Making new citizens: motherhood and migration
Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance Open University Milton Keynes, UK
When families migrate they change not only their country of residence, but this also affects relations among genders and generations. The nursery rhymes and the bedtime stories as well as discussions about homework or dating become sites of negotiating the ethnic and cultural identities of parents and children. When it comes to migrant families, where the cultural, social and linguistic resources of the mother's country of origin are different from those in the new country of residence, the aspect of ethnic identity and allegiance becomes part of these negotiations. Based on preliminary analysis of interviews from an ongoing project on migrant mothers', this paper conceptualises mothering as a citizenship practice whereby migrant mothers (co-)construct their own and their children's identities in relation to questions of belonging and participation in the UK. It will look at the ways in which mothering identities are constructed differentially in the home, in the ethnic community, and in relation to British institutions. Mothering is a practice where different, at times conflicting expectations of bringing up children into different forms of community (national British, local multi-ethnic, ethnically specific) intersect. This paper looks at how migrant women make use of different forms of social and cultural capital to constitute themselves and their children as part of British society.