and USA started mainly travelling to Asia; while previously they were mostly travelling to Europe and USA respectively. It is different however for Central and Eastern Europeans. They just go for work and additionally they can develop their human capacities and eventually transfer them home.

Can we say that international migration is a school of life? What distinguishes migration from other „school of life” experience? During changing cultural contexts we learn things which were never taught at school about: self, others, relationships, work. Migrants can be seen as onlookers who can through their experience bring perspective which muted in familiar context. It is different to watch the world through a keyhole, and differently through an open door.

This BigMig project develops an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on migration studies, sociology, psychology and social informatics. It makes use of Big and Small Data analysis. BigMig integrates these disciplines and methodologies with a common focus on migrant selectivity, the impact of migration on human capacities, and their relations with social remittances and carriers. The main aims of this project are to understand: (1) the selectivity of international migrants by comparing the personality traits, as well as the human and social capital of movers and stayers (Big Data); (2) the impact of migratory experience on formation and enhancement of human capacities (international comparative survey); and (3) social remittances as individual and collective outcomes of migration-patterned human capacities (multi-sited ethnography with asynchronous interviews).

Prof. Izabela Grabowska

Izabela Grabowska is sociologist and economist; full professor of social sciences; 2016-2021 director of Interdisciplinary Doctoral School of SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland; 2002-2019 Research Fellow at the Centre of Migration Research in Warsaw; 2008-2019 member of IMISCOE Executive Board and Board of Directors; former national expert of the European Commission in ESCO (Classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) and European Mobility Partnership; publishes in highly impact factor journals, e.g.: Work, Employment and Society, Journal of Ethnic Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, International Migration; author of Movers and Stayers: Migration, Mobility and Skills (Lang 2016), co-author of research monograph: The Impact of Migration on Poland: EU Mobility and Social Change (with White, Kaczmarczyk and Slany, UCL Press 2018) and Migrants as Agents of Change (with Garapich, Jazwinska and Radziwinowiczowna, Palgrave Macmillan 2017); co-editor of Mobility in Transition. Migration Patterns After EU Enlargement (Amsterdam University Press 2013). She has led research projects on: migrants’ careers, social remittances, peer-groups & migration (ended in 2020), life courses of young migrants & Brexit (ends in 2021), migrant liquid integration (H2020 MIMY, in progress, ends in 2023). She is active in building international research consortia in EU Framework Programs and bilateral schemes.