In the aftermath of Poland’s entrance into the EU in 2004, it is estimated that over half a million Polish migrants entered the UK. Their visibility in the public sphere has attracted interest from social scientists, yet relatively little attention has been paid to the issue of religious integration of Catholic Poles living in Britain. Drawing on a qualitative research project, this article explores the consequences of the encounter between Polish and indigenous Catholics. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of the ‘religious field’, the conflict between the newcomers and the locals is shown to be caused by a mismatch between Polish Catholic habitus and British religious context. While for British Catholics their religion is ‘universal’, for Polish migrants Catholicism symbolizes their national culture, which makes them resistant to religious integration.
- religious field