Narratives of motherhood: Seeking asylum

Kate Smith, Kelly Lockwood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Women seeking asylum with their children are amongst the most marginalised and stigmatised women in the UK. Often overlooked in existing research that prioritises the lived experiences of the single, often young, male seeking asylum, little is known about the stories and experiences of women who seek asylum with their children. Focusing on the subjective and relational nature of stories and storytelling, this chapter adopts a feminist narrative approach to understand the way in which narratives of motherhood are constructed through storytelling in the context of asylum in the UK. The chapter pays particular attention to the role of asylum support in the stories told by women and how this creates opportunities and challenges to the construction of the mothering role. Two key and interrelated narratives are highlighted: ‘Re-working good mothering’, which serves to highlight women’s capacity to mother despite the limitations of their situations; and ‘Incapacitated mothering’ which is storied as a form of protest against the constraints of asylum support and illustrates the associated threats to the mothering identity. This chapter concludes by considering the opportunities and challenges of stories of mothering in the context of asylum.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFamily Practices in Migration
Subtitle of host publicationEveryday Lives and Relationships
EditorsMartha Montero-Sieburth, Rosa Mas Giralt, Noemi Garcia-Arjona, Joaquin Eguren
ISBN (Electronic)9780367677220
ISBN (Print)9780367677251
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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