Immigrant organizations are one of the key forms of social involvement of migrants. Immigrant organizations require greater attention from migration scholars owing to the central role that they play with respect to:
- immigrants – the organizations protect immigrant rights and interests, deliver social support, help preserve the national identities of immigrants and offer a platform for meeting and maintaining social relations with their compatriots;
- the host state – first and foremost, the organizations contribute to immigrant integration;
- the country of origin – immigrant organizations may provide support to the host country (e.g. humanitarian and/or development aid).
The above should attract particular interest in immigrant organizations on the part of migration scholars. However, such scholars tend to describe both the micro level (individual cases of assimilations, achievement, participation, etc.) and the macrolevel (migration policies, immigration control, migration development, etc.). However, research on the meso level (of organizations) appears to be neglected.
Another hindrance to the development of reflective discourse on immigrant organizations is the fact that the majority of papers and articles on such organizations are descriptive and historic in nature which in a way makes thema – theoretical. A review of literature on immigrant organizations and an examination of prior research findings allows one to posit that scholars investigating immigrant organizations have pointed out a number of factors impacting immigrant organizations. However, the majority of such studies have focused on a single cause or have been limited to formulating mere working hypotheses rather than coherent theoretical concepts supported with empirical studies.
The approach proposed in the project – both in terms of the identification of research problems and the proposed research methodology – is innovative not only for Poland but also internationally. This is because, on one hand, the project is aimed at learning more about Polish immigrant organizations operating in selected European countries, and specifically their number, status and the level of commitment to promoting their work on the part of Poles living abroad. Once adopted, the research standard will help to compare the statuses of Polish organizations across different countries. On the other hand, in addition to its descriptive focus, the project is expected to test hypotheses regarding factors contributing to the status of such organizations. The comparative aspect will make it possible to learn how organizations end up in the shape they are in and what factors influence their condition. This, in turn, will help to formulate novel and unique theoretical conclusions which can then be applied in further research on organizations other than Polish. Thus, the project’s findings will contribute to furthering migration research in the specific field of investigating immigrant organizations.
The project’s further practical value lies in its expected role in fostering civilizational advancement as its conclusions can be utilized in social and political practice. First and foremost, the project will expand knowledge on Polish immigrant organizations operating in selected European countries. The data concerning factors affecting the condition of organizations, as generated in the project, will also help formulate practical conclusions on the possibility of supporting the development of such organizations in various conditions and cooperating with them.