Agency and subjectivity in the life-stories of migrant women from Turkey in Britain and in Germany

Erel, U., 2002. Agency and subjectivity in the life-stories of migrant women from Turkey in Britain and in Germany. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis examines the subjectivity and agency of skilled migrant women from Turkey who now live in Germany and Britain. It is based on biographical interviews with 19 first and second generation migrants. I specifically explore how the interviewees exercise agency, narratively in the stories they tell, subjectively in the self-identities and situated knowledges they produce, materially in the ways they act upon their circumstances.

The analytic approach focuses on gender, ethnicity and class as intermeshing social divisions and their articulation in the life-stories. It engages with theoretical debates on gender and migration, citizenship, nationality and the construction of cultural boundaries. The concepts and social realities of nationality, citizenship and racism are cross-nationally contextualised in Britain and Germany.

I explore different sites of agency; first, the tension between family and education in constructing gendered and ethnocised subjectivities. Second, I relate migration and recognition of qualifications in paid work to processes of de-skilling and re-skilling. Third, I explore practices and (re-)conceptualisations of transnational mothering and daughtering and the intergenerational transmission and transformation of ethnic identities. Fourthly, I discuss the participatory aspects of migrant women's citizenship.

I argue for the analytic centrality of migrant women's agency and subjectivity for research on migration, ethnicity and citizenship. I qualify concepts of hybrid and representations of transnational cultural practices and call for centring migrant women as social actors in debates on community, identity, belonging and citizenship. The thesis contributes empirically to a number of under researched fields: skilled female migration, migration from Turkey to Britain, differential racialisation of migrants from Turkey in Britain and Germany, practices of transnational motherhood, participatory aspects of migrant women's citizenship. Theoretically it contributes an intersectional and cross-national analysis of migrant women's situated knowledges to debates on citizenship, the social construction of skill and cultural capital, theories of motherhood and cultural boundaries.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Erel, U.
Date: 2002
ISBN: 9781369323023
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 02 Oct 2020 13:21
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2023 10:49

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