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Title: An exploration of the mothering experiences among first generation Somali muslim immigrant mothers in Bristol, England
Author: Phillips-Mundy, Heather Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 5592
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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This research examines motherhood as a means of empowerment for East African Muslim immigrant women by exploring the ways in which Somali mothers collectively and individually respond to conflicting cultural constraints in their new host society of residence, Britain. In order to achieve this objective, this ethnographic study utilises qualitative mixed-methods of analysis of individual and group interviews, participatory observations and a homestay. This approach furthers the j understanding of the daily lived experiences of Somali diasporic mothers, the cultural barriers they face when attempting to support their families and the strategies they adopt in overcoming these constraints. This research looks at the mothering ideologies, meanings and practices of Somali immigrant woman and the ways in which their approaches to mothering are similar to, or different from, customs in Somalia. Similarities and differences between homeland and diasporic practices of motherhood reveal how Somali Muslim culture of motherhood is preserved and negotiated and which, if any, aspects of this maternal practice are reframed for local use in a British context. The study highlights the extent to which continuity of cultural practices, as well as their modifications, provides routes to empowerment for first generation Somali immigrant mothers in helping them adapt to their new environments and bicultural roles as Somali mothers in Britain. Somalis in the U.K. lack a suitable public forum for the expression of their identities and interests (Griffith, 2000;288), which is an added complication for the refugee, single Somali mother. The focus on lived experiences of Somali immigrant mothers gives this particular minority group of women a voice. Therefore, one objective of this research is to critically examine the lives of these immigrant mothers, the challenges they face and the role their native culture plays in their adaptation to the host society in the hope that this understanding of Somali motherhood will enhance the considerations given to these women at the policy formation stage in Britain. Furthermore, it will provide a greater understanding into the particular impact the "mother" role has on the successful integration of immigrant families. An additional purpose of this study is to examine conceptualisations of empowerment and how they can be interpreted contextually from the perspective of motherhood (Martinsson, 2007). This thesis contributes to discussions of empowerment, motherhood and mothering, Muslim culture and minority ethnic immigrant women/mothers. It will examine how the sense of Otherness disrupts their normative ideas of motherhood and how it is revised into something culturally productive.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available