Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK
I completed my first degree in Poznan, where I studied international relations and social anthropology. My focus was on the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. To get a taste of street politics there I signed up as an international observer for the ill-fated elections turned revolutions in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in 2004 and 2005. Then I went on to do fieldwork on radical Muslim movements in Uzbekistan. In my MA dissertation I tried to make sense of Central Asia’s shortage of liberty, surplus of authority, and the dream of a peaceful caliphate articulated by transnational Muslim movements.
Later I came to Bristol to study international security and development, and that’s where I got exposed to political economy, discourse analysis, and feminist approaches. My dissertation was on women’s land rights initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa and the role of local knowledge and customary law in international development discourse.
After a lengthy break from seminar and library rooms, which I mainly spent in community development and public health jobs in the inner city of Bristol, I got involved in research again. I assisted on projects with Bristol City Council and the Universities of Bath and the West of England. Around that time I saw an advert for a PhD studentship in Geographies of Democracy at the University of Exeter… and here I am.
Broad research specialisms:
My research draws on labour and political geography political economy migration and citizenship studies and the relevant bits of social and political theory.
Follow me on Twitter @jablonow
MA International Relations (Poznan)
MSc Development and Security (Bristol)
Project Title: Cosmopolitan labour / precarious citizenship
Funding Body: University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Sciences
My research project explores everyday social practices by which migrant workers from the European Union enact their political agency in Britain. It takes the case of Polish migrants in Bristol as an entry point for empirical research, and aims to capture political dimensions of mundane routines of work, residency, and rights. To delineate the scope conceptually I identified two main themes, or modes of being entangled in politics. The first one is cosmopolitan labour, which frames the relationship between migrants’ expectations and experiences of hospitality and welcome and the harsh realities of contemporary labour markets they are confronted with. The second one is precarious citizenship, which captures the contested characteristics of migrants’ rights but also the productive effects of any rights claims, and relates that tension to the broader democratic process. These two themes are linked and by researching them I seek to problematize and understand the political agency of those who are too often taken for granted in public and policy discourses.
Three reports on work and health in Bristol, which I co-wrote with colleagues from Wellspring Healthy Living Centre and Somali Resource Centre, are freely available here under Research header: www.wellspringhlc.org/resources.