Migrant mothers and the geographies of belonging

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Abstract
Much academic research on migrant mothers focuses on mothers who are separated from their children, often through their integration into global care chains, or on mothers within the context of family migration. This paper argues that co-resident migrant mothers’ experiences provide an important window on the complexities of the migration experience. Using a specific case study of Ireland, and drawing from a broader longitudinal research project that focuses on recent migrants, the paper explores migrant mothers’ understandings and experiences of belonging and not-belonging. We argue that structural obstacles and cultural understanding of care actively conspire to undermine migrant mothers’ potential to develop place-belongingness. Interviewees’ discussions of their status as full-time mothers were often framed through images of ideal motherhood, but equally highlighted how the absence of affordable childcare and family members isolates them and prevents them from creating a sense of belonging outside of the process of mothering and the home.

Abstract

Much academic research on migrant mothers focuses on mothers who are separated from their children, often through their integration into global care chains, or on mothers within the context of family migration. This paper argues that co-resident migrant mothers’ experiences provide an important window on the complexities of the migration experience. Using a specific case study of Ireland, and drawing from a broader longitudinal research project that focuses on recent migrants, the paper explores migrant mothers’ understandings and experiences of belonging and not-belonging. We argue that structural obstacles and cultural understanding of care actively conspire to undermine migrant mothers’ potential to develop place-belongingness. Interviewees’ discussions of their status as full-time mothers were often framed through images of ideal motherhood, but equally highlighted how the absence of affordable childcare and family members isolates them and prevents them from creating a sense of belonging outside of the process of mothering and the home.

Source: Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, first published online 15 Jan 2015

Author(s):Mary Gilmartin and Bettina Migge
Publisher:Taylor & Francis Online
Publication Date:15 Jan 2015
URL:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0966369X.2014.991700#.VQGhOfmsU6U
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