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Free Content Transnational migrants’ negotiations of formal and cultural citizenship

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This article highlights the substantial role of Irish state governmentalities in structuring migrants’ ‘possible fields of action’ (Foucault 1982: 790), while taking account of the agency of migrant subjects, albeit constrained, in negotiating Irish immigration regulation. It is based on data gathered from eighteen migrant mothers of Irish citizens and argues that it is important to recognise the political agency of migrants in generating new transnational modes of belonging despite the ways in which the state circumscribes their capacities to engage in transnational practices and maintain transnational relationships. This group of migrants simultaneously endeavoured to maintain transnational practices and relationships while cultivating local identifications. Although they had complex and contradictory attitudes to citizenship, the unifying theme was that social and spatial mobility are not inimical to local belonging. However, their local and transnational practices were impeded by prevailing discourses and regulations drawing on exclusionary configurations of citizenship which combined racialised notions of Irishness with neoliberalised concepts of the ideal citizen.

Keywords: formal and cultural citizenship; transnational migration

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Limerick

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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