Emotional Ambiguity: Japanese Migrant Women in Mixed Families and their Life Transition

Through the narratives of Japanese migrant women in Ireland, this paper focuses on their perceptions of ‘home’ and their emotional processes in the context of their life transition. In order to explore the interactive and relational nature of their emotional processes, three questions are examined. How do migrant women manage their emotions in the process of constructing motherhood as their main social identity? How do their emotional orientations complement or conflict other emotion rules? In changing social and familial settings, how are their feelings navigated? The narratives of two Japanese mothers illustrate their contradictory, inconsistent and ambiguous emotional experiences which are created through physical mobility and transnational family relationships. Through changing social roles, obligations and expectations, they participate in different ‘feeling rules’ to frame the lived experiences in which their relationships with their new country and home place are renewed. Through changing their life course, they also experience ‘emotional resonance’ or ‘dissonance’ with others, which affects their sense of belonging/non-belonging in different places. The context of motherhood provides examples of such dynamics of multiple, interdependent processes in which subjectivities and feelings emerge.

Source: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies Volume 36, Issue 6, 2010 Special Issue: On the Move: Emotions and Human Mobility

Author(s):Naoko Maehara
Publisher:Taylor & Francis Online
Publication Date:25 Jun 2010
Geographic Focus:Ireland
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