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From expat mothers to migrant mothers: Narratives of transformations, lost privileges and the ‘quieter’ everyday in Brexit Britain

Brahic, Benedicte ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9678-8928 (2022) From expat mothers to migrant mothers: Narratives of transformations, lost privileges and the ‘quieter’ everyday in Brexit Britain. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 48 (9). pp. 2168-2186. ISSN 0047-9586

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Abstract

Focusing on a key dimension of transnational family relations, this article explores the impact of uncertain migratory contexts and citizenship status on migrant mothering. Based on participant observations and semi-structured interviews with French migrant mothers living in Manchester, this paper explores how the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (‘Brexit’) affects their identities as migrant mothers and their mothering practices. The paper explores the construction of the continuum of identities of female movers, wives/ female partners and migrant mothers in times of unprecedented social changes in modern Britain. It examines how Brexit affects European migrant mothers’ lives with particular reference to cultural and linguistic maintenance and migrant community building. This article points to the affective, racialised and gendered dimensions of citizenship statuses and their susceptibility to changing political contexts. It underlines the need for conceptual developments to capture the affective, racialised and gendered dimensions of different migrant statuses to reveal some of their subtler dynamics. The findings highlight that, independent of actual policy and regulatory changes, shifting contextual norms of people’s entitlement to family rights may induce changes in how migrants strategise and practise transnational family relationships.

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