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Mothering and othering in the city: Polish migrants in the UK

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This article addresses the many complexities of migrant mothering by examining the unique ways in which it is performed, negotiated and made sense of by migrant mothers themselves. Drawing on interviews conducted with recent Polish migrant women who mother small children in British cities, I study how mothering is inscribed with value and how kinwork is done locally, among 'people like us' (Stack, 1974). I discuss how migrant mothers position themselves vis-à-vis the other mothers they encounter in their neighbourhoods, and how these positionings are gendered, classed and ethnicised. I propose that practising and displaying intensive mothering may serve as a form of cultural capital for migrant mothers, a means of positioning themselves favourably in a new neighbourhood or school. For recent migrants, intensive mothering may thus work to 'elevate' them beyond the migrant experience.
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Keywords: DESERVING MIGRANTS; INTENSIVE MOTHERING; KINWORK; MIGRANT MOTHERING; URBAN ENCOUNTERS; VALUES

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 1, 2018

This article was made available online on November 6, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Mothering and othering in the city: Polish migrants in the UK".

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