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Title: Trans-Atlantic mothers : the migratory experiences of St Helenian working women
Author: McDaniel, Priscilla
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 1144
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Trans-Atlantic mothers are separated from their families by the vast Atlantic Ocean because they work off-shore. The unique history, culture, and economic circumstances of St Helena contribute a different dimension to developing migration theory. Disparate characteristics such as the remote location geographical location, the small community setting, nationality and the absence of immigration barriers, as well as the historical aspects of British colonisation all make up a distinct context for migration. Whilst some St Helenians are domestic workers in Britain, most work for the British military support services. The militarisation of the South Atlantic after the Falklands War, and the restoration of British citizenship shape mother migration and the feminisation of increased migration outflows. Using qualitative in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of22 migratory working mothers, this 'insider' researcher used a phenomenological approach to analyse their detailed accounts of their migration experiences. The findings show that income differentials, family needs and relative deprivation fuel mother migration. Evidently Trans-Atlantic motherhood is constrained by socio-cultural ideologies but the findings reinforce that mothers who are physically absent, can be emotionally available. The research reveals that regardless of costs and inconvenience, emotional intimacy can be maintained across the distance. Although migratory work transforms the meaning of St Helenian mothering, the study argues that this group of mothers did not 'trade- in' motherhood - they redefined it. Clearly Trans-Atlantic mothers changed the structure of the nuclear family, but strengthened the extended family. The value of kin networks is strong but there is confirmation of matriarchal conflict and the significance of the role of estranged fathers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Soc.Sci.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available