Kurdish migrant mothers in London enacting citizenship

Erel, Umut (2013). Kurdish migrant mothers in London enacting citizenship. Citizenship Studies, 17(8) pp. 970–984.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2013.851146

Abstract

The article explores the mothering work of a group of Kurdish women in London as enactments of citizenship. Rather than focusing on their integration, it foregrounds the migrant mothers' ability to disrupt hegemonic citizenship narratives and bring into being new political subjects. They co-construct diasporic citizenship, through their mothering work, producing their children's cultural identifications as both British and Kurdish. These identifications are contingent, involving intra-ethnic contestations of legitimate Kurdish culture. Kurdish migrant mothers' cultural work is not simply about making nation state citizens. By giving meaning to cultural continuity and change, the mothers reference multiple levels of belonging (local, national and diasporic) which challenge state boundaries. The article shows that although mothers play a key role in constructing their children's cultural identities and their articulation in ethnic and national terms, they also contest the meaning of ethnic minority cultural practices and group boundaries, potentially disrupting hegemonic narratives of good citizenship as ethno-national.

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