Multifaceted Hospitality. The Micro-Dynamics of Host–Guest Relations in Polish Homes after 24 February 2022

  • Published in:
    Central and Eastern European Migration Review, Vol. 0, No. online first, 2023, pp. 1-21
    DOI: 10.54667/ceemr.2023.19
    Received:

    18 October 2022

    Accepted:

    30 October 2023

    Published:

    14 November 2023

    Views: 2419

Hosting large numbers of refugees in private homes rather than in refugee camps is a fairly unusual phenomenon in the broadly understood Western context, including the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Thus, explorative research is much needed to determine the fundamental problems triggered by this novel situation. Based on a series of individual in-depth interviews with Polish hosts who invited Ukrainian refugees to live in their homes, this paper puts under scrutiny the micro-relations between the hosts and the guests. The study identified 6 kinds of ‘difficulty’, including (1) negotiating everyday routines, (2) dealing with difficult life situations and stress, (3) quarrels and divisions among migrants, (4) neglecting one’s own family, (5) a too strong emotional attachment to the guests and (6) irreconcilable sets of expectations.

 

Keywords: hospitality, 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Poland, refugees, hosting

Introduction: Ukrainian refugees in Poland and the problem of hospitality

The Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2022 resulted in an unprecedented influx of Ukrainian migrants (predominantly women and children) to Poland. Some Ukrainians found shelter in free-of-charge hotels and reception centres or decided to rent their own place for a fee. This paper, however, focuses on those who stayed in private homes free of charge. The idea of accommodating large numbers of refugees in private homes rather than in refugee camps, detention centres, hotels or hostels (Gibson 2003) is a fairly unusual phenomenon in the broadly understood Western context, including the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and, for this reason, dubbed by the British press a ‘refugee miracle’ (Rice-Oxley 2022). This ‘romanticised discourse’, stressing the uniqueness of the situation as well as the hospitality and generosity of Poles, was also visible in the Polish media and in the first academic publications which analysed Polish society in the context of war (e.g. Boroń and Gromkowska-Melosik 2022; Golczyńska-Grondas 2022; Kalinowska, Kuczyński, Bukraba-Rylska, Krakowska and Sałkowska 2023). According to one of the estimates, approximately 12 per cent of the refugees who applied for a PESEL1 number in Warsaw in the first week of registration were living with strangers who decided to host them for free (Bukowski and Duszczyk 2022). This phenomenon is therefore neither mainstream nor marginal but, as an under-researched topic, it certainly calls for the attention of migration analysts. Explorative research is much needed to determine the basic problems triggered by these ‘strange encounters’ (Ahmed 2000) and to identify policies that may support the hosts in the future (Yıldız and Uzgören 2016). Early surveys in Poland captured widespread pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian sentiments – for example, in March 2022, 94 per cent of the respondents declared that Poland should receive refugees from the war zone and this number did not fall much in the following months, with 84 per cent of the population still declaring the need to give Polish support to the Ukrainian refugees in July 2022 (CBOS 2022). Yet media reports from Poland suggested that hospitality, especially hosting refugees in one’s own home or spare room, can create unexpected problems (see, e.g., Sowa 2022). The reports also suggest that Polish schools are not prepared for Ukrainian children (Cieśla 2022), not to mention the unfavourable comments in social media, including the accusations of parasitising the welfare system (Obara 2022; Urazińska 2022). Thus, this paper contributes to the theoretical understanding of hospitality in migration studies by providing insights from Polish hosts – members of a relatively conservative and homogenous society – who invited refugees into their homes.

In the paper, I focus on how the war has impacted on the border region of Poland, namely the Podkarpackie voivodeship, where the major border crossings with Ukraine are located. As one of the reports stated (Unia Metropolii Polskich 2022), in April 2022 the population of Rzeszow, the capital of the region, increased by 53 per cent. It is estimated that, at that point, 104,784 Ukrainian refugees – including 30,802 children – arrived in the city. Based on a series of individual in-depth interviews with Polish hosts who invited Ukrainian refugees to live in their private properties, this paper studies the micro-relations between the hosts and the guests in a bid to answer research questions concerning the difficulties resulting from the arrival of strangers under one’s own roof. The perspective of the host is the first step towards drawing a complete picture of the complicated phenomenon of in-house refugee2 hosting. By focusing solely on difficulties, I sought to question what I refer to as a ‘romanticised discourse’ on hospitality, widespread both in Polish and Western media. The main contribution of this paper is to suggest that, although large-scale hospitality (in the form of home accommodation) occurred in Poland, it required emotional labour and other uneasy decisions described in the course of the analysis. Whilst this rather unusual form of emergency assistance proved to be very effective in solving the housing problem, it entailed serious non-material costs. Although the term ‘difficulties’, applied to refer to these costs, is borrowed from colloquial language, it occurs in the academic literature, for example in the context of the difficulties of the migratory career (Martiniello and Rea 2014) or management studies (Szulanski 1996).

Literature review: the concept of hospitality/hostipitality

The most important theoretical concept on which I build my argument is Jacques Derrida’s notion of ‘hostipitality’ (Derrida 2000), which ‘combines hostility with hospitality in order to draw attention to the significance of the former within the discourse and experience of the latter’ (Bida 2018: 120). Derrida (2000: 5) points out that ‘hospitality is a self-contradictory concept’ because it simultaneously assumes the best intentions of a host (towards a guest) and the subjection of a guest to a host. As Derrida (2000: 14) vividly describes it, ‘as soon as there are a door and windows, it means that someone has the key to them and consequently controls the conditions of hospitality’. Thus, ‘the expression make yourself at home suggests a welcome as a feeling of comfort, while veiling for Derrida what is implicit: “make yourself at home” in my home with the secondary condition that “you” will not make this your home’ (Bida 2018: 122). In other words, the notion of ‘hostipitality’ suggests that unequal power relations between guests and hosts can have an impact on the homemaking process (Bida 2018; Laachir 2007).

The Derridean critique inspired the theoreticians of migration to recognise that true hospitality ‘is a refusal to conceive the host and the guest as pre-constituted identities. It is about the recognition that they are mutually constitutive of each other, and thus, relational and shifting as all identities are’ (Dikeç 2002: 239). Thus, the critical understanding of hospitality should challenge ‘the kind of categorical thinking that delineates hosts and guests’ (Bida 2018: 120) because a host and a guest always co-construct themselves and act anticipating the presence of the other. On the one hand, in order to be able to offer hospitality, the host must be the mistress or master in the house and must be assured of his or her ‘sovereignty over the space and goods he [sic] offers or opens to the other as a stranger’ (Derrida 2000: 14). Otherwise, the host may lose the sense of being at home. On the other hand, ‘recognizing the host as a host does not, and should not, necessarily mean subjection on the guest’s side, but should rather invoke an appreciation of the limits of the guest’s actions towards the host, which is more of a sensibility than a subjection’ (Dikeç 2002: 239). This leads to the theoretical model predicting that the host ‘is not necessarily immobile or in full control of the physical and social space, while the guest is not without agency even while at the mercy of the host’ (Bida 2018: 124). ‘Hostipitality’ is, thus, ‘not necessarily hostile but always potentially so through the power relations that are involved in “giving” place and being welcomed’ (Bida 2018: 125–6). As Bida further suggests, ‘Derrida’s understanding of hospitality is vital to a new conception of home as a labyrinthine, multi-scalar map that is based on personal, interpersonal, and social relations’ (Bida 2018: 121). This leads us to the literature on critical geographies of home (Roberts 2019: 88–89), which has also impacted on the conceptualisation of this paper by highlighting that home (a) ‘is simultaneously material and imaginative’, (b) a ‘space in which people are positioned differently with respect to their different social locations (e.g. gender, age, ethnicity and class)’ and (c) should be viewed as being ‘crosscut by multiple relations to personal, private, public and political worlds’.

Hosting practices

The literature on hosting large numbers of refugees in private homes is often focused on countries adjacent to conflict zones outside Europe and North America (e.g. Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey; see Dinçer, Federici, Ferris, Karaca, Kirişci and Çarmıklı 2013). There is also a vast literature on hospitality in the Mediterranean (Kyriakidou 2021; Rozakou 2012) but home accommodation is usually not its prime focus. Even in these cases, the non-camp refugees are discussed as an exception to the rule that war fugitives find shelter in large centres. In the Western European context, the literature embraces small-scale social initiatives inspired by local government or non-governmental agencies (see, e.g., Bassoli and Campomori 2022), eager to accommodate migrants in private houses or apartments. Very recently, Bassoli and Luccioni (2023) systematically reviewed the literature on homestay accommodation for refugees in Europe. All in all, the authors identified just 75 papers offering micro-, meso- and macro-level analysis of this phenomenon. Their findings suggest that, although the literature – available in English but often only in French, German or Italian, including Master’s and Bachelor’s dissertations – provided some knowledge about the host and guest profiles, their motivations and characteristics of the hospitality relationship, ‘the literature also largely overlooked the reasons for power relations between hosts and guests’ (Bassoli and Luccioni 2023: 16). Rare studies – such as Merikoski’s case study of Finland (2021, 2022), focused precisely on the micro-level home accommodation – often point to the ambivalent attitude of governments towards such grassroots initiatives. Despite the significance of the analysed papers, Bassoli and Luccioni (2023: 18) argue for ‘a more critical approach of hospitality, fueled by considerations for refugees’ experiences and trajectories, and for power relations between hosts and guests’.

Although receiving societies often imagine themselves narcissistically as being hospitable, various problems complicating the reception of refugees were identified (Gibson 2003: 367–368) by the studies focused on broadly understood hospitality. These often include visa restrictions favouring only selected categories of individuals (e.g. business people, government officials, students), tighter border procedures or limited access to healthcare and education (Mason 2011: 362–363). In the light of a lack of research on hospitality in post-communist countries, I build on the studies on hospitality in other cultural contexts (Beyer 1981; Mason 2011; Santos-Silva and Guerreiro 2020; Valenta, Jakobsen, Župarić-Iljić and Halilovich 2020) and forced migrations (Lampe 2014; Morawska 2000; Stola 1992). These sources document the limits of hospitality – various kinds of human costs of post-war migrations, including travel difficulties when, for example, as a consequence of the Syrian war, many ‘humanitarian ships found it hard to dock at European ports’ (Santos-Silva and Guerreiro 2020: 123). Furthermore, Valenta et al. (2020: 162) also point out that Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries and also in Southern Europe, including Greece and Italy, have experienced ‘less-than-sufficient reception and integration conditions’. Not only do these people live in overcrowded refugee camps but they also risk losing their refugee status if they decide to move further West from countries like Turkey. There are also reports pointing out the harassment and exploitation of Syrian women and girls in return for accommodation (Rohwerder 2018; Yıldız and Uzgören 2016). The third common problem was associated with media images, which contributed to the social representation of refugees (Blumell, Bunce, Cooper and McDowell 2020). In most contexts, refugees were usually depersonalised, pathologised, criminalised or demonised as a group and depicted as a threat (Mason 2011). Based on the comparative analysis of the Portuguese press (2015–2019), Santos-Silva and Guerreiro (2020: 134), argued, for instance, that ‘the refugee is portrayed as an entity with no voice and no identity’ and is ‘normally described without any individualizing features, a standard image’, ‘like a human mass’.

After a brief reflection, it becomes clear that none of these circumstances resemble what happened in Poland after 24 February 2022. For instance, the journeys of many Ukrainian refugees were largely facilitated by their family members – who had already been living in Poland prior to the war – and, later, by numerous Polish residents who would use their private cars to pick up refugees from the border. Furthermore, refugee camps were not necessary, as many refugees found accommodation in private homes. Last, the media images were very favourable, as contrasted with the images of migrants on the Polish-Belarusian border (Golczyńska-Grondas 2022; Jasiewicz and Jasiewicz-Betkiewicz 2022). More analogies, despite all the differences, can be drawn between the phenomenon of Polish hospitality and Mason’s (2011) analysis of the Iraqi refugees in Jordan, centred on the pan-Arab ideologies concerning the Middle Eastern kind of hospitality – dhaifa. It requires states to receive ‘fellow Arabs as “visitors” and “guests”, regardless of their reason for, or mode of mobility’ (Mason 2011: 354, see also Still 2007). First, the pan-Arab ideologies (Mason 2011: 356) resemble, at least to some extent, the sense of Slavic solidarity between Poland and Ukraine. This solidarity stems from cultural and linguistic similarities, despite the complicated history between the two states. In other words, although white and Christian Ukrainians were perceived as the ‘others’, they were the ‘familiar strangers’ (Golczyńska-Grondas 2022; Kyriakidou 2021; Said 1978). Not the completely unknown ‘Others’, who seem menacing to many Poles pointing (usually wrongly) to the impassable ‘cultural differences’ between Middle Eastern refugees and themselves. Nevertheless, there is also another rationale for this kind of solidarity – a strong anti-Russian sentiment resulting in the willingness to fight against the common enemy. This is closely related to another analogy between Polish and Arabic solidarity – the reluctance to use the word ‘refugee’ in the discourses concerning forced migration. In the Arab world, the term ‘refugee’ has largely been rejected in the context of Iraqi refugees, as the figure of the refugee is regarded as synonymous with the Palestinian situation. Instead, the Iraqis were perceived as ‘temporary guests’ in Jordan, a terminological solution that appeared again in 2022 in Poland, responding to the anti-migrant sentiment, especially in relation to the crisis at the Belarusian border (Jasiewicz and Jasiewicz-Betkiewicz 2022).

Methodology

The overall objective of the project (though not of this paper) focused on the home accommodation (or homestay accommodation) of Ukrainian refugees in Poland, which also involved interviews with Ukrainian refugees and aimed to determine why the Polish ‘refugee miracle’ could happen and by what it was characterised. This analysis, which is part of a larger whole – a series of interrelated papers on this topic – answers the following research question: What kinds of problems occurred and how were they sorted out from the point of view of the host?

The research method was a semi-structured individual in-depth interview which, as opposed to quantitative surveys of opinions, allows the researcher to investigate in detail the phenomenon under study (Kvale 1996). Based on the interview protocol, the interviewer could add more questions to better understand the point of view of the interviewee or could ask the interlocutor to provide some examples and detailed descriptions of crucial phenomena. This technique is believed to be the best match for explorative studies of new phenomena, especially if the study is focused not on simple declarations but on complex and often traumatic experiences.

The interviews were completed between May and July 2022, after obtaining approval from the ethics committee at the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow.3 It allowed us to capture the fresh lived experiences of the Polish hosts. Five trained interviewers participated in the project.4 In order not to interview our friends or acquaintances, we recruited the study participants through posts on the local Facebook groups intended for people helping refugees – ‘Solidarni z Ukrainą Rzeszów’ and ‘Pomoc Ukraińcom w Rzeszowie/допомога українцям у Жешові’. Although this methodological choice does not seem controversial (as the technology enabled or streamlined most of the assistance), it should be acknowledged that people not using the internet were excluded from the study. Internet-based sampling was the fastest possible way to get in touch with hosts and interview them as soon as possible, as we expected that the memory of lived experiences could fade away very quickly. The geographical focus was, thus, selected based on the convenience criteria: all the team members were (at that time) based in Rzeszow and were able to start interviewing hosts without unnecessary delay. For practical reasons but also in order to minimise the variation within the sample, we decided to focus on this city, which served as a communication node for many Ukrainian refugees.

All in all, the team interviewed a total of 15 hosts who lived in Rzeszow, the capital of the Podkarpackie voivodeship (6 cases), and nearby towns and villages (9 cases). The main implication of a small number of interviews is that the study – unable to provide an intersectional analysis – focused, instead, on mapping various problems associated with home accommodation. All the names were anonymised.

Due to the explorative nature of this study, the sampling strategy was inclusive: everyone who had been hosting a Ukrainian refugee in their home after 24 February 2022 was invited to take part in the study. The basic criterion was the fact of living together with a refugee in one household for at least a few days. In the final sample, however, there were mainly people who decided to host refugees for an extended period of time (more than 3 months). Only 1 person provided shelter for less than a week. The basic demographic details can be found in Table 1 in Appendix 1. The hosts, who took in people of Ukrainian descent, were of different ages. The youngest participants were in their 20s and the oldest in their 70s. With one exception, the participants were female, as Facebook groups were used more often by women than by men. The hosts represented different professions: from highly skilled programmers, lawyers or business-owners, to HR officers, office clerks and railwaymen and to unemployed people. Usually, they were quite affluent, with some in an average material situation. In the study, we did not limit ourselves to ethnic Poles. We also interviewed two permanent residents of Poland of Ukrainian descent who were willing to help their compatriots.

In terms of housing, most of the refugees were hosted in houses (12 cases) or apartments (3 cases). Usually, the hosts lived all the time with their guests but, in 3 cases, the hosting families offered the refugees a separate apartment or a part of the house with a separate entrance and visited them regularly. The number of people in single accommodation varied greatly from case to case. Sometimes, 1 person had 1 room at their disposal but, in extreme cases, 4 families totaling 15 people had been living in the same house at the same time. Typically, however, 1 host supported 1 Ukrainian family of 2 to 4 people. The age of the Ukrainian guests also varied greatly, from children to middle-aged people to seniors. The communication strategies varied greatly: from using English (the younger interviewees) or Russian (the older interviewees) as a lingua franca to utilising a mix of Polish and Ukrainian or Russian.

As this overview shows, I aimed to investigate very different cases in order to discuss situations as diverse as possible. Based on the transcripts, we analysed the problems that occurred during these somewhat lengthy stays. I analysed the entire collection of interviews in a ‘bottom-up’ manner: I decided not to formulate any prior hypotheses but, instead, to look for the emerging themes (Braun and Clarke 2022). For this reason, I analysed excerpts discussing any kind of difficulty or problematic situation which occurred as a result of hosting a Ukrainian refugee. Although the rationale behind this paper is Derrida’s analysis of hos(ti)pitality, interview data were not used to confirm or refute the claims discussed above. Rather, the interviews were open-coded: the main theme of ‘difficulties’ as well as 6 major sub-themes emerged from the material. This study is, thus, based on abductive reasoning because, following Kathy Charmaz (2006: 48), I simultaneously kept initial coding open-ended (as the proponents of grounded theory would do) while still acknowledging the prior ideas. The data analysis made it possible to check the researcher’s hunches and grounding ideas in empirical material (Charmaz 2006: 149). In other words, as Ian Dey (1999) provocatively put it years ago, I was trying to keep an ‘open mind’ but not pretend to have an ‘empty head’.

For the purpose of this paper, ‘difficulties’ are defined as disruptions of daily life as a result of the presence of strangers. The theory of action behind this research stems from the perspective of life-course research, according to which the difficulties are the considerable losses that actors avoid while trying to ‘improve, or at least maintain, aspects of their physical and mental well-being over time’ (Bernardi, Huinink and Settersten 2019: 2). Simply put, difficulties disturb the equilibrium achieved in a life course. The adopted understanding of difficulties is narrower than the sum of ‘hardships and costs’ often discussed in migration studies (see, e.g., Fullin and Reyneri 2011), which often involves financial burden and legal problems. On the other hand, it is broader than Margaret Archer’s (2007) concept of ‘personal concerns’ because the discussed difficulties, as we shall see, are not always subject to reflection.

Results

‘It’s not that much fun when someone is wandering around the house’: problematic situations

In the interviews, one can find various situations that not only disrupt the everyday routine of family life but can also be classified as a difficulty, in the sense introduced at the beginning of this paper. I analyse them below and discuss the context in which they occurred. Some of these situations were classified as problematic by the interviewees (e.g. the misbehaviour of the tenants) and some were indicated in response to other, seemingly unrelated, interview questions (e.g. the animosity towards compatriots from another region of Ukraine). It is worth emphasising that, in 6 interviews, no serious problems could be identified (see Table 1 in Appendix 1). Three interviewees (Jadwiga, Magdalena and Aniela), in turn, recalled serious difficulties and 6, moderate difficulties. The narratives of the majority of hosts suggest that hospitality is a difficult process which impacts on the micro-dynamics of the home, in addition to minor issues reported or implied here and there in other interviews.

Everyday routines and negotiations

First of all, the sudden appearance of guests in the household resulted in some relatively easy-to-predict disruptions. Often, the hosting process started with re-making an entire home and re-thinking daily routines. The interviewees were generally happy to rearrange their places. For instance, Karolina adapted an attic for the needs of her guests. Alicja, in turn, explained that, at the beginning, she gave her own bed to the guests and slept on the couch in the living room before moving to the children’s former playroom.

Some interviewees, however, narrated tensions which can often be attributed to intercultural differences. Guests’ lack of familiarity with the realities of life in Poland and, more generally, Western lifestyles, disrupted the everyday routines of Polish hosts. This happened when the guests were reluctant to change their habits. For instance, Jadwiga explains that her guests were reluctant to use the dishwasher and washed plates by hand, which disrupted the usual order of doing things at her house. Dealing with street-level bureaucracy, which I consider to be a part of everyday life, was another kind of difficulty. On another occasion, with reference to this interview, Jadwiga’s guests had forgotten to take all the necessary documents with them (because the host’s instruction was not detailed enough) and, as a result, they could not open a bank account as she had planned.

We went to set up a bank account and do some shopping. (…). I said: ‘Just remember, take your passport’ and she took the passport but she didn’t take her PESEL. That’s why I just started laughing then (Jadwiga, G1).

These were minor difficulties and the hosts had neither power nor will to oppose them. Moreover, the hosts were usually far from blaming their guests, even if they judged their behaviour to be irresponsible. Instead, they tried to understand the small differences and miscommunication by emphasising that their guests rarely travelled abroad or even within Ukraine: ‘Most of these people have never travelled abroad’ (Damian, G4);

‘They did not even go to Western Ukraine to their husbands’ families but they lived there and the war forced them to come here’ (Yulia, G10).

In other words, many refugees, especially those who had to rely on free accommodation, did not possess what, in migration studies, is referred to as ‘transnational capital’ (Gu and Lee 2019). Although not necessarily on a conscious level, these differences resulted in a sense of strangeness between the host and their culturally similar guests.

Some difficulties, however, were not related to intercultural contact and its implications. The interview with Jadwiga, an office clerk and a mother of 2, who was decidedly the most critical interviewee, contains many clear examples of rearrangements which turned out to be far more problematic. First, the daily routine of her family was disrupted because her guest had a very different rhythm of the day.

I must admit that she had a lifestyle that turned our life upside down, so to speak. Well, maybe it’s a bit funny but this way of life was completely different from ours because [before that] we got up in the morning, the children went to school, so when we went to bed in the evening, there were no children (...). This girl, on the other hand, worked at night. So for them, the day started after noon, when she got up, when she could eat breakfast. In the evening, she could go out for a walk somewhere and talk to someone. Do something in the afternoon, possibly. So our son adopted a similar life rhythm (Jadwiga, G1).

This disruption was severe because it impacted on Jadwiga’s child (see the next section for more details). The situation was all the more tense as the host disagreed with her guest on the parenting style. Jadwiga was very reluctant to give a smartphone to her son, unlike the Ukrainian mother. For this reason, at the moment of the interview, she declared that she was unsure if she could host another family. Another reason for the dispute were eating habits. During the interview, Jadwiga was very critical of her guests’ choices.

Usually, we buy, I don’t know: bread, milk, some vegetables, fruits. Candy, too, but not much – and everyone there just spent most of their money on candy. You can believe me. It was candy and, in the case of Natalia and Olena, also cigarettes because they smoked. Or beer (Jadwiga, G1).

Older interviewees, like Aniela (a currently unemployed woman in her 50s who takes care of her grandchildren) or Magdalena (a pensioner in her 60s), also believed that their guests should have been more engaged in the everyday chores and start acting as family members who regularly help others in the simplest situations.

For example, in my garden, I had such an impression that they, the princesses, were sitting and sunbathing in the sun and I was raking and raking the garden. I organised everything for them. And it did not occur to them that maybe they should help in exchange for my help (Magdalena, G3).

I was cleaning here, [because] they wanted to get used to the new environment. I wanted to make it possible for them somehow, right? I helped with cleaning and so on. And then they didn’t start to clean. They didn’t want to do anything, at all. Well, and I started to ask them to, right? I asked once, the second, the third time to clean up on the balcony because the cans were everywhere there (Aniela, G11).

This last excerpt makes it clear that the hosts had their expectations of the guests. Thus, they did not follow the ideal of unconditional hospitality, which ‘implies that you don’t ask the other, the newcomer, the guest, to give anything back, or even to identify himself or herself’ (Derrida 1999: 70). In this sense, Polish hospitality, even if sincere and requiring sacrifices, was not unconditional.

Negotiating everyday routines and planning the day, including running errands and dealing with administrative matters, prompts the question of how boundaries are being built. In the majority of cases, these negotiations were not overt and many of the rules remained implicit. It was rare that a host decided to introduce their own clear-cut rules and stick to them, which was articulated clearly by Damian (G4): ‘They were aware that they were our guests and that they must respect our rules, otherwise, we would have to part with such people’. His attitude, even if not intentionally hostile, is an exemplification of the model of limited hospitality. Furthermore, the relationship between Damian and his guests resembled ‘Gesellschaft’ in Tönnies’s (1887/2021) understanding of this term – a collaboration based on rules (written or unwritten) and prior arrangements. On the other hand, it had very little to do with the close-knit type of community based on emotion – the ‘Gemeinschaft’ – or the ‘like-a-family’ situation, which was ideal for the majority of our interviewees.

This, less formalised, family-like kind of relationship was, however, a double-edged sword because it could also trigger some serious problems. For instance, Magdalena admitted, after the formal recording had ended, that she felt used by her guests. In the main interview, she narrated many situations where the lack of clear-cut boundaries and rules caused frustration on her side. Several times her guests undermined her authority by questioning the rules she suggested. A simple but meaningful problem was related to garbage recycling. Although it was mandatory in Poland, her guests ignored her requests in this matter.

I said that we recycle it all, plastic, etc. And suddenly it’s such a mess: zero order and a lot of shit, because when I found papers in a composter, etc. I was getting crazy. I think it was the thing that annoyed me the most (Magdalena, G3).

Moreover, one day she found out that there was one more person living in her household. This is precisely what Derrida would refer to as an abuse of ‘hospitality rules’. This discovery resulted in an open conflict, this time not about practicalities but about fundamental rules of the house and regulations.

And when I went in there and saw that she was there behind my back, I went nuts. I lost my nerve because suddenly… [Before that] they didn’t know where the [bus] stop was and stuff. And all of a sudden, they brought a woman here behind my back and I didn’t know about it at all. It’s a bit not okay, a bit unfair (Magdalena, G3).

Although narrated euphemistically, Magdalena is clear that this was a serious transgression. The situation got even worse when she decided to help another family and could feel that this resulted in her losing sovereignty over the space and goods (Derrida 2000: 14).

I say to them [the first family] like this: ‘Listen, I am driving home a 17-day-old child and a lady. You have to make space in the bedroom’. And she says that she does not really want to move because she has comfortably gotten used to the king-size bed. Jesus, I was really annoyed (Magdalena, G3).

Summing up this part, it is worth emphasising that, even when it comes to standard routines or dealing with street-level bureaucracy, some adjustments need to be made. Moreover, hosting turns out to be a difficult exercise in setting boundaries and respecting the co-constituting others in the host–guest pairing. In most cases, the unwritten rules made the hospitable hosts able to behave like hosts and guests like grateful guests. Only in a few cases were some blameworthy transgressions noted because, in general, the hosts and guests shared the same general idea of power relations with the privileged position of the host. The implication of this analysis is, thus, not that the difficulties are ubiquitous but that they do occur and sometimes make host–guest relations quite tense.

Difficult life situations and stress

Bringing a refugee home often means bringing the war home. Highly stressful situations involving death, forced separation and human diseases appeared in the recollections of the difficulties experienced by the Ukrainians and by their hosts – who also had to face death and illness, sometimes for the first time in their lives.

And it turned out that Andrii [Oksana’s husband] was dead. He died of a heart condition at home that day and it was a terrible day for me. I felt that I had taken too much on myself. I was not able to cope with it. I had to de-stress and rest for a while because I knew that I had to tell Oksana that her husband was dead (Magdalena, G3).

Nadia was emotionally broken. She was crying all the time. She was worried about her husband... She was very worried about her family... She was in a very bad mental state (Emilia, G6).

On the bus, she didn’t drink. Just in case, so as not to go to the restroom. She had mobility problems. She is very obese and generally… It’s a problem if she doesn’t drink. When she didn’t drink, she didn’t take any medications. If she wasn’t taking any medications, her sugar level dropped. So in Poland, she ended up in the hospital but they pumped her up there. And then, when they got to us, she basically laid down and looked at the wall for two days (Aleksandra, G7).

In the entire pool of interviews, the most striking case was narrated by Aniela. One of her guests turned out to be suffering from alcoholism and had a bad influence on another Ukrainian refugee. The inability to control her behaviour and take care of the children posed a difficult dilemma for Aniela.

She was sleeping practically all the time. And she started to abuse the child, right? She took her off the bed once. She grabbed her hair and pulled her across the floor. She pulled her, right? The second time she threw her against the wall and I went to Social Security (Aniela, G11).

Eventually, Aniela decided to report this case to a Family Support Centre, after a series of unsuccessful interventions, including many talks with the guests and their relatives residing in Poland. The reactions of the hosts to the difficulties obviously varied from legal interventions to the feeling of burnout (Małgorzata: ‘These things wear me out’) to everyday distress (Matylda: ‘We all need to recover a bit, kind of get back on our feet, kind of re-think our family’). Aniela’s radical measures were needed because the addicted person had a minor in her custody and, at some point, just decided to leave to stay with a male whom she had just met (and who came drunk to pick her up). The psychological burden was, however, noted also by the interviewees who co-experienced their guests’ life traumas and (relatively minor) problems – e.g. with finding a suitable job or a doctor who would give the refugees the treatment they were used to (e.g. tooth extraction in full narcosis). They did not usually seek professional advice but worked it out within their family. This is an example of how the presence of guests transcends what is commonsensically understood as hospitality. When guests’ problems become central household problems, the mistress or master can feel like they lose the sovereignty over their space.

Quarrels among migrants

Another type of problem was associated with arguments between the guests, which happened for 2 major reasons: as a result of the internal divides within Ukraine or stemming from everyday life situations, as analysed above. On several occasions, the hosts quoted animosities resulting from ethnic, linguistic, regional, civilisational or geopolitical divides between the West and the East. This is due to the stereotypes associated with the theory of ‘Two Ukraines’ – ‘the heavily demonised Galicia (inhabited by crazy nationalists and led by American pawns)’ as opposed to the ‘caricatured Donbas (inhabited by homo Sovieticus and controlled by the local mafia and the Russian fifth column)’ (Riabchuk 2015: 146).

At first, I saw that there were such animosities, maybe not exactly animosities, but such... between families from Eastern and Western Ukraine. Some say that those from Eastern Ukraine are Muscovites (...) On the other hand, those in Western Ukraine are called Banderovtsy (Damian, G4).

I had people from the East. On the other hand, at my mother’s house, there were people from Lviv. That is East with West. And in fact, there were Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking people. In the beginning, there were also disagreements and I’ll say right away that these disagreements were very unpleasant. (...) At one point, there were comments, for example, when someone from the East wanted to help, [the guests from Lviv commented] ‘those servants from the East’ (Jadwiga, G1).

These interviewees who decided to take in more than one family were, thus, exposed to additional stress caused by the disputes between the guests. In this sense, the hosts once again felt as if they were losing control of their own house.

Secondly, the guests often had their own personal issues (i.e. unrelated to war), which they brought to the house with them. Motivated by personal factors, the quarrels between migrants could make the atmosphere at home unbearable. Vivid examples appeared in Magdalena’s interview, where family problems intersected with class problems. One of the children she hosted was chaperoned by his nanny (who herself left a child in Ukraine). After some time, the mother, who had abandoned her child before the war, decided to come to Poland. This was when the temperature of conflict grew in a flash.

Well, there were terrible disputes, which I didn’t want to allow and I said ‘I don’t have even a square foot more’ and that ‘I don’t care who the mother or the caregiver was’, that ‘there was no room for so many people here’ and ‘your family matters don’t interest me’. ‘It’s not my cup of tea’ (Magdalena, G3).

The situations analysed in this section and the two initial sections were typically not caused by intentional actions of the guests but oftentimes stemmed from cultural differences, life traumas, poor health and other independent factors – which were, nevertheless, associated with the guest or, to put it differently, were largely independent of the host. In the next three sections, I analyse the problems which resulted from the social constructions and behaviours of the hosts who, in their willingness to help, could also harm themselves or their family members.

Neglecting one’s own family

Hosting strangers in one’s own home required significant sacrifices by the hosts. We have already analysed the negotiation of everyday routines and dealing with stress and tension at home. ‘I am a doer’, says Yulia (G10) who explains that, for her, it is easier to do something than to just sit and watch passively, which makes her anxious. Although this project does not allow us to determine the psychological profile of the hosts, which requires a different methodological approach, many interviewees presented a very strong ‘hands-on’ activist attitude in helping others – for example, the homeless. In the case of such activist-minded people, taking in refugees may trigger a problem that stems not so much from the real influence of the guest on the host but from the symbolic dependence – the host’s willingness to do his or her best and stay close to the guests and their problems. Klementyna’s comment explains why people like her were so deeply involved in helping and expected a lot from their guests: ‘I have such a tendency, it seems to me (...) that sometimes I don’t give enough space for people to organise things their way. On the contrary, I just give everything on a plate’ (Klementyna, G8).

It is important to highlight that hosting a refugee requires not only emotional work in relation to trauma coming from the ‘outside’ (i.e. with the guests) but also emotional costs to maintain good relationships with household members, most notably life partners and children, who were not always as eager to help as our interviewees (usually the initiators of the help) but nevertheless had to change their habits.

Basically, I devote every bit of free time to them [the guests]. My children resent that a little bit. The children were used to their dad. They see that I am simply not available every day as I was before. I come home very late in the evening and, well, I have a little less time for them because of this. All free time is used for people from Ukraine (Damian, G4).

Certainly, it was hard for him [her husband] and he took more care of our son and more household duties fell on him (Yulia, G10).

Pardon the expression, [I had to clean] vomit in the bathrooms. Well, and that’s why tensions began to arise between me and my husband, right? (Aniela, G11).

Tension could also be felt internally by the hosts who felt that they had too little time for ‘concerted cultivation’ or the cultural logic of child-rearing, requiring participation in many organised activities and thus enormous non-salaried labour, particularly for mothers (Lareau 2002).The time-consuming activities varied from picking up refugees from border crossings to dealing with bureaucracy, providing them with advice or everyday commuting.

She went to Rzeszów and was supposed to come back but then, I remember that she missed the bus. And back then, I also had problems with my son, because he fell ill (…). I spent that day in the doctor’s office. I arrived home and I was already so exhausted. I admit I drank some beer, mowed the lawn and just sat down and said that I had already had enough of everything (Jadwiga, G1).

This never caused them a problem. They just went to the bus stop and went off. Much worse when they missed the bus: ‘Alicja, will you drive me?’ ‘Yes Ania, I’m on my way’ (Alicja, G2).

This sense of neglecting a family might be especially strong due to the gender composition of the sample and the relative affluence of interviewees because the middle-class concept of family life as a project (Lareau 2002; Metzgar 2021) was hard to reconcile with the sudden disruption of rules and habits. Although time investment caused serious fatigue, as we can see in the two contrasting excerpts discussing very similar situations, some hosts dealt with it more easily than others, because of their personal situation. Alicja, whose relationship with her guests was probably the strongest in the entire sample (‘Ania is like family, just like my sister’), could devote more time to the guest because her husband was very often away from home due to nature of his work. Alicja and Jadwiga, however, agree on the more important consequences of their involvement: the way it impacted on their nearest and dearest, who might have felt neglected or even abandoned.

It was such a sacrifice of our life, at the expense of someone, but the awareness that they were worse off than we were helped (Alicja, G2).

Okay, he [Vova, the boy] would come for breakfast and sometimes would say: ‘Jadwiga, I’m already up’. ‘Would you like breakfast now?’ (…) And my husband would look at me sometimes and say: ‘But you have two children’ (Jadwiga, G1).

These examples suggest that it was the mere presence of guests (and not their demanding attitude) that made the hosts do things which negatively impacted on their own families. In these cases, the hosts did not display any signs of ‘hostipitality’, understood as the negative influence of the host on the liberties of the guest. On the contrary, it was the hosts’ internal sense of obligation that made them invest their time and disrupt family routines in order to help refugees.

Too strong an emotional involvement

The heads-on approach might result not only in a sense of neglecting one’s family but a twin feeling of loss, which affected the hosts themselves and not their families. Some hosts were so involved in helping that every misunderstanding could result in distress. Other interviewees reported getting too easily attached to the newly acquainted people. Hosts like Alicja felt bad not only because they could harm or offend their nearest and dearest but also the guests. She felt stressed because she anticipated that her guests might not have felt at home: ‘And I was a bit stressed by the fact that they thought that it was stressful for me, that they disturbed me and they apologised all the time that someone said something louder’ (Alicja, G8).

In this situation, she was on the verge of losing the sense of being in her own home, a scenario predicted by the post-Derridean literature. Furthermore, such involvement may make the host feel bad when the relationship ended or developed in an unexpected way. Emilia explicitly stated that she suffered when her first guests left her house: ‘I was terribly sorry to part with them because I had already gotten used to them. I got too emotionally involved’ (Emilia, G6). Magdalena explains why, knowing herself, she decided to look for independent housing for some of her guests: ‘And now another person occurred (…) I was terribly afraid of emotional attachment because I know I get attached, well, and I got her an apartment’ (Magdalena, G3).

Jadwiga, in a very similar vein, narrated how hosting refugees negatively impacted on her mother.

She would get too emotional and worried by them. There was a moment when my mum didn’t sleep. She was very upset about all this, this situation. ‘What’s next?’ Because they didn’t have a job, because you don’t know what was going to happen next (Jadwiga, G1).

These cases suggest that there exists a relationship between deep involvement and emotional suffering. Furthermore, it can be argued that the involved hosts may also suffer because their expectations were incompatible with the needs of some migrants.

Incompatible expectations

When hosting a stranger, we cannot really know what this person expects. Furthermore, displaced people often do not have precise short-term life plans, not to mention more far-reaching ones. Obviously, it happened that the guests could not obey some rules (as we observed in the first section) or were too demanding, as judged by the hosts.

Recently, she calls me and says, ‘Well, because… you promised there would be schools’. So [in] a little bit demanding way [she asks] me if I could figure this out for her daughter because I mentioned something (Magdalena, G3).

Surprisingly, however, the problem of incompatible expectations was usually caused not by the too-high expectations of the guests but by their too-low expectations (or demands). When some ideas of the hosts did not resonate with the guests because they did not want to be as active as the hosts had hoped, it made the hosts feel as if their efforts were a waste of time. Thus, intensive involvement could also lead to disproportionate expectations. This was obvious when Marcelina, a businesswoman in her 40s, recalled how she tried to encourage her guests to find a job in Poland.

I had to repeat five times so that they would go here, here, here and look for a job. Well, she wanted to work, but she wouldn’t be a hairdresser because she had already been burned out. (…) I explained that here you couldn’t work illegally anymore. You must register with the Employment Office. You have to do something with yourself. You have to get your ‘ass’ in gear and tell them you want this job. Even if you’re [Ukrainian], they will understand you [at the office]. I wanted to force them, to mobilise them (Marcelina, G16).

The interview with Jadwiga provides several instances of incompatible expectations associated with ‘too much’ effort – e.g. when she suggested some cultural events or books to the guests but they seemed to be uninterested. Or when she felt upset when her guests closed their bedroom door and did not want to talk – for example, about their plans to leave. Eliza, an office worker in her 30s, in turn, on many occasions, emphasised that her guest was self-sufficient, which made her feel upset. The host would reach out, which she stated directly (‘I mean I was happy in general, how she asked me anything, that she wanted some help’; ‘After all, I’m not going to go to her every day and knock since she does not invite me there’). Eliza’s guest could enjoy her privacy because, unlike the majority of people hosted by our interviewees, she was given a separate apartment and could get in touch with the host only when she chose to.

I offered her [my help], but she didn’t take it. [She was doing] everything by herself. When I asked about her, she did not give any information whatsoever about herself. She always replied that everything was fine. When I asked once if her partner was okay then, she avoided the answer. I don’t know much about her (...) I didn’t want to impose myself; sometimes we exchanged a few words in the office, but the relationships were not close. Sometimes I lent her a vacuum cleaner or a clothes dryer but it was also like… I didn’t want to go in, of course, she let me into the apartment, but I didn’t feel that she insisted that I stay for a cup of coffee or something, so I just didn’t impose myself (Eliza, G9).

Eliza, thus, suffered because her guest was uninterested in any kind of friendship with her and used her apartment as a hotel. However, she directly pointed out a class difference between herself and her guest, who happened to be employed in a clearly higher position within the same international corporation. The additional but related factor here was English-language proficiency, which was another cause for shame because the guest clearly had more linguistic capital than the host.

These examples suggest that the non-reciprocated need for close-knit bonds may cause emotional stress and disappointment. The theoretical implication is that these difficulties were caused by the mere situation of hosting refugees at home, not by the guests or hosts themselves. It is equally unreasonable to blame the hosts for wanting very much to offer their help and the guests for being unaware of local customs. The Derridean concept of ‘hostipitality’ helps us to understand that, even with good intentions, long-term home accommodation poses difficulties for both sides.

Discussion

From the analysis of the problems discussed in this paper, it does not follow that hosting is always an unpleasant situation and that the numerous benefits of hospitality should be discussed separately. Although this paper focused on the difficulties, its main finding is that the host–guest relations were not always tense but were clearly very complicated. The nature of Polish hospitality was affected by many factors, of which gender, social class and language should be highlighted. First, the fact that Poland became a refuge predominantly for women (Kohlenberger, Pędziwiatr, Rengs, Riederer, Setz, Buber-Ennser, Brzozowski and Nahorniuk 2022) positively affected the attitudes of Poles towards Ukrainians. In the popular anti-immigrant discourse, the first and foremost argument is that it is young males who ‘invade’ Europe. In the situation I have analysed, the only males who could legally cross the border were children and seniors, both considered nearly as vulnerable as women. Second, as some of the analysed cases suggest, social class impacted on the situation of forced migrants (see Mason 2011). Eliza’s situation epitomises, on a micro scale, the perception of many Poles who, for the first time in their lives, had the opportunity to discover that a refugee does not have to be in an economically disadvantaged position. The first wave of Ukrainian migration proved this assumption to be wrong because the refugees who came to Poland just after the full-scale invasion began were often relatively affluent and because the instant decision to relocate required owning a car (Maja 2023); conversely the decision to stay was associated with poor health or limited resources (KAI 2022). Thirdly, it is important to discuss how language shapes the relationships between the hosts and guests. On the one hand, it can be argued that the language barrier may not exist, at least on a basic level, due to the relative similarity of the Polish and Ukrainian languages, which enabled Slavic intercomprehension (Luczaj, Leonowicz-Bukala, Kurek-Ochmanska 2022) and the wide availability of technological tools (such as Google Translate), not to mention the knowledge of Polish language by many Ukrainians, especially from the Western parts of the country. On the other hand, however, language might have been a barrier that prevented the migrants from forming true in-depth relations, which would have eliminated the problem of ‘too strong emotional involvement’.

Theoretical implications

From the theoretical perspective, hospitality, even if noble, turned out to be always conditional, as Derrida predicted. This main finding is not compatible with the widespread ‘romanticised discourse’. First, because the hosts often judged their guests and were disappointed by their decisions, they did not treat their guests as their equals, even if they did their best to treat them respectfully. Secondly, many hosts were proud of their support and could openly and narcissistically present themselves as being hospitable so, in a sense, they were not selfless. On the other hand, the guests were also not passive in their relationships with their hosts. They often felt the ‘debt of hospitality’ (Chan 2005: 21) due to the support they received from these strangers; thus, being subordinated or, on the contrary, when transgressing some rules, they were subordinating the hosts – for example, when the latter were unable to impose their home rules or co-experienced their guests’ problems and had to perform emotional work for the good of their guests while neglecting their families or their own emotional well-being. In this sense, hosts and guests turned out to be mutually constitutive of each other, as the post-Derridean theory anticipated. The point is not to blame either the hosts – who might have been just overwhelmed by the situation they encountered – or the forced migrants, who might have had various rational and emotional reasons to behave in a non-standard way and could experience cognitive dissonance as they had been raised in different cultural settings. Furthermore, often the culpability for many problems cannot be easily attributed to either guests or hosts. The losing the sense of being at home, as I suggested, may be equally caused by either the guest’s transgressions or by the hosts themselves – or, more precisely, by their willingness to be ideal hosts. However, it can also be the result of the mere event of an unexpected contact with the Other. Neither the interviewees, nor I, aimed at spreading anti-Ukrainian stereotypes (see Obara 2022). On the contrary, recognition of the difficulties may urge policymakers to prepare for the next waves of refugees, whether in Eastern Europe or elsewhere.

These findings stem from the host’s perspective, which may be very different from the guest’s view. This explorative study focused on the former for two reasons. First, due to ethical standards, it was not possible to interview the refugees as early as the hosts because the stress and emotional state of the hosts were presumably incomparable to the burden resting on the guests, who could have been interviewed only with special precautions (e.g. the availability of psychological assistance). Secondly, we aimed to capture the unique experience of the hosts who invited strangers to their homes in a country which rarely welcomes refugees with open arms (Babakova, Fiałkowska, Kindler and Zessin-Jurek 2022; Jasiewicz and Jasiewicz-Betkiewicz 2022). This paper is the starting point for the painting of a fuller picture, which would also include the testimonies of the guests.

Concluding remarks

The study identified 6 types of ‘difficulty’ associated with negotiating everyday routines, dealing with difficult life situations and stress, quarrels and divisions among migrants, neglecting one’s own family, a too-strong emotional attachment to one’s guests and irreconcilable sets of expectations. The occurrence of these threads suggests that, despite good intentions, the home accommodation of refugees can be, at best, a temporary solution. The micro-relations between hosts and guests were complicated by various factors – additional stress or the disruption of daily routines as well as responsibilities related to social roles such as parenthood. Furthermore, if the power imbalance, as theorised by Derrida, disturbed even some hosts (having more symbolic control over the situation), the chances are that the experience of being a guest is highly likely to be framed by ‘hostipitality’.

The analysis of the multifaceted hospitality in this paper was based on the narratives of women who inhabited a particular region of Poland in very specific political circumstances. For that reason, further research should be conducted to put these findings into a comparative context. Firstly, the narratives of hosts from other parts of the country can be different. By focusing on the border region of Podkarpacie, the paper discussed the hospitality in non-metropolitan areas, which might be very different from the findings based on studies in Warsaw or Krakow – the largest cities being prime destinations for Ukrainian refugees. Secondly, judging from the composition of the support groups, which mushroomed in those days on Facebook and other social media and attracted mainly women, the gender dimension is less likely to skew this sample (but without comparative material, we cannot know that for sure). Thirdly, the hosts who shared their accounts did so in a particular historical situation, so a return to the same interviewees seems to be much needed in order to see how these opinions have evolved over time. Fourth, based on qualitative material, it was not possible to assess the scale of the difficulties discussed or to give precise reasons why, in some cases, they did not occur. Was the guests’ stay really easy enough to cope with? What was the role of specific intra and individual factors, usually researched by psychologists than rather sociologists (Bernardi et al. 2019)? Was it, perhaps, just the artifact of the method that made some interviewees feel uneasy about discussing unpleasant experiences? Regardless of these doubts, the main finding of this paper – that such difficulties do occur, even if the vast majority of hosts and guests have the best intentions – seems unthreatened. It is highly desirable, however, to further explain the nuances associated with the occurrence of problems. Fifth, in order to understand the complexity of the situation, apart from the challenges discussed in this paper, a focus on the structural features which enabled hospitality is much needed (How did the hosts and guests meet? What was the demographic profile of the host?) and the positive sides of home accommodation. It should be stressed that, even if evident, the difficulties analysed co-existed with many good memories; former hosts, although tired, did not preclude the possibility of hosting other refugees in the future – interestingly, not only Ukrainian refugees but also Syrian ones – as they declared in answer to one of the interview questions. Finally, it is crucial to hear the perspectives of hosts and guests around the same concerns. The team members are now gathering the testimonies of Ukrainian guests in order to achieve this aim. The emerging literature on home accommodation should enable us to pose more general questions such as, inter alia, What factors facilitate home accommodation? Should we prioritise some refugees over others? On what grounds? Who should support the hosts and how? How should host and guests negotiate home rules?

Notes

  1. The national identification number used in Poland. Ukrainians who crossed the Polish border after the Russian invasion could also apply for PESEL.
  2. In this paper I use the term refugee in a broad sense, to denote everyone who fled their country to escape war, regardless of their legal status.
  3. The project was based on standard procedures known from qualitative migration research, including oral informed consent (recorded) and the pseudonymisation of the data. In rare cases, the team decided not to publish particular excerpts in order to protect the privacy of the interviewees.
  4. Interviewers included the Author of this paper, another experienced female social scientist and students who had undergone rigorous methodological and ethical training – 2 men and 1 woman. They were all Polish nationals, unlike the interviewer responsible for the second part of the project – interviews with refugees.

Funding

This work was generously supported by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA). Grant number: BPN/GIN/2022/1/00106.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Izabela Lenczowska for her invaluable assistance in the process of data cleansing. I would also like to thank Iwona Leonowicz-Bukala, Bartlomiej Godzisz and Bartlomiej Mazur for their work and commitment to the project.

Conflict of interest statement

No conflict of interest was reported by the author.

ORCID ID

Kamil Łuczaj  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1603-3259

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Appendix 1

Table 1. Basic characteristics of the interviewees

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