Polish Immigration in Barcelona: The Sagrada Familia Neighbourhood as an Arena for Interaction



Big cities play a dominant role in European research and policies on immigration. However, in recent years the focus has shifted to smaller units. The research upon which this article is based assumes that neighbourhoods' spatial configuration and social tissue constitute an influencing context where interactions develop. Mainly using semi-structured interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, this article examines the experiences of Polish immigrants who live and/or work in the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood in Barcelona. This article highlights some patterns emerging from the accounts of inter-ethnic interactions there, namely that for a number of native interviewees, Polish immigrants are ‘invisible’ and, in contrast, among Polish immigrants, there are difficulties in understanding Catalan/Spanish cultures, but interactions with Latin-American immigrants are highlighted as frequent. Additionally, the article concludes that urban fabrics (e.g. scarce public areas), local policies (e.g. commercial bias) and socio-economic characteristics (e.g. over-exposition to massive tourism) are factors influencing on inter-ethnic interactions.