Accepted paper:

A home away from home: mothering across time and space


Karin White (Institute of Technology Sligo)
Tamsin Cavaliero (Sligo Institute of Technology)

Paper short abstract:

Mothers seeking protection, Irish Traveller and ex-pat mothers contributed to ethnographic research into the challenges faced by women living in temporary dwellings and the manner in which they create home places and spaces outside the dominant culture where they can raise their children.

Paper long abstract:

International migration has resulted in a diversity of spaces and localities of childhood and notions of upbringing. This research takes a closer look at motherhood outside the dominant culture and taken-for-granted notions regarding mothering, taking into account different ways of mothering within particular contexts, cultures and spaces such as living in temporary dwellings and coping with trauma and exclusion. This contribution offers contextualised knowledge, theoretical conceptual perspectives and discourses on mothering practices and childhood. Through ethnographic research conducted among protection-seeking mothers living in Irish direct provision, Irish Travellers, and ex-pat mothers living in Ireland, this presentation explores the manner in which women create home places in which to raise their children. Although significant differences occur across these populations, common themes have emerged. These include: women raising their children in a culture different from their own carry out activities with cultural meaning for a variety of reasons: in order to stay connected to their home place, to form strong and unique connections with their children, and as protective measures. Moreover, varying concepts of "good" mothering and practices which are culturally constructed take into account a range of social and spatial locations, which vary across time and space. Finally, the surveillance of mothering practices takes place within both public and private dwelling spaces whereby the more marginalised a woman is, the greater she and her children are subject to surveillance and control. Despite these challenges women endeavour to draw on their resources to create a home in which to raise their children.

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Temporalities of dwelling elsewhere: placing and displacing home (SIEF Place Wisdom Group)