Reframing migrant mothers as citizens

Erel, Umut (2011). Reframing migrant mothers as citizens. Citizenship Studies, 15(6-7) pp. 695–709.




This article suggests reframing the study of migrant women's mothering from a question of integration to an engagement with citizenship. Drawing on research with Polish migrants to the UK, it illustrates how migrant mothers and children construct complex belongings, referencing local, national (UK and Polish), transnational and supra-national levels of belonging. Migrant mothers' sense of ethnic distinctness goes hand in hand with universalistic discourses of belonging. The notion of competent mothering is a key aspect constituting the migrant mothers' narratives of ‘good citizenship’. Their narratives challenge the devaluing of their mothering practices as migrants, negotiating not only national but also class and racialized identities so that the figure of the well-educated Polish child symbolizes legitimate mobility and belonging. The article concludes by developing elements of a research agenda on migrant women's mothering as a citizenship practice.

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